Q&A: Sharon Cini talks Scottsdale Human Relations role in LGBT equality efforts

Scottsdale Diversity and Inclusion Manager Sharon Cini, at left, who has named a Scottsdale Diversity Champion during the 2019 Scottsdale ceremony honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (Arianna Grainey/Independent Newmedia)

Despite efforts for a statewide law protecting the civil rights of the members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in Arizona, proponents in Scottsdale say if a local measure were to emerge it would first come from the Scottsdale Human Relations Commission.

Sharon Cini, Scottsdale diversity and inclusion manager, serves as staff liaison for the advisory group to Scottsdale City Council and to better understand the idea of diversity and inclusion the Independent reached out to learn more.

This is what Ms. Cini had to say about the issue, but declined to offer insights into the development of a new local ordinance:

• From the perspective of the Office of Diversity, why is it important for all humans to feel comfortable where they live, work and play?

We live in this very diverse world and each of us can thrive by treating others with compassion, understanding and love. We have a choice in our society to recognize that we contribute to how comfortable we are based upon our interactions with others.

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion provides a public service by working to encourage this mindset in city services, programs and activities. Through workshops with employees and community events, our work demonstrates our commitment to serve our community’s diverse needs.

•What happens to our society when we don’t work toward a sense of equality and compassion for all people?

There is nothing harder than to experience or see someone else being treated with prejudice or being oppressed because of a diversity trait. We work to nurture the community because we know the potential positive outcomes that touch everyone. But if we don’t work towards a sense of equality or have compassion, experiences will likely be negative. Equality sets the tone for everyone to be treated with fairness, with respect to one’s humanity, and to have the same opportunity as others in our community.

Compassion is our emotional and spiritual guide, defining our moral compass and we can use compassion anytime we want. It is our choice and it cannot be taken away from us. Living with compassion for all people helps our community achieve its values and vision.

•Do you believe that we were all created equal?

My identity is as an Indigenous woman first and yes, my teachings and our societal laws say that we are all created equal. Traditional native people believe that all two legged, four-legged, the winged-ones, etc. all deserve respect and compassion. In fact, my Hopi roots share stories of our relationships as human beings and why the people of different colors went in different ways, but we are all still kin, still relatives.

Treating others equally is the simplest form of love and is powerful, so we must be mindful and speak up when there are inequities, so everyone is taken care of. We carry out our duties as contributing human beings and life continues.

Independent Newsmedia Arizona Managing Editor Terrance Thornton can be contacted at tthornton@newszap.com

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