Washington, D.C. – National League of Cities (NLC) today recognized eight cities for implementing programs that enhance and promote cultural diversity in their communities at the “Celebrate Diversity Breakfast” during NLC’s Congressional City Conference in Washington. The NBC-LEO 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 2014 are: Seattle, Wash.; Phoenix, Ariz.; Fremont, Calif.; Winston Salem, N.C.; Renton, Wash.; Avondale, Ariz.; Duarte, Calif.; and Carrboro, N.C
The City Cultural Diversity Awards Program was established in 1995 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 NLC’s constituency groups and the corporate sector from a pool of applicants and are grouped according to population.
In addition to NBC-LEO, the annual Celebrate Diversity Breakfast is co-sponsored by four other National League of Cities’ (NLC) constituency groups: the Asian Pacific American Municipal Officials (APAMO); the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Local Officials (GLBTLO); the Hispanic Elected Local Officials (HELO); and Women in Municipal Government (WIMG).
Each city was recognized at the Celebrate Diversity Breakfast. Donna Brazile, political commentator, strategist and author, addressed attendees at the breakfast about the importance of diversity in politics and national campaigns.
Award-winning city programs
In the population category over 400,001:
- Winner: Public Outreach and Engagement Liaisons (POEL) is an initiative of the City of Seattle, Wash. committed to ending institutional racism and creating a city enriched by its diverse cultures through civic participation by all community members. The Department of Neighborhoods’ Public Outreach and Engagement Liaison (POEL) program is designed to increase access to information, resources and civic processes with historically underrepresented communities through the implementation of racially- and culturally-inclusive outreach and public engagement processes. For more information, contact Cherry Cayabyab, strategic advisor, 206-733-9982 or email@example.com.
- Runner-Up: Phoenix, Ariz.’s “Phoenix Against Domestic Violence – A Roadmap to Excellence” is a five-year strategic plan to end domestic violence. Thirty-five community, private and nonprofit organizations collaborated to create the plan which includes a community and media campaign focusing on five strategies: community awareness, coordinated service delivery, systems reform, “Phoenix as a Model” and community partnerships. For more information, contact Deanna Jonovich, acting executive assistant to the city manager, 602-495-0127 or Deanna.firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the population category 100,001 – 400,000:
- Winner: The “Community Ambassador Program for Seniors” in Fremont, Calif. trains volunteer “ambassadors” to serve seniors in their own communities, in their own language and within their own cultural norms, and does so where seniors live, worship and socialize. More than 150 volunteers from 12 ethnic, fair and community organizations representative of the Tri-City area (Freemont, Newark and Union City, Calif.) serve as a bridge between the formal network of social services and their respective communities, ensuring that older adults have access to vital services and programs. For more information, contact Asha Chandra, program manager, 510-574-2055 or email@example.com.
- Runner-Up: Winston Salem, N.C.’s “Cultural Inclusion Program” is a city-wide initiative to continuously support, include and encourage international, multicultural citizens and residents to participate in city-sponsored outreach programs and to build trust and provide information regarding city services. A project of the Human Relations Department of the Winston Salem city government, the initiative exemplifies the city’s values and appreciates the significance of a strong international community and the importance of developing an environment that is educationally inclusive. For more information, contact Wanda Allen-Abraha, human relations director, 336-734-1226 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the population category 25,001 – 100,000:
- Winner: “Embracing Our Diversity” is a program in Renton, Wash. that creates a network of community leaders representing various ethnic, cultural and diverse groups. The city has integrated the importance of diversity into all its programs and services and is committed to being an inclusive city with opportunities for all and building connections with all communities, especially limited or non-English speaking residents and ethnic groups. For more information, contact Preeti Shridhar, deputy public affairs administrator, 425-430-6569 or email@example.com.
- Runner-up: The City of Avondale, Ariz. hosts a joint parade with the City of Goodyear, Ariz., which concludes with a “Naturalization Ceremony” and celebration festival. This year’s theme, “An International Celebration,” promotes a variety of diverse cultures represented through people, arts, crafts, music, traditions, cuisine and more. For more information, contact Pier Simeri, community relations and public affairs director, 623-333-8633 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the population category less than 25,000
- Winner: The “Community Mediation Team” in Duarte, Calif. is a partnership made up of diverse leaders and stakeholders in Duarte, Monrovia and Los Angeles County, Calif. who collectively identify, assess and strategically address the needs of individuals and families that are at-risk. Over the course of 10 years, the Community Mediation Team has successfully curbed gang violence by creating an effective community communication system and by serving as a trusted facilitator to connect at-risk individuals and families with the necessary resources. For more information, contact Karen Herrera, deputy city manager, 626-357-7931 or email@example.com.
- Runner-up: The Town of Carrboro, N.C. holds an annual “Community Dinner” to celebrate the community’s rich cultural diversity through food and entertainment. The dinner is an event with more than 650 attendees that crosses economic, racial, religious and ethnic barriers while presenting a wealth of wonderful, culturally-diverse food and entertainment from within the community. For more information, contact Catherine Wilson, town clerk, 919-918-7309 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 2014 chair of the City Cultural Diversity Awards Program Committee is NBC-LEO President-Elect James Walls, mayor, District Heights, Maryland.
The judges this year are represented from NLC’s five constituency groups – National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials (NBC-LEO); Women in Municipal Government (WIMG); Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Local Officials (GLBTLO); Asian Pacific American Municipal Officials (APAMO); and Hispanic Elected Local Officials (HELO). The judges are:
- Audwin Samuel, Councilmember, Beaumont, Texas (NBC-LEO);
- Mary Dorothy “Dot” LaMarche, Vice-Mayor, Farragut, Tennessee (WIMG);
- Greg Pettis, Councilmember, Cathedral City, California (GLBTLO);
- APAMO Past President Gilbert Wong, Mayor, Cupertino, California; and
- HELO Immediate Past President Karen Avilla, City Treasurer, Carson, California.
For more information on the City Cultural Diversity Awards, visit NBC-LEO’s website at www.nlc.org/nbcleo.
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.