'A progressive step': New Fayetteville DEI director talks vision, first days on job

Akilah Davis Image
Thursday, January 6, 2022
Fayetteville's new DEI director talks about her vision for inclusivity
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New diversity, equity and inclusions director hired to help in move to more inclusive community.

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- A wave to be more inclusive is moving across the Tar Heel State. In the All-American City, residents come from a variety of diverse backgrounds. Fayetteville is home to one of the world's largest military installations plus an estimated 208,000 people from all across the globe.

"I think the city has taken a progressive step to make sure we have people in place that can look at things through a different lens and take appropriate action to rectify barriers we may have," said Yamile Nazar, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Human Relations Director.

The New York native said her 90-day plan includes promoting positive human relations and identifying barriers within the city. That includes developing a plan to increase access to city resources for people who speak little to no English and targeting community programs that serve people with disabilities.

Nazar's first few days on the job, however, have been centered around planning the second meeting for repurposing the Market House, a highly contentious topic among residents.

"We had 129 people signed up for the first event. For the last three days, I want to make certain our second event is as successful as the first one," said Nazar.

Nazar admitted it is too early to tell what DEI challenges Fayetteville faces. Her appointment comes as more cities create and develop positions like this. In Raleigh, Dr. Aretina Hamilton was named as director of equity and inclusion.

"It's my hope through the creation of this position that we'll be able to show the importance externally in the community for diversity, but also that we value it internally as well to our employees," said Fayetteville City Manager Doug Hewitt.

Outside of DEI, Nazar is a proud mom of a 19-year-old daughter, Yolanda, who is set to start college next week. When asked what her goals are as she embarks on this new journey, she responded:

"I would like to work myself out of a job. My ultimate goal is that we get to a place in this country where we don't need DEI professionals," said Nazar.