Embracing Community: Empowering Our Dialogue, Deepening Our Understanding
After Empowering Our Mission Through a Year of Learning, the City’s Embrace Naperville has evolved into Embracing Community: Empowering Our Dialogue, Deepening Our Understanding. In 2024, the City will present a series of "Inclusive Community Conversations," led by Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Manager Dr. Geneace Williams, in partnership with other community organizations that share the goal of building a community where all feel a sense of value and belonging. Building upon the work already accomplished, this series will foster deeper dialogue and understanding as we continue to advance the City’s mission of creating an inclusive community that values diversity, and furthering the values of People, Respect, Trust, and Pride.
The series begins during Women’s History Month with an empowering panel discussion. Future events will include storytelling and opportunities for the community to participate in intentional, respectful and ongoing dialogue to deepen understanding, while fostering inclusion among generations, cultures, and those with diverse perspectives across our increasingly diverse community. Join us as we leverage the power of understanding to embrace community — individually and collectively.
Embracing Our Future
Learn more about how the City and its partners – including the next generation of leaders – have been sharing diversity, equity, and inclusion messages. All are invited and encouraged to share in these important efforts as they move forward.
The City of Naperville and North Central College will co-host “Coming Together to Lead Well: A Community Conversation” in honor of Women's History Month in March. The free event, open to all, will take place from 2 to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 23, in the Madden Theatre on the lower level of Wentz Concert Hall, 171 E. Chicago Ave.
During the free event, a panel of distinguished women will share their experiences, followed by an empowering, interactive dialogue with the assembled audience of campus and community members. The aim is for women from many walks of life to share in conversation, uplifting women’s well-being and envisioning a community that helps fulfill the City’s mission to create “an inclusive community that values diversity.” Audience participation and questions are encouraged and welcomed.
The panel will include Dr. Anita Thomas, president of North Central College; Becca Bruner, co-pastor of Knox Presbyterian Church; Anita Knotts, founder and chief executive officer of the Lotus Women’s Institute; Nicole Lawton, librarian at Naperville Public Library; Joohi Tahir, co-founder and executive director of Muhsen, a nonprofit that aims to build better lives for adults and children with disabilities; and Diana Torres Hawken, co-founder of Alliance of Latinos Motivating Action in the Suburbs (ALMAS).
The moderator will be community leader Nicki Anderson, who has served as CEO of the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce and director of the L.E.A.D.S. Women’s Leadership Program at Benedictine University. A “Get to Know Someone” reception will be held immediately following the panel discussion.
The Power of a generation
The third event in the Embrace Naperville series, "The Power of a Generation: Community Coming Together," took place on Oct. 25, 2023. The event gave students voice to share their experiences and offer ideas to advance our mission of creating an inclusive community that values diversity.
The Power of Connection
The second Embrace Naperville event — "The Power of Connection: AAPI Voices & Community" — took place on May 13, 2023. Video of the "Power of Connection" keynote address is available courtesy of Naperville Community Television, Channel 17.
Panelists Supna Jain, Durriya Gunja, Will Wong, Dr. Tracy P. Leung,
Jacob Kadolph and Melvin Kim share their experiences.
(Photo Courtesy of Futang Wang, Chinese American Women in Action)
The Power of Inclusion
The first Embrace Naperville event — "The Power of Inclusion" — took place on Nov. 10, 2022. Video of the "Power of Inclusion" panel is available courtesy of Naperville Community Television, Channel 17.
Participants create a paper chain
symbolizing inclusion and connection.