Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (ODEI)
The City of Huntsville’s Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (ODEI) was established by City Council ordinance on Aug. 26, 2021. Previously created as the Office of Multicultural Affairs in 2009 by Mayor Tommy Battle, this office serves as the administration’s point of contact for the diverse cultures that reside within the City of Huntsville, now the largest municipality in Alabama.
The vision of the ODEI is to encourage understanding and goodwill and to promote community engagement, multicultural education, leadership development, and social justice education between and among Huntsville’s international citizens and those native-born to our community. The ODEI’s mission is to foster an environment that reflects the equal treatment and participation of all segments of Huntsville’s diverse, culturally rich communities in all aspects of life while reinforcing the core values of diversity, equity and inclusion as foundational to our success.
The ODEI is charged with developing partnership and programs and providing services, in collaboration with local City agencies, to create a vibrant and inclusive community where all people feel appreciated and valued. We welcome dialogue with the community and look to work with those who share our vision for a better Huntsville.
The Civic Engagement Academy (CEA) is a City of Huntsville initiative designed to introduce residents to City government through a series of integrated classes that are interactive, dynamic, fun and creative. Participants will have the opportunity to engage with City leaders and learn multiple ways of getting involved with local government. CEA is a free, six-week program offered each spring and fall that incorporates both classroom and interactive instruction. Cohorts meet every Tuesday from 6-8 p.m.
Community Awareness for Youth (CAFY) is an annual program, managed by the Office of Multicultural Affairs, for students ages 12-18 in Huntsville Madison County that seeks to provide youth with the necessary tools for success into adulthood. CAFY focuses on four pillars of success: Health, Education, Careers and Finances.
CAFY honors students at City Council meetings and hosts an annual Back-to-School event each August. Sponsors provide networking opportunities to make connections with local organizations that offer youth services such as mentoring, guidance, and program assistance.
Sponsors include the Huntsville Police Department, Team C.A.F.Y., the governments of the City of Huntsville, City of Madison and Madison County, and numerous volunteers and businesses.
Jazz in the Park-Huntsville (JITPH)is a collaboration between the City of Huntsville Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and Magic City Smooth Jazz. It is also a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting cultural activities through various styles of jazz at no cost to the public. Since its inception in 2008, Magic City Smooth Jazz has hosted more than 150 free concerts featuring over 275 artists and reaching more than 75,000 patrons.
JITPH began in 2015 as a spinoff of the popular Jazz in the Park summer series, hosted by Executive Director Bernard Lockhart (MCSJ) in Birmingham and other selected cities. Since its inception, JITPH has hosted 18 free concerts featuring 42 artists and reaching a diverse crowd of 6,000 people per concert.
Jazz in the Park-Huntsville is normally held every Sunday in September from 6-9 pm in Big Spring Park East, but transitioned to a virtual format in 2020 and 2021 to accommodate COVID-19 protocols.
The objective of the Huntsville Citywide Council of Neighborhood Associations is to promote and foster participation and communication as a neutral liaison among neighborhood associations/organizations, elected representatives of the City, and Huntsville City staff to facilitate the resolution of neighborhood problems. The Council shall function to:
- Create a partnership between the City and its neighborhoods.
- Strengthen and coordinate City departments’ responses to neighborhood problems and requests for help.
- Foster cooperation and consensus among diverse interests within neighborhoods and to encourage the constructive settlement of disputes involving neighborhood groups, the City, and others.
- Facilitate communication between the neighborhoods regarding common concerns.
- Identify other/possible neighborhood associations.
- Mentor new/evolving neighborhood associations.
The mission of the Human Relations Commission is to “Recognizing the strength derived from our diversity through the promotion of mutual understanding, dignity, respect and cooperation among all residents of the City of Huntsville to discourage and prevent discriminatory practices.”
Duties include resolving complaints brought by citizens and articulating community needs to foster the kinds of social change needed to make the City a better place for all citizens. It also establishes procedures and conducts mediation/conciliation when human relations conflicts arise. It disseminates information and educational materials to assist in the elimination of prejudice, intolerance, inter-group tension and discrimination.
The Hispanic/Latino Advisory Council was formed to open dialogue and communication between the Hispanic/Latino community and the City government. The group values inclusion and seeks to improve race relations to promote cooperative, peaceful existence and equality for the community. The Hispanic/Latino Advisory Council has a leadership team of chair, vice chair and secretary and meet at City Hall every other month.