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 diverse cultures, faiths, and customs enriches social and civic life and is a positive development for the community.
This interview is a first in a series that will introduce the members of the Montgomery Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Look for future articles on the City website and in the Montgomery Bulletin.
Chris Burns, a resident from Tollgate Lane, has lived in Montgomery for 28 years. He and his wife Susan raised two daughters in Montgomery. Chris is a historian specializing in President Ulysses S. Grant. Chris regularly speaks about President Grant’s commitment to equality and how he attended to African-Americans, Native Americans, and the Jewish population during the Civil War and Reconstruction. He also speaks about Civil Rights and the 1960s. Chris is a founding member of the Montgomery Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
Why is it important to you to participate in the Montgomery Diversity and Inclusion Committee?
My involvement comes from a passion to help change the discourse in this country from division to inclusion. As a historian, I see how important it is to understand how we got here and learn the lessons that move us forward, toward a solution where everyone wins.
Why is the Diversity and Inclusion Committee important to the community?
A number of people, issues, and foreign countries continue to try and divide us as a nation. By focusing instead on what unites us, this committee has a real opportunity to be proactive in celebrating our humanity and what makes us great together. By taking a leadership role, we can demonstrate a unified force for peace and justice for every resident of Montgomery. Change is challenging and respecting everyone takes work. But understanding the legacy left by the peacemakers of the past, Dr. King, Mahatma Gandhi, and Nelson Mandela, is proof that we can overcome the obstacles that divide us.