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Taking a Stand for Racial Equity: GARE Member Statements
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GARE Member Statements

Last week we shared some of the statements that have been issued by Government Alliance on Race and Equity members after the election. GARE jurisdictions recognize that we have tremendous responsibilities to the people we represent and serve:

  • We believe in and stand for values of inclusion, equity, and justice. We condemn Islamophobia, racism, sexism, or xenophobia in rhetoric or action.
  • We welcome all people and recognize the rights of individuals to live their lives with dignity, free of discrimination and targeting because of their faith, race, national origin or immigration status.
  • We will continue our work in making our services and programs accessible and open to all individuals.
  • We believe in the public sector for the public good; advancing racial equity and inclusion is critical to the success of our communities and our nation.

There is much work to do in the years ahead. We work together with partners and residents to create safe, welcoming, equitable and inclusive communities for everyone.

Here are some more examples --

·         Boston – Mayor Marty Walsh issues statement on the election – “We will defend our friends, neighbors, and family members from any and all efforts to exclude them, harm them, or strip them of their rights. Boston is a city of inclusion, a city of compassion, a welcoming, diverse, global city. We’ll stay that way.

·         Iowa City – Mayor issues statement supporting a diverse and safe community – https://www.icgov.org/news/iowa-city-mayor-jim-throgmorton-issues-statement-supporting-diverse-and-safe-community, and Mayor Pro Tem makes a statement on behalf of the City Council to support a diverse and safe community – https://youtu.be/QeHW-hIarl4.

·         Portland – Portland Mayor-elect Ted Wheeler – “I want to be clear: There is no room in our city for sexism, racism, religious intolerance or xenophobia. Portland welcomes everyone. Portland is safe for everyone. I’m going to push our new President to build bridges, not walls; To appoint women to leadership, not degrade them; To see the wisdom, energy and love of country from ALL Americans; and to champion equality and justice because that is the great idea of America.” Read more in the Willamette Week here.

·         Saint Paul – Mayor Coleman Op-Ed -- Chris Coleman: What ‘sanctuary city’ means, and doesn’t mean, in St. Paul

Sharing our field of practice

Presented by Randy Engstrom, director Seattle Office of Arts & Culture at NY Community Trust, November 16, 2016

Today we are in the middle of an historic change moment in our country, our cities and our role in the field of the arts. Not since the 1950’s when highways connected and crisscrossed our land have we seen such a massive influx of population in our cities and immigration nationally and internationally. At a time when racial equity and social and environmental justice is being challenged at a national level we affirm our commitment to this work and stand in solidarity with our communities.

Seattle is a progressive utopia, but even here in a bastion of liberalism we have work to do to foster a creative community that benefits all people. Therefore, the Office of Arts & Culture (ARTS) collectively created a Racial Equity Statement, affirming our commitment to anti-racist work practice and a mechanism to hold us accountable in all the work we do.

  • Iowa City release its annual Racial Equity Report -- Iowa City’s Racial Equity Report provides data on the racial demographics of youth and adult interactions with law enforcement, City board and commission members, and City staff. The full report can be found at http://bit.ly/2fuF4R3. In June 2012, the City Council established the Diversity Committee, which was formulated to serve as an ad hoc council committee to review issues relating to diversity within the City organization. The committee reviewed the policies, practices and procedures within the Iowa City Police Department, Transportation Services Department and also the Community Police Review Board to provide a set of recommendations to the City Council on improvements that could be made on diversity-related matters. Publishing of an annual racial equity report was one of the recommendations.
  • Stefanie Bowers, Iowa City’s Equity Director, hopes that in the near future, the City will show improvements in its numbers based on some of its current initiatives, including the use of racial equity review tools, continuation in the disproportionate minority contact study with Saint Ambrose University and the social justice and racial equity strategic plan. Community input has been very beneficial in this process and the City will continue to fortify relationships with an emphasis on communities of color through outreach, education, conversation, and collaboration, Bowers said.

Brooklyn Park, MN -- The city of Brooklyn Park has been participating in GARE’s 2016 Advancing Racial Equity learning cohort throughout 2016. In addition, Brooklyn Park’s Code Enforcement & Public Health Division has been in a state of continuous improvement, analyzing policies and procedures and redefining how to enforce code violations since 2014.  Brooklyn Park began this journey with the intent of standardizing all inspectors when responding to complaints.  They learned that although city codes are designed to be uniform, their audience is not.  Every case is a little different and they needed to take a closer look at the barriers facing their customers.

  • Using a Racial Equity Tool, Brooklyn Park has further examined their code enforcement procedure, and have found another example of how a process can impact change. “If we truly want to live by our City’s mission statement; “Brooklyn Park, a thriving community inspiring pride where opportunities exist for all”, then identifying gaps in our processes that leave some of our customers on the outside looking in, should be a priority.   We have learned that a “one size fits all” system is not an effective approach.”
 

 

In The News!

Video: NRPA, cities explore why parks promote equity 
The National Recreation and Park Association and select cities are highlighting how the distribution of parks can affect equity. GARE partnered with NRPA to integrate racial equity into their Innovations Lab in Portland earlier this year. Check out the video.

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