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Appleton’s Diversity Coordinator To Step Down

Flores Wants To Shift Focus To Grassroots Activism, Leave Government


The city of Appleton’s diversity and inclusion coordinator is stepping down at the end of the month.

The city was one of the first in Wisconsin to establish the role, which was created in 1997. Kathy Flores began the position in 2009 and has since helped connect marginalized people with interpreters, refugee resettlement services and suicide prevention groups.

Flores wants to shift her focus to grassroots activism outside the purview of some on the city council, she said.

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“There have been three years in a row where this position has been on the block to be chopped out of the budget, and some of it’s been directly based on things I’ve said or things that I’ve done,” Flores said. “I was still getting pushback for being in attendance, just in attendance not one of the protesters, at a Black Lives Matter protest this last fall.”

Flores will stay in the Fox Cities, but will move to a Milwaukee-based LGBT rights group. The city will refill the position, Appleton Mayor Tim Hanna said.

As the city’s demographics change, it’s an important service that nearby cities don’t offer, he said.

“Not yet,” he said. “I do know there are conversations happening in some of our neighboring larger cities, Oshkosh and Green Bay are starting to have conversations about it.”

Hanna said that he’s proud Appleton instituted the job nearly 20 years ago.

“We saw these trends coming, we saw the face of our community changing,” Hanna said.