Local government’s proactive work on racial equity can leverage significant change, according to the Government Alliance on Race and Equity, a national network of government agencies working to achieve race equity and advance opportunities for everyone.
Throughout the year, local cities, counties and other governmental agencies will participate in a cohort of governmental agencies looking to advance racial equity.
The cohort is a partnership between the alliance and League of Minnesota Cities.
“Equality and justice are fundamental values for us in the United States,” said Julie Nelson, director of the alliance. “Currently, racial inequities exist across all indicators for success, including in Minnesota. To achieve our aspired values, we need to take our values and put them into action. We are organizing in government with the belief that the transformation of government is essential for us to advance racial equity and is critical to our success as a nation.”
The local governmental agencies have commited to participating in the year-long effort. These agencies meet monthly for skill building and strategy development, a speaker series connecting community members to the process or peer-to-peer networking and problem solving.
“We’re focused on really trying to delve into the questions of why or how did traditional governmental decisions impact communities of color,” said Kevin Frazell, director of member services for League of Minnesota Cities. “Once we figure that out, we focus on changing strategies for what we can do about it.”
This year’s participating agencies include Golden Valley, Bloomington, St. Louis Park, Edina, Northfield, Shoreview, St. Anthony Village, White Bear Lake, Woodbury, Dakota County, the Fourth Judicial District, Hennepin County Public Library system, League of Minnesota Cities, Metropolitan Council, Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board and Three Rivers Parks District.
The agencies that participated in last year’s cohort will go through an advanced implementation series, which provides technical support on implementing previously identified strategies and peer-to-peer networking.
Each agency identifies a team lead and a group of five employees minimum.
The speaker series is open to the public.
At the completion of the cohort in December, the participating agencies will have a race equity action plan.
“The outcome is not making people feel ashamed or guilty but making them feel empowered and proactive,” Frazell said.
Actions can include making park facilities and programming more accessible for everyone, providing transportation to avoid people being geographically isolated, responding to requests for services, tackling the federal housing policy and making sure boards and commissions are reflective of their communities.
“Participants will normalize conversations about race, operationalize new policies and practices, and organize to achieve racial equity,” Nelson said. “Participants will strengthen relationships across jurisdictions and with community to achieve a truly inclusive democracy.”
Contact Gina Purcell at [email protected]
If you go:
2017 Minnesota Cohort Speaker Series
• 3-5 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22, at Minneapolis Central Library’s Pohlad Hall, 300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis – “Expanding Knowledge and Organizing for Actions.” Space is limited.
• 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, May 24 – “Organizing for Power – Inside and Outside Strategies”
• 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 23 – “Moving Elected Leadership to Advance Racial Equity”
• 5:30-8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 6 – “Celebrating Our Success, Facing New Challenges”
Locations are yet to be determined.
Info: racialequityalliance.org, contact Julie Nelson at 206-816-5104 or [email protected], contact Kevin Frazell at 651-281-1215 or [email protected]