‘Striving to be better’: City of Holland hiring diversity consultant

Ottawa County

HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — The city of Holland wants to make downtown more accepting. The tulip city is now accepting applications for a diversity, equity, and inclusion consultant.

Leaders with the city say they want to make sure everyone feels welcome when coming to town.

“Growing up here, I didn’t feel that way,” Gerardo Garza said.

Garza says he knows firsthand what it’s like to not feel accepted based on the color of his skin.

“Actually in high school, one of my friends got told to go back to Mexico, which wasn’t nice to hear. That hurt me because my parents aren’t from here,” Garza said.

Garza says he’s glad the city is hiring a diversity, equity, and inclusion consultant for downtown and hopes others won’t feel unwelcome in their community.

“It’s always a good thing when something like that comes up because it’s more help for a lot of people,” Garza said.

Kara de Alvare, downtown Holland’s marketing coordinator, said they want to improve representation.

“We know from the conversations we’ve had that representation is so important, and that’s really something we’re working to improve upon,” de Alvare said. “It’s a process and I don’t think it’s something that we’re ever going to say, we’re done with this. We really are going to always be striving to be better.”

The consultant position will work with the city on outreach, event planning, business training and recruiting. Those in town say it’s important to have open conversations.

“You don’t always know how people are feeling walking into a space, and so to learn how people walk into a space and how they feel and how you can make them feel more comfortable has been really helpful,” said Brad White, the owner of Velo City Cycles.

Garza hopes this helps the city move forward in a positive direction.

“That’s something that would always be nice for other people to come here and see the environment and see a better future here for Holland,” Garza said.

The city is accepting proposals for the position until July 1 at 5 p.m. You can submit a proposal on the city’s website under RFP/Bid Information. You can also contact downtown@cityofholland.com for more information.

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