The Huntsville area is blessed to be a melting pot of people from many nationalities, cultures and backgrounds. As an economic development organization, we recognize the importance of respecting and celebrating our diversity. We are committed to continuing to increase the diversity of our membership. We have supported candidates of various races, genders and ages to provide a balanced viewpoint in local elected bodies. We are committed to doing our part to encourage dialogue and often reach out to influential organizations throughout the community to learn more about issues they consider important.
As we recruit international companies and workers to our community, respect for diversity in race, religion, culture, age, gender and other demographics becomes increasingly important. Potential employees in the “creative class” — those in technology and liberal arts fields, mostly young professionals — have identified “tolerance for diversity” as one of the their top reasons for choosing a community to call home. Respect for diverse backgrounds, cultures and opinions is essential to citizens seeking cooperative solutions to community issues and contributes to an exceptional quality of life. And a world-class education system — with students of all races and economic backgrounds ranked high in academic achievement — is essential to recruiting jobs to our community.
The 230 members of the Committee of 100 work in a diverse range of professions, including manufacturing, engineering and technology, construction, banking, medicine, law, architecture, education, retail and restaurants, tourism and other fields. They live in all areas of Huntsville, Madison, Madison County and Limestone County. Fifty members are under the age of 40, 37 are women and 20 are African American. One of our seven founding members, the late John Riche, was African American and a former Chairman of our organization. Two of our three YP Chairs have been African American. We have achieved greater success in racial diversity in our young professional members – 23% are African American — giving us hope for a stronger bridge between diverse groups in coming years.
The Committee of 100 is proud to be one of the first major contributors to Vanguard, a new organization launched by a Leadership Impact group to address diversity issues. Vanguard, chaired by Rev. T.C. Johnson and Kevin Wendt, editor of “The Huntsville Times,” publishes facts on diversity issues and convenes conversations among diverse citizens to increase understanding and reach solutions. Learn more at vanguardhmc.com.
In July 2012, the Committee of 100 joined with four other civic organizations in issuing statements in support of fair housing as “right” and legally appropriate. We pledged to participate in fact-based conversations on fair and affordable housing and encouraging others to join us. See our full statement here.