DEI in Local Government: Ensuring Transformative Pragmatism

Posted on April 13, 2021

DEI problem solving


Today’s Morning Buzz is brought to you by Aline Alves da Costa, Content Creator at the Wyoming Liberty Group.  You can connect with her via LinkedInTwitter or follow her life adventures on IG.


What I’m reading:. I am reading Green Lights by Matthew McConaughey, I am  reading The Power of showing up (a great book for parents!), and I am also reading Public Policymaking in a Democratic Society by Larry Gerston.

What I’m watching: I just, finally, finished Travelers (2018) on Netflix. Being mom to a 2-year-old keeps my screen time very, very, very, VERY limited!

What I’m listing to: Anything Mellow folk! (I don’t think this will ever change, please ask Alexa to play “mellow folk music”!)




Diversity, equity and inclusion have been gaining more and more attention in the last few years. Technological advancements, speedy internet, and the creation of possibility of seeing how we are, where we stand and the ability to compare have brought many issues to light., It allows for information exchange and for people to challenge many norms and bureaucratic process, critique them and aim for improved policies, public services and community and work culture.

I will say that, as an immigrant I believe in meritocracy, I want to be the best at what I do, simple as that;  I also want to get the opportunity to do it because I am the best fit for the job I am getting the opportunity to do. However, there is a biased culture of leadership, there is a faulty system, there are spaces that are not open to diversity of culture, religion, gender, race and therefore not open to diverse talent and problem-solving skills. The importance of DEI is not in the “installation” of a DEI program, it goes far beyond that. Having a program is different than having a DEI culture (you have to cultivate it, right?) a DEI mission (achieve goals and objectives). An author I enjoy reading, Hutchinson, once said: “organizations are the creation of the people they embody”[1].

How does that apply to your/our local government?

Cities are changing from being homogenous communities to being multiple values, perspectives and diverse interests and citizens communities. Where government lacks diversity and leadership is not diverse it becomes problematic; such as the deliver of effective public policies and services, due to the lack of representation of the values and people of the community.

While your city/local government might have recruitment as a central focus of management programs that embody diversity, it is likely not enough, to alone, build a culture that values diversity, welcomes the identity of individuals and provides them with a safe environment and acceptance in the workplace and community.

The last election, in which VP Harris was elected, changed something: independently of party affiliation; the fact that she is a female, of color in a leadership role represents something: not only that times are changing and we are embracing the multitude of diversity that makes up the United States and state governments and then municipal governments and their communities but also the opening to possibilities that are not limited by what makes us unique and diverse at the same time.

People want what people want.

It also shows that the voice of the people practicing civic participation, by participatory voting, wanted that representation, Harris as their VP; changing the perspective, attitude and experiences  that the government will bring to light and install in different levels of our democratic system. Local government should continue to ensure that DEI is not only a program that requires going through complex bureaucratic process and extra paperwork; but something that local governments implements  and consequently are led to obtain a result of increased civic engagement. A strategy that seeks government accountability and transparency. A legitimate way to fuel political engagement, accountability, citizen trust collaboration and inclusivity.

DEI problem solving

We are bridges to the past and the changes of the future.

It starts with the leadership implementing values and culture that encourages DEI attitudes, hopeful that DEI will become just norm. After all, we live in a world that keeps getting smaller but in a world that allows for companies, organizations and governments to recruit talent that is diverse and have diverse cultures and experiences. Talent that is reflective of today’s demographical landscape. A landscape that can bring a new tone to the exercise of problem-solving and strategic thinking to achieve goals and conquer the present while shaping a better, stronger, resilient, equitable and inclusive future.

Tell me about challenges and strategies that your local government have faced and implemented. Get in touch.

As usual, here is a playlist for your workday. Happy Tuesday!

Listen to a DEI playlist

[1]Hutchinson, J. R. (2011). Feminist theories and their application to public administration. In D’Agostino, M. J., Levine, H. (Eds.), Women in public administration: Theory and practice (pp. 3-14). Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.


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