Members of the communications subcommittee for Sandy Springs’ Diversity and Inclusion Task Force discussed how to better get the city’s message and information out to its residents, suggesting digital kiosks and asking partner organizations to help spread the message.

“We want people to know what’s coming so that they can feel not just they’re informed, but they are consulted,” said Rabbi Joshua Heller, chair of the communications subcommittee.

Placing a digtal kiosk on city property to share information is less problematic than on private property, the city’s communications manager said. (John Ruch)

Task force member Olivia Rocamora submitted a list of potential partners in the LatinX community to help with communications, including religious organizations, community nonprofits and service organizations.

“The idea would be to now figure out how these organizations can partner with us on communication,” Heller said.

They need to determine what role can the organizations have, he said, such as if churches and nonprofits are places to post notices or if using their communications channels help.

The only organization that task force member Nicole Morris said she could identify in the Sandy Springs-Dunwoody area as primarily serving the African American community was Healthy Youth USA, which offers after school programs and camps for primarily K-6 children.

There might be people who work in Sandy Springs, but can’t afford to live in the city, Heller said. Working with corporate affinity groups can be helpful, but the task force needs to be mindful of the purpose, he said.

Heller said there are issues of race and class that overlap but are not identical.

For example, the needs of a Sandy Springs resident who is in an executive level position fall on one list, while a person living near the poverty line might have a very different list of needs and communication issues, Heller said.

“I don’t want to fall into the trap that we sometimes do of conflating class and race, because I think that’s a tactical blunder on several levels,” he said.

The city can encourage papers of record to distribute more broadly and ask apartment complexes to accept them. Making sure the communications are available digitally may be more fruitful, he said.

There must be notice to the apartment leasing company or manager to let them know they’re trying to reach people and not just create a trash burden for them, Morris said. If the residents don’t know the papers are meant for them, it won’t be an effective solution.

An idea to install digital kiosks in places in the community, such as grocery stores, drug stores, bus shelters and MARTA stations, could be more difficult than task force members considered. Jason Fornicola, Sandy Springs’ communications manager, said installing kiosks on private property creates issues. Who would be responsible for their maintenance? What are the considerations of having it on private property?

“It’s so different than having a kiosk like the digital signage that’s outside of the steps in front of City Hall, leading to the parking down to the parking deck,” he said.

The task force could recommend digital advertising in places such as MARTA buses and gas station pumps. But staff would be best at determining what methods work best, task force member Raquel Gonzalez said.

The committee will report its progress to the full task force at its meeting Oct. 12 at 6 p.m.

Bob Pepalis

Bob Pepalis covers Sandy Springs for Reporter Newspapers.