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  • Writer's pictureChristine Pribbenow

2024 Village Trustee Candidate Responds to Questions from MEP

On April 2nd, the Spring Election will decide who becomes the next Trustees for the Village of McFarland. The McFarland Equity Project invited all three candidates to answer three questions. One of the candidates provided responses.

Miguel Peña


1.     What is the role of the Village Board in disrupting and dismantling systemic racism and countering the historical and persistent inequalities in our village?

The Village Board plays a vital role in dismantling systemic racism and addressing historical inequalities. Demonstrated commitment is evident through the establishment of a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) committee and the strategic decision to hire a DEI strategist. These actions represent significant steps towards acknowledging and tackling deep-rooted issues contributing to inequality. As a member of the DEI committee, I am proud of our progress, yet aware that our work is far from complete. There are disparities to address, and change, though challenging, is imperative. Leaders bear the responsibility to confront and break down these barriers.

 2.   As you consider your platform priorities, what are specific examples of how racial equity and justice intersect and influence the priorities you would like to see the McFarland Village Board focus on in the future? Please explain.

Racial equity is integral to fostering an inclusive and fair community. Key priorities should include:

Housing Equity: Promoting diverse neighborhoods through accessible and affordable housing, addressing historical discrimination, and ensuring equal opportunities for stable living conditions.

Economic Development: Driving equitable economic growth by supporting minority-owned businesses with grants, training, and resources, creating job opportunities and supporting community wealth-building.

Criminal Justice Reform: Collaborating with law enforcement to review practices, promoting community policing to build trust, and ensuring equitable justice.

Community Engagement: Facilitating inclusive decision-making by actively involving diverse community voices in village planning and services.

Cultural Representation: Celebrating diversity through cultural events and representation in public spaces fosters a sense of belonging and community pride.

Addressing these areas can create a more equitable, just, and cohesive community, where every member's rights and contributions are valued and supported.

3.     What steps should be taken so that all community members feel a sense of belonging in the village and have equitable access to programs and services?

To foster a sense of belonging and equitable access to programs and services in the village, local government should prioritize community engagement, inclusive communication, and conduct equity audits to identify disparities. Implementing diversity and inclusion training for staff, along with developing DEI policies, will cultivate an inclusive environment. Ensuring accessibility, both physically and programmatically, and collaborating with community organizations can extend service reach to under served populations. Establishing feedback channels allows for community-driven improvements, while equitable resource allocation ensures that investments are made fairly. Celebrating the village's diverse cultures and traditions can enhance community cohesion and pride. These steps, collectively, will contribute to building a more inclusive, equitable village where every member feels valued and supported.

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