National League of Cities Honors Six City Programs That Promote Cultural Diversity

Press Release
Press Release

WASHINGTON—The National League of Cities (NLC) today recognized seven cities for implementing programs that enhance and promote cultural diversity in their communities. Presented at the "Celebrate Diversity Breakfast" at the 2016 Congressional City Conference in Washington, the City Cultural Diversity Awards recognize municipal programs that encourage citizen involvement and honor cities that develop creative and effective programs designed to improve and promote cultural diversity through a collaborative process with city officials, community leaders and residents.

Cities honored for 2016 are: San Antonio, Texas; Austin, Texas; Grand Prairie, Texas; Wichita, Kan.; Dubuque, Iowa; and Avondale, Ariz.

The City Cultural Diversity Awards Program was established in 1995 by the National Black Caucus of Local Elected officials (NBC-LEO) to promote cultural diversity in community governance through citizen and community participation. Winning cities are selected by guest judges representative of NLC's constituency groups and are grouped according to population.

The annual awards are presented at the Celebrate Diversity Breakfast, which is co-sponsored by the five constituency groups: Asian Pacific American Municipal Officials (APAMO); Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Local Officials (LGBTLO); Hispanic Elected Local Officials (HELO); the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials (NBC-LEO) and Women in Municipal Government (WIMG). Henry Cisneros, former U.S. Housing and Urban Development secretary and former mayor of San Antonio, addressed the attendees.

Award-winning City Programs

Over 400,001 population category

First Place: Annual Diversity and Inclusion Stakeholder's Summit, San Antonio, Texas
The annual Diversity and Inclusion Stakeholder's Summit exemplifies the power of inclusion. Stakeholders represented the public, private and non-profit sectors, including Toyota, USAA, The City of San Antonio's Economic Development Department, the San Antonio Water System, Alamo Colleges, Goodwill, the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, the Human Rights Campaign and others. The city's mayor and city manager, in collaboration with the city's Diversity and Inclusion Office, created an innovative and collaborative agenda for the summit.

Second Place: Quality of Life Initiatives, Austin, Texas
One of the goals of Austin's African American Resource Advisory Commission was to bring to the City Council improvements within six designated areas: 1) Arts, Culture and Entertainment; 2) Business & Economic Development; 3) Employment and Education; 4) Health; 5) Neighborhood Sustainability; and 6) Police & Safety. This became known as the African American Quality of Life Initiative, with elected officials acknowledging the need to reduce the disparities that African Americans faced. The Quality of Life Initiative continued with the Hispanic/Latino Quality of Life Initiative in 2008, and the Asian American Quality of Life Initiative in 2015.

100,001-400,000 population category

First Place: Mayor's Community Table, Grand Prairie, Texas
The Mayor's Community Table is a series of lunches and dinners hosted by Mayor Ron Jenson and designed to celebrate diversity. The goal is to bring together residents of diverse ages, economic status, backgrounds, ethnicities and races for a meal with the idea to be more diversity-conscious and prepare the city for a prosperous future. The Mayor's Community Table has proven popular; 150 people attended a luncheon in May of 2015, while 230 attended a dinner the following October.

Second Place: Wichita Police Department Organizational Assessment, Wichita, Kansas
The Wichita Police Department conducted a comprehensive organizational assessment to improve operations and community relations at a time when law enforcement is experiencing public scrutiny. The assessment engaged a third party to ensure objectivity and included diverse groups within the community. Key among the topics discussed and acted upon were community policing and race, body cameras, citizens with mental illness and racial profiling training policy.

25,001 - 100,000 population category

First Place: Inclusive Dubuque, Dubuque, Iowa
Inclusive Dubuque is a local network of more than 50 organizations and individuals from faith, labor, education, business, non-profit and government dedicated to advancing equity and inclusion in Dubuque. The network, which was officially launched in October 2013, meets for peer learning monthly, identifies and supports opportunities for action, and hosted a series of community dialogue sessions and surveys in 2015 that culminated in the release of a community equity profile.

Second Place: Goodyear Farms Historic Cemetery, Avondale, Arizona
Goodyear Farms Historic Cemetery honors the legacy of Hispanic migrant farm workers whose stories and significant contributions have influenced the area's identity. Members of the community come together twice a year to clean and beautify the cemetery, and cultural events, such as Dios de los Muertos, are regularly celebrated there.

The jurors of the 2016 City Cultural Diversity Awards Program are:

  • APAMO Representative: Doris McConnell, councilmember, Shoreline, Washington, and APAMO Immediate Past President
  • HELO Representative: Gabe Santos, councilmember, Longmont, Colorado, and HELO Second Vice-President
  • LGBTLO Representative: Gregory Pettis, mayor pro tem, Cathedral City, California, and LGBTLO At-Large Member
  • NBC-LEO Representative: Desley A. Brooks, councilmember, Oakland, California, and NBC-LEO At-Large Director
  • WIMG Representative: Dejerilyn King Henderson, councilmember, Troy, Alabama, and WIMG Communications Officer

For more information on the City Cultural Diversity Awards, visit http://www.nlc.org/build-skills-and-networks/networks/constituency-groups/city-cultural-diversity-awards.

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The National League of Cities (NLC) is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans.

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