Lansing hires diversity officer to lead racial justice reform

Schor promotes employment specialist to focus on social equity

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THURSDAY, Nov. 19 — Lansing Mayor Andy Schor’s administration has hired a diversity officer to help lead ongoing efforts designed to bolster racial justice and social equity in the capital city.

Schor announced today the promotion of Guadalupe Ayala to the newly created position of diversity officer within the city’s Department of Human Relations and Community Services. Ayala has served as an equal employment opportunity specialist for the city since 2015. The promotion will bring her annual salary up from about $70,400 to about $74,000, a city spokeswoman said. 

“I am committed to speak for those who may be afraid to speak for themselves, and actively listen and pursue change for those that have stood up for equity,” Ayala said. “I will work with the community to recommend policies to the mayor that are the right thing to do for racial justice and equity. This is a time for healing, a time to come together to unite and do positive work.”

In her new role, Ayala will lead the implementation of Schor’s forthcoming Racial Justice and Equity Alliance Community Action Plan — a relatively secretive endeavor launched by Schor's administration in the wake of George Floyd’s death that involves dozens of residents focused on suggesting reforms to promote racial equity. 

In recent weeks, that 40-member team divided itself into work groups to focus on broad categories like housing and public safety. Members of the alliance also signed a “confidentiality” contract that mandates their discussions remain private, Schor told City Pulse.

Prior to her role with the city, Ayala also served as a state family services specialist and representative for Telamon Corporation Michigan Migrant Head Start. In both of these positions, she has worked to represent and advocate for people of color and vulnerable populations, city officials said in a statement. 

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