Dignity & Respect Campaign

Thursday, January 3, 2019

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United Way Fox Cities staff participated in the Dignity and Respect Campaign by taking the pledge to make our community a better place for ALL with ALL of our differences. Will you take the pledge too?

 Contributor: Karen Nelson, Diversity & Inclusion Coordinator at City of Appleton

Happy New Year! January 16, 2019 will mark the one-year anniversary of the City of Appleton’s Dignity & Respect Campaign. This initiative, is led by me, Karen Nelson, Diversity & Inclusion Coordinator in the Mayor’s Office in partnership with Lawrence University’s Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion, Dr. Kimberly Barrett. The goal of the initiative is to support community, organizations, youth programs, schools and sports programs in making Appleton a better place for all to live with all of our differences.

I chose January 16, 2018 – the day after Dr. King’s birthday holiday last year – as a call to action for the community to come together and rally around the issues of racism, bias, inequity and injustice in our society. What a great way to live out the values of Dr. King beyond just his birthday holiday.

Initially, 113 people signed the pledge. After spending the entire year of 2018 building cultural awareness, we are starting 2019 with that figure at 2,200! I’ve conducted six free “Community Conversations” that help people learn about other cultures. We’re also guests on WHBY’s Fresh Take on the third Friday of every month updating listeners on what is happening with the campaign, along with diversity and inclusion in general.

I’m very pleased with the intentionality, with the engagement and the community’s enthusiasm. Every single one of my workshops and community conversations has been wildly successful. Rooms have been filled to capacity. People are already inquiring about 2019 workshops and how they can support the effort.

Every day, Mayor Hanna and I wear a pin that says, “I will do my part.”

If everyone just does their part, then the City of Appleton will be a better place of accepting all of our differences. During his life, Dr. King did his part in serving others.

That is why the City of Appleton is taking the campaign to the next level in 2019 by promoting January 21 as the 1st Day of Service with the Appleton Area School District, 10:00 a.m. at Appleton East High School. Meaning, make it a day on, not a day off, so that people can proactively get out of their comfort zones and find something to do as service to others. 

For more information on the Dignity & Respect Campaign, contact me at
karen.nelson@appleton.org or 920-832-1564 or visit www.dignityandrespect.org/Appleton.

If you would like to volunteer at the 1st  MLK, Jr. Day of Service, there are four ways you can help: setup, ambassadors, bus/service attendants and service activity attendants. Sign up at

The evening will culminate with the 28th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration at 6:30 p.m. on January 21 at the Lawrence University Memorial Chapel. Winners will be invited to read their essays and two award recipients will be announced! Hope to see you at one or both events!