History of the Ingham County Cultural
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee
The Ingham County Cultural Diversity Committee was formed in 1999 for the purpose of recognizing Ingham County's Diverse Workforce. Founded by Kim Milton, Ingham County Circuit Court and Co-founded by Kelly Rankin-Gomez of the Ingham County Road Department. The Luncheon that started out as a potluck in February in recognition of Black History/Cultural Diversity Month is in its' seventeenth year. Each year the Luncheon has grown in size, participation, and attendance and is continuing to get bigger and better. There is always a wide variety of entertainment, foods, and outstanding speakers. The Committee appreciates the support of all County Officials, Department Heads, and employees.
The Ingham County Cultural Diversity Committee was founded in 1999 for the specific purpose of recognizing and celebrating Ingham County's diverse workforce.
The Committee was founded by Kim Milton-Mackey(formerly of the Register of Deeds Office and now working at the Circuit Court).
The original committee members included the following retirees:
- Kelly Rankin-Gomez (formerly of the County Clerk's Office, Road Department, and Financial Services Department)
- Ivory Whitby-Aimery(formerly of the County Clerk’s Office)
- Toni Fulton (Human Resources Department), and
- Daneen Jones (Human Resources Department)
The Committee acknowledges and expresses its gratitude to our founder and inaugural committee for their bold efforts to foster positive change at Ingham County.
Currently, the Committee has more than 30 active members, including employees, managers, elected officials, and department heads.
The headline event for which the Committee is best known is the Diversity Luncheon. Held annually in February, the event began as a potluck by a few employees that desired to see February’s national recognition of Black History Month celebrated here at Ingham County. Over the years, the event grew in attendance and support. The Luncheon continues its mission to underscore Black History Month, but has expanded over the years to educate and celebrate many other cultural groups. By showcasing their special holidays, ceremonies, and histories, employees from different backgrounds demonstrate what makes Ingham County so great: its vibrancy. The Diversity Luncheon rotates locations among the major County-operated facilities to accommodate the varying work responsibilities employees have.
Among her other initiatives with the Committee, Mrs. Milton-Mackey also founded the Ingham County Cultural Diversity Choir, directed by Committee Member Daneen Jones. Of memorable note, the Choir was honored to perform at Veterans Day Tributes coordinated by Ingham County Veterans Director Randy Marwede for 2009 and 2010 for Ingham and Clinton County Vets, Troops, families, and friends.
Later in 2011, the Choir participated in the “Love Wins” program at the request of the Lansing Mayor. The program’s goal was to unite all inter-faith groups to educate and expose hatred against members of our Ingham County community.
Undersheriff Andy Bouck, serving as Committee Chairperson since 2018, has worked diligently to keep Ingham County’s strategic plan inclusive of promoting diversity, equity and inclusion. The Committee was able to secure additional budgetary funding to host an additional event: Ingham County Unity in the Community. The inaugural event was held in September 2019 at Hawk Island Park. It was a spectacular opportunity for employees, their families and friends, and the public to get together to foster and celebrate unity amongst the diverse populations living and working in Ingham County. This event was supported by employees, Elected Officials, and Department Heads and saw a barbeque-style picnic dinner, live entertainment, voter registration, flu vaccinations, drone demonstrations, among many other attractions and programs. Due to the Pandemic in 2020, the second Unity in the Community was delayed to September 2021.
The Committee continues to evolve, driven by the diverse interest and talent of its membership. In Fall 2020, on proposal of member Ryan Buck (of County Clerk Barb Byrum’s Office), the Committee formed the Safe Space Advocates Program and was able to secure budgetary funding for the effort. Safe Space Advocates are county employees who volunteer their workspaces as “safe spaces” for uncomfortable conversations primarily relating to diversity, equity, and inclusion. The goal is to build understanding and achieve acceptance, which will raise employee morale and retention, and foster better public service.
In February 2021, the Ingham County Cultural Diversity Committee underwent a name change to better reflect its mission. Now known as the Ingham County Cultural Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee, the Ingham County Board of Commissioners adopted Resolution #21-181 unanimously recognizing the name change. The Committee welcomes ANYONE who is interested in becoming a member. We meet monthly either virtually or at the Human Services Building or as needed. Our goal is to provide employees with educational and professional opportunities about our multicultural society in order that we engage in those difficult conversations and foster a better workforce here at Ingham County.