Vancouver’s director of diversity also sits on Washington’s LGBTQ commission

As an early childhood education specialist, Sojourner created a program focused on race, gender and sexuality in the stages of a child’s development. It can be a difficult discussion with children, said Sojourner, but making sure they understand the world and its cultural nuances is essential. The same goes for their parents.

“Little children see the truth of the world,” Sojourner said. “This is how we adults (create) their truth. “

People’s lives are multifaceted and cannot be easily defined, and it is crucial to address these intersectional points, said Sojourner.

After communities nationwide protested the murder of George Floyd in 2020, organizations and cities began to respond to the need for racial justice. City of Vancouver staff wanted to be involved in the conversation. Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle said the wave of awareness has also created a desire to diversify government to better represent the community.

The city conducted a national candidate search with a panel made up of local organizations like the NAACP Vancouver and the Community Foundation for Southwest Washington. Shortly thereafter, Sojourner was hired to lead this initiative and create a strategic plan as the city’s first director of diversity, equity and inclusion.

James C. Tibbs