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UPDATED: Wausau diversity, inclusivity committee adds new member, considers name change

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Editor’s note: This story clarifies an earlier version that stated Mr. Norfleet and Mr. Stuart were being welcomed as members to the group. Committee chair Tom Neal on Wednesday said neither of the men will be in the committee but are joining the meeting only as guests. Wausau Pilot and Review regrets the error.

By Shereen Siewert

Two high profile racial equity activists will appear before a Wausau diversity committee to discuss possible activities in the coming year, though neither have been invited to formally join the group, Alderman Tom Neal said Wednesday.

The Mayor’s Welcoming and Inclusivity Committee will meet March 4.

Chris Norfleet and David Deon Stuart, both of whom direct People for the Power of Love, will join the Mayor’s Welcoming and Inclusivity Committee on March 4 — but only as guests to share possible ideas for collaboration.

Norfleet is also a candidate for Wausau City Council and is challenging Pat Peckham in Dist. 1.

Stuart, who is also a well-known local musician, was previously tapped for the committee but was asked to withdraw by Mayor Robert Mielke after a public meeting in which Mielke openly discussed Stuart’s criminal record.

Both Norfleet and Stuart have spent years actively promoting diversity in the Wausau area through their grassroots group, speaking at presentations throughout the area and spreading their message of unity. Both men were also involved in the Toward One Wausau effot.

The committee was formed in April  and was intended to include one council member and seven community members. Tom Neal currently chairs the committee, but said in the group’s Jan. 8 meeting he would step down in favor of having a community member assume the role.

Blake Opal-Wahoske, Carlos Etchepareborda, Andrea Oyuela, LaTanya Campbell and Aaron Decker are the five community members in the group. Two open seats remain.

Decker is the a member to the group, Neal said.

The group is also considering a name change to WIDER Wausau, an acronym for Welcoming, Inclusive, Diverse, Engaged, Respect, according to minutes from the most recent meeting.

The public meeting is set for 5:30 p.m. on Wed., March 4 at City Hall, 407 Grant St., Wausau.

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