Christchurch Vigil 03

This Standard-Examiner file photo shows a vigil held at the Ogden City Municipal Building in May. The vigil was organized by the Ogden Diversity Commission and Ogden's local Imam to mourn those who were killed at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

OGDEN — Looking to engage more with the public, Ogden City’s Diversity Commission is moving outside of city hall — at least a handful of times every year.

Formed nearly three years ago, with input from entities like Weber State University, Weber and Ogden school districts, the Ogden-Weber Tech College and private and charter schools, the commission has been touted by city officials as a vessel to give a municipal voice to underrepresented groups in Ogden — namely blacks, Latinos, women, the LGBTQ community, college students, seniors, the disabled and others.

According to the group’s charter, its mission is to “identify and resolve issues, promote equity, cultivate positive cultural awareness, promote cultural traditions, and enhance the well-being and quality-of-life of those living in or visiting Ogden.”

The commission works in an advisory capacity to the city council and mayor, similar to the city’s Landmarks and Planning commissions. The group holds monthly public meetings and must report annually to the mayor and council.

Commission member Kathie Darby said official commission meetings are held from 1 to 3 p.m. on the second Tuesday of every month. The group conducts official business in the meetings, which are open to the public, but Darby said attendance there has been scarce.

To try and spur more community participation, Darby said instead of hoping the public comes to them, the commission has decided to go to the public. The body will now conduct a public forum at least once every quarter. The first forum will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 31 at Kaffe Mercantile, 2276 Washington Blvd.

Darby said the forums will be held at various local Ogden businesses and gathering spots. All of the meetings will start at 5:30 p.m., unless there is enough feedback to change the starting time, she said. The commission will conduct some necessary business items at the beginning of the meetings, but quickly move into a public comment period.

“We really just want to hear from as many people as possible,” Darby said. “Our (regular) meetings are held in the middle of the day and we realized it’s probably hard for a lot of people to make it to those, so hopefully this is a good alternative. We are excited to greet any and all visitors ... to discuss issues and ask questions.”

The diversity commission currently has 11 members who either live, work, volunteer, worship or are enrolled in school in Ogden. Commissioners, who are appointed by the mayor’s office, are allowed to serve two 24-month terms.

You can reach reporter Mitch Shaw at Follow him on Twitter at @mitchshaw23.

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