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San Luis Obispo has a new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Manager

New Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Manager Nestor Veloz-Passalacqua.
New Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Manager Nestor Veloz-Passalacqua.

Following a national search, the City of SLO selected Nestor Veloz-Passalacqua as the new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Manager.

According to SLO Deputy City Manager Greg Hermann, Veloz-Passalacqua was the standout candidate for the role due to his extensive education and experience in the field.

“What really set Nestor apart was obviously his deep passion and commitment for this subject but also his professional expertise,” Hermann said.

Veloz-Passalacqua has a long history in San Luis Obispo. He completed his bachelor’s in ethnic studies and master’s in public policy at Cal Poly. He also served as the DEI Program Manager for the County of SLO’s Behavioral Health Department.

Veloz-Passalacqua said his main goal is to make SLO’s educational institutions and businesses more welcoming and inclusive.

“Upcoming partnerships with Cal Poly, and Cuesta College as well, ensure that we continue to build programming that is beneficial but also meaningful to the community, so we continue to provide that kind of training and ongoing outreach to them,” Veloz-Passalacqua said.

Veloz-Passalacqua said he also plans to expand SLO’s previously successful DEI Grant funding programs, including new grants for implementing diversity training and hiring practices for SLO businesses.

In 2022, the city awarded $300,000 in funding towards community nonprofits to advance DEI services in the city. These programs ranged from outreach to undocumented residents to translating educational resources for Spanish-speaking families.

As a bilingual person who is well-versed in different cultural needs, Veloz-Passalacqua said he aims to prioritize direct communication with underrepresented community members to give them a say in local politics.

“What the office of DEI and the city are committed to do is to engage and reach out in a culturally and linguistically appropriate manner to communities,” Veloz-Passalacqua said.

He said since SLO is predominantly white, it is especially important for the city to go the extra mile in its outreach programs to engage with underrepresented residents.

The City of SLO is revising its community outreach guide to reach marginalized community members more effectively. The DEI office plans to present the revised guide to the city council in May.

For more information on the Office of Diversity, Equity and inclusion, visit slocity.org/Diversity.

KCBX Reporter Amanda Wernik graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo with a BS in Journalism. Amanda is currently a fellow with the USC Center for Health Journalism, completing a data fellowship that will result in a news feature series to air on KCBX in the winter of 2024.
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