First-year student Cecilia Flores was selected to serve on McMinnville City Council’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Advisory Committee in early February. The new committee was created to help the council in decision-making for future policy developments concerning issues of diversity, equity and inclusion.
Flores, a McMinnville resident and current Wildcat, is a passionate advocate for social change. In her time at McMinnville High School, she helped create a diversity club for students. In summer 2020, she helped organize a peaceful protest in front of the McMinnville Police Department in June in support of nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice.
“From a young age, I’ve always been very passionate about equity. I moved to Mac when I was ten years old and hadn’t seen a white person until I moved here,” Flores said. “As I started growing older, I started to notice the lack of resources and lack of representation McMinnville had for minorities.”
McMinnville’s DEI Committee was created in accordance with the city’s recently-developed strategic plan. The plan, called Mac-Town 2032, was released in Jan. 2019 and created with the goal to foster growth in the city, prioritizing equity and accountability to create a higher quality of life across the entire McMinnville community.
Flores will serve as youth liaison to the committee. She was encouraged to apply by a Linfield administration member and saw it as a chance to help minorities in McMinnville.
“My inspiration comes from a lot of different places,” Flores said. “It comes from the diverse community I was born into and grew up, my teachers, historic figures and just my love for people.”
It’s pretty unreal that I am a part of this historic group,” she said. Other inaugural members of the committee include a diverse group of local leaders, educators and business people.
The group is scheduled to hold its first meeting in March. They will offer guidance to better engage the community in decisions, update the DEI plan and support developing local leaders of color.
Flores is currently pursuing a secondary education and Spanish double major at Linfield. After she obtains her bachelor’s degree, she wants to teach at McMinnville High School. After a few years, Flores hopes to get her master’s degree in education administration and become a principal of an Oregon high school that serves low-income and minority students.