Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Project


The City of Eureka is committed to promoting an environment of diversity, equity and inclusion both in City employment and within the broader Eureka community--relationships which are naturally interrelated and intertwined. Towards that end we have engaged an outside expert to assist us in assessing and addressing areas of improvement on the different domains of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and have been working together with City employees to implement recommended changes, participate in workshops, and learn more about how best to foster an inclusive and safe work environment for all people. For over two years, the City and its employees were dedicated to a variety of educational sessions related to equity and inclusion. From December, 2021, until February, 2023, the City hosted seven workshops and five informal, internally-led discussions. Between 95-100 City employees (almost half of approximately 200 full time staff) participated in some aspect of the programming. On average, the evaluations of workshops reflect that most participants found the education and events valuable or very valuable.

Since the beginning of this project in 2020, we have seen improvement in employee survey responses on important areas, with some significant differences in results on statements such as the City is committed to having and supporting a diverse workforce, which changed from 58% in 2020 to 80% in 2023. There were similar improvements across all areas of interest, such as whether employees feel respected and their differences valued (60% to 70%), are proud to work for the City (80% to 81%) , are accepted by coworkers for who they are (80% to 87%), and feel like they belong in their work community (77% to 80%).

The positive changes in responses across these items illustrate how important it is for employees to feel valued, both in their work and as individuals, and demonstrates the necessity of programs, training, and institutional support for DE&I objectives. Along with findings mentioned above, City of Eureka employees were also surveyed regarding the leadership of the City workforce in 2020, and again in 2023. Questions surrounding leadership included ones such as "The City communicates a vision that motivates me", which went from 39% to 63%, and "City leadership keeps employees informed," which changed from 40% to 58% between the times surveyed (where 23% reported no opinion or a neutral position).

People of Color 

An area of significant difference was the City's hiring and promotion practices, in which 37.3% of all employees agreed or strongly agreed with the statement "I feel who you know is more important than your work for hiring and promotion." Of those responses, people of color agreed with this statement (42%) six percent more than white-identifying individuals (36%). In 2023 agreement with this statement was down overall (31.5%) for both people of color (34%) and white individuals (27%), but the gap was still significant between the two, illustrating the importance of ethical hiring and promotional practices and continued institutional-level improvements on workplace culture and environment.

Important Takeaways

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is an integral institutional component to fostering welcoming and safe working conditions for all people. For municipal government, nurturing inclusive employment communities promotes a broader, system-wide culture of inclusion within the larger community, ensuring safety and comfort for city residents as well as employees. At the City of Eureka, we are committed to supporting diverse communities where people from every walk of life, identity, and experience feel safe and welcome to live and work. We believe this inclusive vision is what makes Eureka unique and home to so many wonderfully original businesses, people, families, and ways of life.
Towards this end, the DE&I project was beneficial in assessing areas of improvement and training City staff and administration on different tools which can be employed to nurture more diverse and inclusive environments. 

The effects of this project are expected to be long-reaching, as the work our staff engaged in not only taught them individual tools for assessing and addressing areas of improvement but often, as illustrated above, changed their way of viewing employment with the City as a whole, which encourages cultural shift. Additionally, as a part of this project the City of Eureka partnered with leadership throughout the broader community and created a regional alliance of major institutions throughout Humboldt County. This leadership group intends to meet regularly to share goals and priorities and identify potential areas of collaboration; creating an even broader network of committed individuals and institutions looking to create inclusive environments throughout the region. In partnership with the City of Arcata, the City of Eureka has also created the Bay Cities Leadership Academy, which will be hosted annually to support and educate a diverse group of up-and-coming leadership. You can read the final report for the full details, but some additional takeaways from this project include:

  • Two new paid holidays; Juneteenth and Cezar Chavez Day
  • Police training and education on issues relating to race, equity and inclusion, specifically in regards to procedural justice and implicit bias.
  • Increased outreach and improved relationships to local non-profits and organizations

The new vision statement, created by a combination of staff and administration, reads:

We envision an inclusive community where everyoneʼs fundamental needs are met, where our employees respect and celebrate all walks of life, where everyone can grow and thrive, as we work with integrity for the good of Eureka