Close to 1,000 Moorestown residents, Mayor Nicole Gillespie and leaders of different organizations participated in a peaceful protest march last June following the death of George Floyd.
It was a chance for community members to speak about how they felt unwelcome or marginalized.
“That was such a historic march for our community,” said Councilman Quinton Law, co-liaison of the Better Together Moorestown Task Force. “It inspired so many people to get involved and it inspired me to be a founding member of a group called Moorestown Alumni for Racial Equity and Inclusion. We were working with our school system to try to make it as inclusive as possible.”
After listening to stories about exclusion from multiple people at the protest, council decided to put together a committee focused on diversity, equity and inclusion in Moorestown. According to an update presented at the Sept. 13 council meeting, Better Together Moorestown is composed of a diverse group of Moorestown residents who work to protect and celebrate diversity and ensure inclusion among residents, businesses and visitors, while also promoting an innovative, engaged and informed community.
The task force officially came together in March and is split into subgroups made up of volunteers that include a vision/mission team, marketing and survey teams. The task force has issued a survey that will allow anyone living, working and or visiting Moorestown to share perspective on diversity, equity and inclusion based on personal experiences in the town.
“It took a long time, it took months of work, and they put in hundreds of hours on it,” said Sue Mammarella, deputy mayor and co-liaison of the task force. “They scrutinized over every question.”
The Better Together Moorestown Community survey will run through Oct. 31 and was put together by a subgroup of people who have prior experience with surveys and with diversity groups focused on racial and economic diversity. The survey team put in months of work to make sure each question was specifically tailored, and presented examples of similar surveys.
“The Better Together survey team, all of whom are Moorestown residents, volunteered their skills, experience, time and passion to this effort,” Mammarella noted. “Their goal was to create a survey that would collect all kinds of perspectives concerning equity, diversity and inclusion, and then analyze how that information can be used to make Moorestown the best community it can be for all, both now and in the future.”
According to the same update that was presented at the Sept. 13 council session, once the survey closes to the public, the task force team will focus on analyzing the results and preparing a presentation for the Town Council that will show their findings and include targeted recommendations. According to Mammarella, a recommendation to council will most likely be to create a full-time committee next year and form focus groups composed of community members who will help to instruct and develop prioritized action plans.
The task force is dedicated to listening to what people in the community are saying and what a larger group of people think is needed to see progress for the future. All responses to the Better Together Moorestown Community Survey are anonymous, and the survey can be accessed here: Better Together Moorestown Diversity Equity and Inclusion Survey.