The Coalition was founded in 2011 as a response to a widely reported incident involving a cross burning in Arroyo Grande. Its first action was producing and distributing a brochure throughout the Five Cities community, “Diversity is Good for Everyone,” communicating the many reasons and ways we should both appreciate and celebrate our differences. The Coalition includes representatives from local government, education, business, non-profit organizations and other concerned citizens throughout the County.
In the past 9 years, the Coalition has largely concentrated on its conviction that the best time to reach people on such a critical subject is when they’re still young, before their personal belief systems are fully formed. This resulted in such activities as co-sponsoring a powerful anti-bullying message delivered by guest speakers to Lucia Mar School District middle school students and in 2014 sponsoring the “I Am” exhibit at the Grover Beach Stone Soup Festival, where hundreds of adults and kids of all ages expressed on canvas, what they believe makes them unique as individuals.
Under Coalition auspices, Jim Trask, a well-known local artist, worked with three Arroyo Grande High School students to create a sculpture, entitled “Arboring Our Roots of Diversity,” which was installed June 1, 2017, at the school’s entrance, serving as a public symbol of the importance of diversity and all it offers to any community.
Beginning in 2017, the Coalition turned its primary focus to child education, thus instituting its “Community Diversity Education and Training Program” (fully detailed in this site’s “Programs” section). By the end of the current school year (Fall 2019-Spring 2020), over 4,000 Lucia Mar School District and San Luis Coastal School District students will have received the benefits of a semester long curriculum class built around the Coalition’s Guest Speakers. In addition, many Lucia Mar School District and San Luis Coastal School District teachers will have been inspired and motivated to weave human rights as a topic into their current curriculum.