The City of Montgomery, like most American communities, is growing and diversifying. Presently, Sycamore Community Schools has a student population representing 54 nationalities and 41 spoken languages, making it one of the most culturally diverse systems in the State. Approximately 10 percent of Montgomery residents are cultural minorities. City Council and administration believe the infusion of various cultures, faiths, and customs enriches social and civic life and is a positive development for the community.
Benny Miles is the chairperson of the Montgomery Civil Service Commission and is one of the founding members of the Montgomery Diversity and Inclusion Committee. He and his wife, Montroue, are longtime residents of Montgomery. Two of their children, as well as their grandson, graduated from Sycamore High School.
Why is it important for you to participate in the Montgomery Diversity and Inclusion Committee?
When my family contemplated a move to Montgomery in 1985, we made several trips to the community, visiting shops, and restaurants, stopping by City Hall, and chatting with residents and prospective neighbors. We felt very welcomed. Our children were already attending great schools, so Montgomery’s highly rated school system was not the deciding factor in our decision to relocate. It was the welcoming attitude of the entire community. I want to be a part of the continuing growth of that welcoming and embracing attitude.
Why are diversity and inclusion important to the community?
Diversity and inclusion can have a positive economic impact on our city. Retail shops and boutiques, restaurants, and businesses that offer a variety of services and wares, and are owned and staffed by personnel that are representative of the many different cultures of our residents, will attract many shoppers. People repeatedly visit establishments where they feel valued and welcomed. Residents who feel included may be more invested in our community and willing to participate in volunteer opportunities, thereby enhancing our city’s quality of life. Engaging and including all of our citizens contributes to the growth and success of our city.