The Sherwood Trust Leadership Class of 2020 Champions for Change plan to bolster important community conversations surrounding diversity, equity and inclusion through the project, “Inclusion: A Community Collaboration,” said team member Maria Garcia.

“As emerging leaders, we recognize that our community needs to discuss these principles and how they apply to us locally in order to have a region where all people can thrive,” Garcia said in a release.

Plans include participating in a workshop with the local library system staff. Garcia said the libraries are trusted gathering places and sources of information, making them a natural partner in the process.

“Recognizing it isn’t a one-and-done process, they will choose a book to read focused on diversity, equity and inclusion, engage in discussions with local library staff, then distribute the book to the community at no charge and create complementary programming,” Garcia said.

The 41-member Champions for Change is open to those high school age to early 60s.

Garcia said the experience in the group comes from those with backgrounds as students and from the fields of mental health, education and finance.

Champions for Change team members Cia Cortinas Rood, Alayna Brinton, Gavin Osegueda, Eiledon McClellan and Julia Leavitt were included in the U-B’s recent 39 Under 39 special feature about young leaders in the area.

Champions for Change has been meeting virtually during the pandemic quarantine. “We are hoping it will be safe for an in-person gathering before it’s all said and done,” Garcia said.

They were trained and are advised by Rural Development Initiatives, and two of the team, McClellan and Nadine Stecklein, co-facilitate their meetings.

Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at 509-526-8313 or

Annie joined the U-B news staff in 1979 and since 1990 has written Etcetera, a daily community column. She was promoted to a copy editing post in 2007. She edits copy, designs and lays out pages, including the weekly arts and entertainment guide Marquee,