SPRINGFIELD, Mo.- Mayor Ken McClure and his Commission on Human Rights and Community Relations asked residents to share their views on inclusiveness in the Springfield area; those results are in.
The group shared the results during a council lunch meeting Tuesday afternoon.
According to a press release, the survey received 2,276 responses with:
- About 12% (249) responding that they felt Springfield is “very inclusive”
- Nearly 40% (812) indicated that they felt Springfield is “somewhat inclusive”
- Almost 32% (646) stated that they felt Springfield is “not very inclusive”
- About 13% (267) indicated that they thought Springfield is “not inclusive”
- 3% (63) indicated they had no opinion
“Sharing the results of this Inclusion Survey is a way the commission can shed light on issues that may be holding back inclusive change and leadership, including concerns about racism, discrimination and belonging that impact citizens in Springfield,” says Heather Hardinger, chair of the Mayor’s Commission on Human Rights.
The city says the responses revealed by the survey will be used to help Springfield plan its next steps toward creating a stronger, more inclusive community. The city says most respondents supported making Springfield more inclusive and noted that the city’s homogeneity can make inclusiveness difficult.
The survey was given to participants both digitally and on paper. The survey was made up of several closed-ended questions and eight open-ended questions:
- Question 1: What do you think would make Springfield a stronger, more inclusive community?
- Question 2: Respondents were first asked, in a closed question, whether they had experienced barriers to participating fully in the Springfield community. They were then asked, if you have experienced barriers to fully participating in the Springfield community, please share the top three barriers you have faced.
- Question 3: If you have personally felt, at any time, that you were not valued based on race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identification, disability or age (40+), please share your experience.
- Question 4: If you or someone you know has experienced an incident of unlawful hostility or discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or age (40+), please share that experience.
- Question 5: If you have personally witnessed an incident of hostility or discrimination directed at somebody else based on race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or age (40+), please share that experience.
- Question 6: Please use the following space for anything else you’d like to share about your experiences.
- Question 7: What activities could the Springfield community offer to encourage a more welcoming environment for all cultures?
- Question 8: Any additional comments or suggestions you have to share?
“One important way to strengthen the city and increase inclusiveness is simply by having a more diverse population, with increased minority visibility at all levels – leadership with the schools, city government, nonprofit organizations and boards, and so forth. Respondents called for more diversity of all kinds (racial, ethnic, age-related, class, sex, gender, sexual orientation and disability). Along with providing more diversity at all levels, respondents said that the city needs to solicit the opinions of diverse members and actually listen to those opinions,” the report states.