The board of Celebrate Diversity Fox Cities recently recognized Dr. Kimberly Barrett and Rayon Brown with the Unsung Hero Award for their work with Imagine Fox Cities, a community visioning project. Barrett and Brown were chosen for their tireless efforts to make the Fox Cities more welcoming, safe, and inclusive for all during the pandemic and beyond.  

Barrett has been active in a variety of community organizations in several states whose goals relate to achieving social and economic justice, including a group in Alabama that started a Mental Health Court diversion program for Shelby County. Some of her civic activities include being a member of Rotary International, 100+ Women Who Care, the leadership council for the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce Minority Business Partnership and serving on the Board of Directors for the United Way of Greater Dayton. In addition, she was the recipient of a DiversityFIRST Award from the National Diversity Council. Currently she serves on several local boards including the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce, Harbor House Domestic Abuse Programs and the Bergstrom Mahler Museum of Glass.  

“This recognition of our committee’s work during the pandemic to promote belonging by one of the cornerstone diversity organizations in the region speaks to the importance of promoting inclusion and social connections even during the most challenging circumstances,” said Dr. Kimberly Barrett, former Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion, Associate Dean of the Faculty, Lawrence University. “The IFC belonging committee thought there was no more important time to do this work of finding social connections than when we were required to be physically distant in a period of hardship felt around the globe. What better opportunity would there be to recognize our common humanity and interdependence.”  

Active in the community, Brown chairs the Ryan Community Board of Directors and co-chairs the Imagine Fox Cities Coordinating Committee. He serves on several other boards and planning committees, including the NACCE Mentoring Council, LEAVEN Community Resource Center Outcomes and Evaluation Committee, Community Health Action Team (CHAT), POINT Action Groups, Celebrate Diversity Fox Cities Board of Directors, Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Team, Fox Cities Chief Diversity Officers Collaborative, and Voices of Men Fox Cities.  

“The work that Imagine Fox Cities continues to do is critical, and is needed now more than ever, said Rayon Brown, Fox Valley Technical College Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Chief Diversity Officer, and Interim Vice President for Student Services. “To be recognized by Celebrate Diversity Fox Cities is an honor and a privilege. This recognition also serves as a reminder that great opportunities still exist in our region to create a community that all people can be comfortable and proud to call home.” 

Celebrate Diversity Fox Cities provides education, honest dialogue, and advocacy, celebrating the broad spectrum of diversity in the Fox Cities. Imagine Fox Cities is an inclusive community-wide initiative created to be intentional about shaping the future of the Fox Cities when it comes to well-being.