We are committed to creating a La Crosse County where every person can thrive as part of a sustainable, welcoming community. This means making sure all our residents and guests can fully and effectively access county services, influence county policy and direction, and feel a sense of belonging and safety.
In 2021, the La Crosse County Board overwhelmingly passed a resolution declaring racism a public health crisis. The vote was an acknowledgement of the harm caused by institutional and structural bias in our county, state, and nation. It was also a call to action, and launched the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) initiative we are now advancing.
The project begins with work to develop a roadmap that will lay out actionable steps to create more equitable policies, programs, and an inclusive culture at La Crosse County. Action steps will be driven by data and input from a broad range of community members and organizations. Everyone in La Crosse County will have the opportunity to have their voice heard as part of this process.
This project is not only important for marginalized communities, but for all people of La Crosse County. By addressing historic inequities, we can create a community that benefits everyone. This work is not easy, and it requires the commitment and collaboration of all members of La Crosse County to achieve a sustainable and equitable community. However, we believe the rewards will be significant and long-lasting. When more voices are at the table, our community and local economy will grow stronger.
As leaders of La Crosse County, we want to emphasize our belief in the dignity and worth of all people and the strength in the diversity of all perspectives. Together, we will create a La Crosse County that builds a sustainable future for all.
Monica Kruse, La Crosse County Board Chair & Jane Klekamp, La Crosse County Administrator
La Crosse County seeks to promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) in all aspects of its work. Defining these values ensures that everyone understands their role in fostering a culture that is respectful, welcoming, and supportive of all individuals. This can lead to improved employee morale and engagement, greater creativity and innovation, and stronger relationships with the community.
Diversity refers to the variety of differences among people, including race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, physical and neurological abilities, religion, geography within the county, income level, nationality, language, veteran status, and more. La Crosse County recognizes and values these differences, striving to create an inclusive community where we seek to improve the lives of every member of the community.
Equity means fairness and justice in the treatment of all individuals, regardless of their background or identity. La Crosse County aims to ensure that all employees and community members have equal access to opportunities, resources, and services, and that no one is unfairly disadvantaged or excluded based on their identity, lived experiece or background.
Inclusion involves creating an environment where everyone feels valued, respected, and supported, and can fully participate in all aspects of work and community life. La Crosse County actively works to ensure that all employees and community members feel welcome and included, and that their voices and perspectives are heard and valued.
Belonging refers to a sense of connection, community, and acceptance among individuals. La Crosse County fosters an environment where all employees and community members feel that they are part of a larger community, and that they have a sense of purpose and connection to the organization's mission and values. By sharing these definitions, La Crosse County holds itself accountable and continuously improves efforts to promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.
We recognize and respect the inherent sovereignty of the twelve First Nations that reside in the boundaries of the state of Wisconsin.
We recognize and acknowledge that the land we occupy, La Crosse County in its entirety, is a portion of the ancestral homeland of the Hoocąk (Ho-Chunk) People, who have stewarded this land since time immemorial. We acknowledge the forced removal of the Hoocąk people, as the City of La Crosse was a location point of expulsion from Wisconsin.
We acknowledge the ills of the past so we can work today toward a just stewardship of our resources for future generations. Our vision of a collaborative future to establish an inclusive stewardship of our resources and learn from each other shows respect for the inherent sovereignty of the Hoocąk People.
Let us honor the Hoocąk People, who despite opposition, found to remain in their homeland, as well as those who returned home. Their resistance and resilience to overcome the history of colonization laid the foundation for future generations, as they thrive today.
La Crosse County has launched a comprehensive Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Initiative. The goal is to create a La Crosse County where all members of our community feel they belong and have opportunities to succeed. To guide this effort, the county is partnering with Chanin Kelly-Rae (CKR) Consulting LLC to create a strategic plan with actionable steps for implementation.
In April 2021, the La Crosse County Board approved a resolution declaring Racism a Public Health Crisis. The resolution highlighted racial inequities and disparities in our county and across Wisconsin and tied those inequities to institutional and structural bias. You can read the resolution by clicking here. The resolution called on the county to raise awareness of the impact of racism in our community and advocate for policies that advance social justice for all.
Our comprehensive approach to this initiative will involve broad engagement with community members, elected officials, and partner organizations. Watch for opportunities to have your voice heard, which will be promoted on this page, through local media, and on the county’s social media channels.