Cultural agility in Sunnyside

Dean Broersma, a Sunnyside City Councilman and member of Sunnyside United’s Cultural Agility Committee, shares insights with Noon Rotary members last Monday.

Sunnyside is a more diverse community than you may think…residents here hail from around the world, including East India and Africa.

That’s according to Sunnyside City Councilman Dean Broersma, a member of Sunnyside United’s Cultural Agility Committee, who spoke last Monday to the Sunnyside Noon Rotarians.

He told Monday’s luncheon group the committee’s work includes promoting inclusion of cultures without devaluing other cultures.

Cultural agility is not racial sensitivity, Broersma notes.

Instead, he calls it the “…broad spectrum of who we are.”

There’s work culture, family culture and school culture, for example.

Broersma offered the illustration of a company hiring someone who is Muslim. He says that person’s month-long fast for Ramadan or the requirement to pray five times a day could have impacts at work.

Even within some groups there can be differing cultures.

The Latino population in Sunnyside, he notes, includes people from El Salvador, Texas, Costa Rica and Guatemala, for example.

“You can’t lump everybody together,” Broersma says of respecting individual cultures within Latin America.

Monday’s presentation wasn’t just about talking about the Cultural Agility Committee’s work, but to encourage community members to take action.

Sunnyside United offers a multicultural education checklist for businesses and organizations. The organization also offers training opportunities.

It’s making a difference.

Cathy Kelley of Sunnyside United told Rotarians on Monday that businesses in the community – including some large ones – are taking cultural agility to heart.

“They are including it in their business practices,” she says.

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