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Appleton Engaged: Fighting for racial equity one podcast at a time

Timber Smith and Andy Anaam
Posted at 4:51 PM, Nov 07, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-07 17:51:23-05
  • Timber Smith and Andy Anaam co-host the Appleton Engaged podcast dedicated to improving racial equity in the city.
  • They engage with various community resources and organizations, fostering deep-rooted conversations that have a positive DEI impact.
  • Recognized by the Wisconsin Policy Forum with the Salute to Local Government award, Appleton Engaged's goal is to build a welcoming and inclusive community.

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

Timber Smith is the diversity, equity, and inclusion coordinator for Appleton and Andy Anaam is the communications manager, but together they’re the hosts of the Appleton Engaged podcast. It’s devoted to improving racial equity within the city. I’m Olivia Acree, your Appleton neighborhood reporter and I met with them to talk about what they do and why it was worthy of an award.

“Hello and welcome to Appleton Engaged,” said Smith.

Each week, Smith and Anaam highlight a new resource in the community.

“Different organizations that represent a swath of who lives in our communities,” said Smith.

With a special focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion.
And at the center of it all is conversation.

“That’s the beauty of Appleton engaged we are engaging people with our conversation we are engaging ourselves into these deep-rooted conversations which need to take place,” said Anaam.

That engagement is working.

“Sharing about community resources has always been something that they've been champions of,” said Zornow.

Oliver Zornow is the building for kids' executive director and was once a podcast guest.

“The Appleton podcast gave us a chance of sharing a little bit more of who we are and what we do in the way that not a lot of people know,” said Zornow.

That's why Appleton engaged was recognized by the Wisconsin policy forum for their racial equity efforts.
Competing against other larger cities in the state, they won the salute to local government.
But Smith says the award is not what matters.

“For an organization to understand that all we’re really trying to do is to build a really awesome and welcoming community where you can feel like you belong and be validated for that feels really good,” said Smith.

Appleton has had a DEI coordinator since 1997, so smith says they’re not building the foundation for equity and inclusion in the city. They’re building on top of what so many before him already laid down. You can find Appleton engaged anywhere you listen.