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‘America is a melting pot’: Myrtle Beach plans to add Chief Diversity Officer to staff

Updated: Apr. 19, 2021 at 11:18 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The city of Myrtle Beach is going the extra mile to ensure there’s diversity and inclusion among its staff.

Myrtle Beach city leaders plan to hire a Chief Diversity Officer that will oversee the promotion of diversity, equity and inclusion.

It’s one of the new positions proposed in the city’s recommended budget for the next fiscal year.

Duties may include developing training and strategies to push diversity and inclusion even further within the workplace, as well as identifying challenges the city may face along the way.

Mark Kruea, the spokesperson for the city of Myrtle Beach, said they created an ad-hoc group focused on diversity last year amid the wave of racial and social injustice seen across the country.

“We really need a professional to help lead that conversation to guide us in that direction, to make sure we’re doing it correctly,” Kruea said.

A Chief Diversity Officer within organizations is becoming a national standard with the ongoing push for racial and social equality.

With dozens of departments and more than 900 staff members, Kruea said they want to make sure everyone feels like they belong.

“All you have to do is look at the news over the last couple of years and see the issues that exist out there,” Kruea said. “America is a melting pot and we need to figure a way to incorporate that mindset into everything we do.”

Dr. Antonio Cooper, an assistant psychology professor at Francis Marion University, specializes in teaching the understanding of cultural diversity, which goes beyond just race to include gender, sexuality and religion.

Cooper said there was always a need for the position as communities became more diverse. It was only amplified during protests against police brutality and injustice in 2020.

However, the topic is a sensitive one and how you go about promoting change isn’t easy.

“You’re bringing in someone that has the knowledge and has the background to be able to connect the two diverse populations together and entities … as far as the person providing the service and as far as the person that needs the services,” Cooper said.

Myrtle Beach City Council has to approve the new budget by July 1.

Kruea said they’ll begin promoting the position within the next couple of months.

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