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.
Jackie Congedo is the Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council, the public affairs arm of the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati, which works to ensure Jewish security by building a more just society for all people. Before her work in Cincinnati’s Jewish community, Jackie spent eight years as a broadcast journalist, working for stations in Washington, D.C.; Lexington, Kentucky; and here in Cincinnati, Ohio. Jackie and her family are proud new Montgomery residents
Why is it important for you to participate in the Montgomery Diversity and Inclusion Committee?
I grew up in an interfaith home, so understanding multiple backgrounds and paths was core to my family. My Jewish and Italian ancestors also came to this country many years ago, looking for better lives, and they were embraced by their neighbors. The Montgomery Diversity and Inclusion Committee has a wonderful opportunity to model the best of inclusive practices and to celebrate the differences among us. I feel honored and privileged to help lead this important work, which will make our city a stronger, more vibrant place.
Why are Diversity and Inclusion important to the community?
Diversity is about all of us, and it takes all of us. As a society, we are only as secure as the least secure or least welcome among us. Diversity starts with ourselves, by examining our own implicit biases, being intentional about getting to know people who are different from ourselves, and being deliberate about sharing our own differences with others. If our community is not intentional about this work, it will not happen. This is why the Diversity and Inclusion Committee is so important. We have a lot to learn from each other, and we have a tremendous opportunity to develop our community into a place that is richer because of its diverse fabric.