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Salem believes in growing and supporting a diverse community, where people have equal opportunity and access to social and economic resources. The people of Salem should be able to participate in their community in meaningful ways, including the direction and intentions of their city government. Conversely, the wellbeing of the public should be at the forefront of the City of Salem’s governing objectives.


Diversity is a fundamental part of Salem’s history and is critical for its continued prosperity.

Salem recognizes the multitude of voices that shaped its past and that its history cannot be adequately told without addressing the lives and contributions of people of many backgrounds. Today the city must create an inclusive environment for people no matter their race, ethnicity, income or wealth, class affiliation, gender identity, sexual preference, religious or spiritual affiliation, household or family structure, veteran status, nationality or refugee status, and employment or student status. Salem acknowledges that in the 21st century, the city will be neither socially or economically prosperous without inclusivity.


Equity is a necessary component of any approach to planning.

Salem should embrace equity of opportunity and basic social needs, such as housing or access to transportation. Without equity, diversity and inclusivity are fleeting. Equity moves beyond a simple equality of opportunity, but takes steps to be affirmatively fair and to rectify historic injustices and remove systemic barriers.


Civic and political engagement within and between communities is key to inclusive governance.

Equity and inclusivity can only advance so far without the robust engagement from everyone involved. Salem should create opportunities for more people of varying backgrounds to become involved in formal political and informal community life, whether through get-out-the- vote campaigns for municipal elections, the provision of additional usable community spaces, or otherwise.


Diversity and inclusivity cannot be buzzwords, but must be enacted through legal, social, economic, and symbolic means.

Salem should continue to advance diversity and inclusivity through ordinances, referenda, and legal interpretations. It should also continue to foster social and economic diversity through policies and programs, many of which are discussed in later sections. Lastly, it should use monuments, public art, festivals, and other means to affirm the historic contributions and present cultures of its many communities.

Imagine Salem Guiding Principles