Ayesha Hall will serve as co-chair of Mayor Mark Cayer’s ad hoc committee on equity and diversity.

LEWISTON — Mayor Mark Cayer announced appointments Tuesday to his newly established ad hoc committee on equity and diversity.

The temporary committee, which could ultimately become a standing committee, was created as part of a City Council resolution on policing that came on the heels of local and nationwide protests over the May 25 police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

In a statement released to the news media, Cayer said the committee will advise and make recommendations to the Lewiston City Council on “steps to ensure that the city treats all residents and visitors equally and that its workforce represents our community’s diversity.”

Members will also make recommendations to municipal officials and staff on “policy, practice, and procedural changes that may be needed to ensure that fair and equitable treatment is provided to all.”

Cayer said he chose a 12-member committee with broad community representation.

Ayesha Hall, social emotional learning and equity resource coordinator at Lewiston Public Schools, will chair the committee, with Cayer serving as co-chair.

In addition, Cayer appointed Councilors Safiya Khalid, Luke Jensen and Stephanie Gelinas, as well as Andy D’Eramo, Noelle Chaddock, Tonya Bailey-Curry, Hawo Abdille, Elgin Physic, Dane Morgan and James Ford.

“As an organization and a community, it’s time we take a moment and look inward,” Cayer said Tuesday. “As in any aspect of life, there is always room for improvement and growth.

“Through the efforts of the ad hoc committee, we will look inward through different lenses. We may not address national issues, but we might just make our corner of the world a better place for all our residents.”

Added Ayesha Hall: “The work of ensuring equity and inclusion for all Black, brown and indigenous people is important work that must start at the top and from within. The mayor’s ad hoc committee is an opportunity for our city officials to demonstrate to the people of Lewiston what really matters — not only with words and sweet sentiments but with actionable steps. I’m excited and honored to be selected as the chair of this committee.”

The committee’s goals are to:

•  Review the policies and procedures of the Lewiston Police Department involving the use of force and restraint in its interactions with the public and make recommendations on policy, practice and procedural changes to ensure fair, equal and appropriate treatment of all.

•  Review the process by which public complaints against police officers and other city employees are investigated and, if necessary, recommend improvements to this process to ensure such complaints are addressed thoroughly, objectively, fairly and in a timely manner.

• Review the type and nature of training provided to municipal employees — including police officers — with regard to bias, equality of treatment and crisis management/deescalation, and to identify employees or employee groups who should receive training and what that training should include.

•  Review the recruiting and hiring practices of the city, with special emphasis on those of the Police Department, and develop recommendations that would assist the city in better reflecting the demographic composition of the community, to include recommendations on improving outreach to elements of the community currently under-represented in the city workforce.

•  Develop and present to the City Council by Sept. 30 a plan for a permanent standing committee to continue and advance the work of this ad hoc committee.

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