SARANAC LAKE — The Adirondack Diversity Initiative, a collaboration of groups focused on making the Adirondack Park more inclusive, finally has a director.
Nicole Hylton-Patterson, of the Bronx, is taking the helm starting Dec. 2 and will be based out of the Adirondack North Country Association’s Saranac Lake office, according to a news release.
Hylton-Patterson is the acting director of the Westchester County college’s social justice center. She said he is excited to take on the role.
A quarter-million dollars in funding was allocated in the 2019-20 state budget’s Environmental Protection Fund to help increase the diversity …
“As someone who understands the challenges facing spaces that are perceived as lacking aspects of human diversity, I look forward to working with the Adirondack communities and New York state,” Hylton-Patterson added in a news release. “The opportunity to expand our understanding of the region and the way we welcome and celebrate differences is one that requires a willingness to first make ourselves vulnerable. Yet, it is only when we see ourselves for who we are that we can ask the same of others. I’m looking forward to putting these principles into action in my new role in the Adirondacks.”
Kate Fish, executive director of the Adirondack North Country Association, said the initiative will work to make the Adirondacks more welcoming to everyone. The initiative was established in 2015, and is volunteer-run.
In May, the state designated $250,000 in its 2020 budget for the initiative through the Environmental Protection Fund. That spurred the hire of a director to start more outreach and programming.
Those affiliated with the initiative are:
• Adirondack Foundation
• Adirondack North Country Association
• Adirondack Park Institute Inc.
• Adirondack Research Consortium
• Common Ground Alliance
• Indian Lake Chamber of Commerce
• Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism
• SUNY ESF’s Northern Forest Institute
Support for the initiative has come from both sides of the political aisle, including local lawmakers state Sen. Betty Little, R-Queensbury, and Assemblyman Dan Stec, R-Queensbury.
Fish thinks that Hylton-Patterson is the leader to get things going.
“Nicky possesses the experience and passion for diversity and inclusion work that is critical to achieving the ADI’s goals,” Fish said in a news release. “We look forward to working with her as she brings fresh ideas and approaches to the Initiative’s work.”
Hylton-Patterson was born in Jamaica, but grew up in Norway. For two decades she has led diversity programs, including ones in Syracuse, Elmira and in the state of Arizona.