Is There A Place In Mesa For DEI?

The Mesa City Council chambers. Maria Polletta/The Republic

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) policies and programs are being dismantled across America, and with good reason: DEI has been revealed to be a radical leftist scam that seeks to overthrow capitalism, representative democracy and the legal system. As such, it should have no influence on civic policies in Mesa.

Mike Gonzalez, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, penned an analysis published by the Washington Examiner in May 2023 and is worth reading every word:

Youngkin’s diversity officer exposes the Left’s DEI sham

Youngkin Hispanic Heritage

Martin Brown of Virginia is the latest reminder that DEI , or “diversity, equity, and inclusion,” is a sham, a strategy to force systemic change, not to encourage equality, participation by all, or ideological diversity .

“DEI is dead,” Brown said last week, and the keepers of the orthodoxy started calling for his head.

Brown, director of the Office of Diversity, Opportunity, and Inclusion for Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R-VA), is black. His views, however, are the wrong hue. So he doesn’t add diversity and must be excluded.

“Let’s take a moment right now to kill that cow,” Brown said of the Left’s DEI agenda during a speech at the Virginia Military Institute. “We’re not going to bring that cow up anymore. It’s dead. It was mandated by the General Assembly, but this governor has a different philosophy of civil discourse.”

Diversity, said Brown, is the “wrong mission.” Obsessing about equity means “you’re not pursuing merit or excellence or achievement.”

Judging from the outraged cry of the Left, one would think that photos revealing racist behavior were revealed — as happened with former Gov. Ralph Northam, the Democratic executive who created Virginia’s DEI office to make the photo scandal go away.

The Washington Post covered Brown’s speech in a contentious piece clearly intended to damage him. After that, the Virginia NAACP, the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, the Virginia Latino Caucus, the Virginia Asian American and Pacific Islander Caucus, the head of the Virginia African American Advisory Board, and the former speaker of the House of Delegates, all called for Youngkin to fire Brown.

Democratic state Sen. Lamont Bagby captured the mood when he said, “It was appalling. It’s evident that he doesn’t appreciate his role, and it’s time for him to make it official and offer his resignation.”

These kinds of testimonials should reassure Youngkin that Brown is flying over the target. He should send him on further sorties.

DEI, like its sister abbreviations CRT (critical race theory) and ESG (environmental, social, and corporate governance), are strategies concocted by leftists to achieve regime change. What they want to change is the American constitutional order: capitalism, representative democracy, and the legal system.

Everyday Americans, however, have risen in opposition. This is why governors, legislatures, county boards, and city councils are passing a spate of measures defanging these strategies nationwide. Youngkin himself was a harbinger of this insurrection: he was elected in November 2021 on the back of parental opposition to critical race theory in Virginia schools.

Kimberle Crenshaw, an academic who helped design critical race theory in the 1980s, became the latest of the leading lights of the movement to decry this opposition. As she complained to Politico last week, “There’s been a three-year assault on anti-racism,” another term the Left often uses for their strategy.

In further admission that these approaches are unpopular, Crenshaw also groused that she had heard that President Joe Biden will walk away from them as he runs for reelection in 2024. “We’ve already heard that the approach is not to claim the mantle of ‘wokeness.’ The approach is to focus on jobs, the approach is to focus on pocketbook issues,” she said of Biden’s strategy.

Regardless of whether this issue surfaces prominently in the 2024 campaigns, the administration has spent its entire time in office enforcing these orthodoxies through policy.

Brown is right to take a stand against the Left’s attempted revolution. In the case of DEI in particular, all three terms have been corrupted, as Brown’s treatment makes clear. Diversity is not at all about diversity. It is not about putting people of all racial, ethnic, and sexual categories in positions of authority so that their “lived experience” could guide their actions. Brown’s “lived experience” need not apply, according to the Left, because he refuses to fall in line with their ideologies.

Equity is the absolute worst corruption. It means that government should go back to treating Americans differently because of their race — Vice President Kamala Harris has been crystal clear on this point.

Inclusion, meanwhile, means mall cops kicking out people shopping with Jesus shirts on or guards at the Smithsonian telling children to remove hats with pro-life messages. It also means excluding Brown because he ran afoul of the new language codes.

Northam appointed a head of DEI in September 2019 after college photos of him with blackface came out, and the General Assembly codified the move in April 2020. Ideally, Youngkin and the General Assembly should change the law and abolish the office. In the meantime, it’s good to have courageous people like Brown speaking truth to power.

However, Mesa Councilwoman (District 2) Julie Spilsbury has been invited to become a 2023 Flinn-Brown Fellow.  According to,

The Arizona Center for Civic Leadership welcomes Mesa District 2 Councilmember Julie Spilsbury as one of their 2023 Flinn-Brown Fellows. Twenty-eight leaders from the state will participate in Arizona’s most prestigious leadership program on state-level policy and politics.

The Flinn-Brown experience begins in August with theFlinn-Brown Academy, a rigorous 11-session policy institute offering unparalleled opportunities for professional connections and learning about Arizona policy and politics, facilitated by top state leaders and subject-matter experts. In November, the 2023 Fellows will participate in theFlinn-Brown Convention, an annual professional development day for the entire Flinn-Brown Network.

“I am honored to have been selected as a 2023 Flinn-Brown Fellow. I am looking forward to the skills and knowledge I will acquire with my cohort to further my civic engagement and continue to help build strong communities,” said Councilmember Spilsbury. “I know this will impact me greatly in my service to the City of Mesa and my future. I’m excited to be selected.”

Launched by the Flinn Foundation in 2011, the Flinn-Brown Fellowship’s goal is cultivating civic leaders throughout Arizona. The Flinn-Brown Network now totals 437 Fellows.

Unfortunately, The Flinn Foundation is steeped in DEI, and its mission is to teach DEI to its fellows. According to its website, “We also believe that our success requires a vigorous commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), operationally and in our current philanthropic activities.”

More specifically, the website states,

Our efforts currently focus on:

    • Internal processes, including those for program recruitment and selection, and for grant-application design;
    • Support of grantees in our program areas, including technical assistance to strengthen organizations’ DEI practices, and grant support for their DEI priorities;
    • Objective progress monitoring, including the development of clear goals and metrics and improvements in how we collect and assess demographic data from program applicants and participants;
    • Staff, board-member, and program-participant diversity;
    • Professional development, including ongoing DEI training and dialogue.

Perhaps Councilwoman Spilsbury does not know the DEI connection at Flinn Foundation. Nevertheless, she is about to get a serious indoctrination.

With the rest of the nation abandoning DEI policies, we advise Spilsbury to repudiate them when it comes to her governance role in Mesa. DEI does not belong here, and we must carefully guard against it.


  • Patrick Wood

    Resident of Mesa, Arizona. Author, lecturer and editor of Technocracy News & Trends; founder of Citizens for Free Speech.

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