DEI Workshops to Town Employees
The Town of Nantucket is pleased to offer professional development workshops to town employees on a variety of topics related to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). The workshops are a part of the final phase of DEI consultation with Tangible Development LLC. Each workshop will be offered multiple times from January – March 2023. Workshop descriptions are below and it is important to note that participation is voluntary.
In the Inclusive Leadership workshop, you will examine the process of socialization to understand how biases impact our relationships with others; reflect on our individual identities and proximity to power and privilege; practice skills that lead to creating a culture of accountability; establish a common language foundation and shared language for DEI; and develop the knowledge and skills to actively contribute to reducing inequities within our sphere of influence and lead inclusively.
This workshop develops a common language to inform the discussion and work on DEI; understand where implicit bias comes from in ourselves and how its connected to larger structural issues on inequality and inequity; and lean intergroup dialogue techniques and how to develop the techniques in the workplace.
Engaged Allyship / Being an Upstander
In the Engaged Allyship / Being an Upstander workshop, you will better understand ally as a verb; learn skills for being an upstander/ bystander intervention; explore, understand, and practices skills for calling in and more.
Exploring Identity & DEI
This workshop will establish a common foundation and shared language for DEI work; explore and reflect on social identities and our own individual identities; and provide a basic understanding of social privilege and systems of power and oppression.
- Dr. Kimal McCarthy (Nantucket DEI Director) firstname.lastname@example.org or
- Dr. Bree Becker (Tangible Development) email@example.com with any questions.
Holocaust Remembrance Day
Friday, January 27, 2023 was International Holocaust Remembrance Day. “On this annual day of commemoration, the UN urges every member state to honor the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust and millions of other victims of Nazism and to develop educational programs to help prevent future genocides.” To learn more, visit the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Nickesha Sheriff, Administrative Specialist
Planning & Land Use Services | Town of Nantucket
Everyone’s journey to Nantucket is unique and their reasons for staying also differ. Yet, for Meet NEET participants to date, a sense of belonging or feeling a part of the community have been one underlining thread as to what that makes this island special. This sense of belonging was also shared throughout this month’s interview with Nickesha Sheriff.
Born and raised in Jamaica, Sheriff first visited Nantucket in 2015 and moved to the island permanently in 2016. Today, Nickesha is an Administrative Specialist at the Planning and Land Use Services (PLUS) department, the interview on her personal story and Nantucket work experiences was filled with highs and some lows.
“My first job [on Nantucket] was at Island Coffee Shop, right down the street,” she shared, sitting in the town building at 16 Broad Street for her interview. Without prompt she continued, “Living here has been peaceful and safe, which is important to me as a single Black female. I always tell people like, the air is just different here, its hard to explain it but you just feel a sense of calm living here.”
When asked to share her earliest Nantucket memories, Sheriff said, “At the time I came to work and I remember my first day because it was all so new to me. Like, the cobblestones, I remember that vividly and thinking, ‘what is going on.’ It was August, the peak of summertime, people were eating Juice Bar ice cream, which was my first stop. I had the pistachio ice cream and walked up Main Street on the cobblestones and stood at the top for a while taking it all in, Nantucket.”
Nickesha also recalled a welcoming energy throughout the island from its residents, an energy that is still abundant today. “I always talk about how nice the people are here, they are so pleasant. Like, one time, money fell out of my pocket and someone literally chased me down me tell me. You hardly find that anywhere… The people are very friendly, everyone is always smiling, genuinely asking, ‘How are you.’ Everyone here, for the most part, are truly welcoming and friendly.”
When asked about her work and PLUS, Nickesha talked glowingly about her colleagues and department. Without question, she gave one of the most enthusiastic responses about working for the town. Nickesha expressed that the camaraderie in her office is fun and they all work well together as a team to get tasks completed on time.
Asked to explain her work, Nickesha replied, “I am an administrative specialist at the PLUS department. I work closely with the Zoning Board of Appeals. My core responsibilities are handling all ZBA intake, drafting the legal ads to send to the newspaper each month for each upcoming meeting, and I’m also responsible for putting together the meeting packet for each meeting. I have to go to the zoning board meetings each month as well, and I also do a little bit of everything in PLUS. I also do building permit intakes, I close out permits – so I do the certificate of occupancy for properties and so on. It’s a lot of stuff, we are always busy.”
Given her direct connections with the zoning board, Sheriff was asked to describe the purpose of the board for the average resident to comprehend. “Well, the primary role of the zoning board is to review and decide cases where a relaxation of the ordinance is sought or where there is an alleged error in a zoning decision.”
When asked what she liked about her work, Nickesha simply answered, “I actually love my job.” After a long pause, she was asked to elaborate, “I like that I learn something new every single day. It keeps my brain active and I like that there is room to grow.” Sheriff went on to share that she is currently taking courses in urban planning and raved about the support she receives from her supervisors, always encouraging her to take on more responsibilities and to learn more about planning and land use.
As the next scribe for the town’s internal Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, Nickesha had a lot to say about DEI. When the conversation switched to race relations on Nantucket and in the United States, Sheriff made an off-the-cuff comment about racism that insightfully stinged, “We can’t cure it” she blurred out. When asked to elaborate on the phrase, her facial expressed changed as she recognized the gravity of her own insight, which basically compared racism to an incurable illness.
Nevertheless, Sheriff was clearly optimistic about the future of race relations on Nantucket and throughout the country. “We can try to overcome racism and I am still going to do my part; I’m willing to do the work. I know it’s not going to be easy.”
Nickesha ended the discussion with a sense of appreciation, foreseeing a life of quality, a theme picked up on throughout her interview as she continuously referred to the importance of self-care and tranquility. Her closing remarks felt more of a mantra than a motto, “It’s a funny think about life, once you begin to take note of the things you are grateful for, you being to lose sight of things that you lack.”