Commission on Human Rights to discuss possible diversity summit

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COLUMBIA - Diversity is a hot topic around the country lately. It is no different in Columbia. On Tuesday the Columbia Commission on Human Rights will discuss the possibility of hosting a diversity summit in Columbia this fall. 

A member of the commission originally mentioned the idea in April and the commission has discussed it in each of its monthly meetings since then. Commission Chair Scott Dean said he hopes to get details ironed out in time to hold the summit this fall. He said he wants it in the fall so University of Missouri students can attend if they'd like.

Dean said he hopes it will be a free event that is open to all members of the public to attend. The current proposal is to be set up like a TED Talk, or open forum, where people get 10-15 minutes to present their ideas on how to help improve diversity and inclusion in Columbia for people from all walks of life. 

Dean said the main goal of the summit would be to help improve the lives of people with disabilities and minority groups and members of the LGBTQ community. 

The commission would reach out to community organizations that it works closely with to provide speakers for the summit. Dean said he could not disclose which organizations it would reach out to since it is still in the planning stage. Ideally, Dean said, city leaders and the student community would also be able to provide their input, but wouldn't be speakers at the first summit.

Dean said the members of the commission knew the Supreme Court's decision on marriage equality was coming down soon, but it had no effect on the timing of the commission's proposal. 

The commission's meeting will be Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. Columbia City Hall.

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