By Berdetta Hodge
I am a lifelong Tempe resident. It is a city home to churches, temples, and mosques. When I attend community events and neighborhood gatherings, I hear a wide range of languages being spoken, and see residents from all different ethnic backgrounds.
Nowhere is this diversity more apparent than in our city leadership. In the March 2022 City Council elections, the City of Tempe’s residents elected the most diverse City Council in the State of Arizona.
I am the first African American woman elected to serve on the Tempe City Council. I share the dais with a Native American, an Asian American, an African American, a Latino, and a member of the LGBTQ+ community, among others.
I am grateful for the perspectives and opinions that each city council colleague present daily. In Tempe, diversity is not just a buzz word used for marketing purposes. We ARE diverse in every facet. Our city government has taken major strides to continuously embrace the principle of diversity.
In September 2022, Tempe City Manager Andrew Ching, himself an Asian American, announced the hiring of Tempe’s new Chief Diversity Officer.
The hiring of Dr. Velicia McMillan Humes, a nationally recognized expert in topics like inclusion and equity, cements Tempe’s commitment to using these principles to guide our city’s future.
This same month, the Tempe City Council also established the Parks and Streets Renaming Ad Hoc Committee. Committee members such as former Mayor Neil Giuliano, the United States’ first openly gay mayor, community activist Monica Trejo, and leaders of the City of Tempe’s African American Advisory Committee, will gather over the next few months to rename a handful of city parks and streets named for Tempeans who served in a local Ku Klux Klan chapter in the 1920s.
We are taking the proper steps to reject our discriminatory past and create a welcoming and inclusive present and future. This progress occurs because the City of Tempe is truly one of America’s most diverse cities.
No matter where in the world you’re from, we will welcome you with open arms. We will shun vestiges of our discriminatory past. This is our Tempe and I’m honored to help move it forward.
My office is open to every Tempe community member. Please contact me at berdetta_hodge@ tempe.gov, or 480-350-8748, if you have any questions or concerns. Follow me on social media too: @CMBerdettaHodge on twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.