New Initiative Focused on Race, Equity and City Leadership Launches with ‘REAL’ Talk Town Hall

Press Release
Press Release

WASHINGTON - Following the 50th anniversary of the civil rights march in Selma, Ala., the National League of Cities (NLC) today announced the "Race, Equity and Leadership" (REAL) initiative to facilitate an honest discussion around race and equity and provide tools that strengthen the capacity of city leaders to drive structural inclusion for all groups. To launch the initiative, NLC will hold a town hall event with city officials and community leaders from across the country Tuesday, March 10 at NLC's Congressional City Conference in Washington.

The REAL initiative provides NLC with an opportunity to align the organization's unique strengths as a resource and convener of city officials to support their efforts to build communities where racial and ethnic diversity are seen as social and economic assets. REAL builds on a number of programs devoted to equity and inclusion that NLC leads or supports, including City Leadership to Promote Black Male Achievement, Cities United and My Brother's Keeper Community Challenge.

"In just the past year, we witnessed several events in cities across our country that call upon each of us, as Americans, to examine more critically issues of race and equity and how it impacts so many facets of our society," said NLC President Ralph Becker, mayor, Salt Lake City, Utah. "These events create an opportunity to examine critical issues of implicit and explicit bias and how it shows up in our individual lives, communities, policies, systems and structures. Local elected officials have been called on, in ways we have not seen in recent times, to show leadership on these issues."

The town hall event will be moderated by FOX News political analyst Juan Williams and will feature a panel discussion with:

  • Vice Mayor Suzanne Chan, Freemont, Calif. 
  • Mayor Michael Nutter, Philadelphia, Penn.
  • Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, Gary, Ind.
  • Councilmember Matt Zone, Cleveland, Ohio (NLC 2nd vice president)
  • Julie Nelson, director, Local and Regional Government Alliance for Race and Equity

The hashtag for REAL is #REALcities.

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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