NEWCOMB — The theme of this year's Adirondack Diversity Advisory Council symposium is "Towards a More Diverse Adirondacks.”

The event, touted by organizers as "the intersection of diversity, economics and social justice," is set for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13, at the SUNY ESF Adirondack Interpretive Center in Newcomb.

"(It) will engage attendees with business and economic leaders from throughout the Adirondacks and New York state in a dialogue about vital ways in which this intersection can make life better for everyone in the Adirondacks," a press release said.

“We feel strongly that this year’s symposium will offer a lot to local businesses and organizations who want to take advantage of a rapidly diversifying state,” said Advisory Council Coordinator Pete Nelson in the release. 

“How to engage this diversification and at the same time do the right thing, in being more welcoming and inclusive, continues to be in important discussion in many places here, including at this year’s Common Ground Alliance Forum.”


The heart of the symposium will be a panel discussion featuring Adirondack business and economic leaders. 

 Panelists include:

• David M. Kahn, executive director of the Adirondack Museum.

• Kate Fish, executive director of the Adirondack North Country Association.

• Scottie Ginn, ADAC Advisory Board member, Adirondack resident and former vice president and diversity adviser at IBM.

• Don Papson, co-founder of the North Country Underground Railroad Historical Association.

Throughout the work of the Adirondack Diversity Advisory Council, said Chris Morris, Communications Officer with the Adirondack Foundation, "we have been told by many people that a truly welcoming and inclusive environment is about day-to-day life, the world of goods, services and the commerce of a community.

“Small things like equality stickers on windows or doors, multicultural displays and signage, or available foods and cosmetics for people of different colors and cultures, make a big difference. We know they are essential to fostering a true environment of belonging.”


The kickoff presentation will be delivered by professor Wallace Ford, chair of the Public Administration Department at Medgar Evers College.

He has taught at Columbia University, New York’s School of Public Affairs and others institutions, and held positions such as counsel to the New York State Assembly Committee on Banking to president of the State of New York Mortgage Agency.

As the direct appointee of New York state governors Hugh Carey and Mario Cuomo, as well as New York City Mayor David Dinkins, Ford has also served as deputy commissioner of the New York State Department of Commerce and commissioner of the New York City Department of Business Services.


The keynote speech will be given by National Sierra Club President Aaron Mair, the first African American to lead the United States’ largest environmental organization. 

Mair founded the Arbor Hill Environmental Justice Corporation, which was a member of the White House Council on Environmental Quality from 1998 to 2000. He also founded, served as board member and lectured at the W. Haywood Burns Environmental Education Center in the Albany Capital region of New York. 

In 2000, Mair received an EPA Environmental Quality Award for cleanup of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) on the Hudson River. 

Mair also served as a board member at the New York League of Conservation Voters in 2000.


“In a time of sweeping demographic evolution and in a park where economic challenges abound, Adirondack businesses who understand the importance of welcoming a diverse customer base will profit from a much broader and more lucrative market," said Adirondack Council Executive Director Willie Janeway in the release. 

"This will strengthen the park and help it remain a national jewel.”

The event will begin with refreshments and coffee and be followed by a reception. Lunch will be provided. 

The registration fee is $25 and attendees are welcome at the door. To register in advance, go to:

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