Thank you for your leadership during these challenging and uncertain times. Many of you have been at the forefront of your community’s response to the coronavirus pandemic for the past few months. In the midst of this public health pandemic, many of our cities were reminded of the deep inequities that exist in our democracy. This structural and institutional racism was further amplified by the death of George Floyd at the hands of law enforcement.
As leaders of NLC’s constituency groups, we are writing to echo and amplify the message of NLC’s CEO Clarence Anthony, who wrote “I challenge you to use the power of the pulpit to heal your community and chart a path forward that prioritizes equity and humanity. I challenge you to look to your colleagues in other cities for support and unity. I challenge you to educate yourself on the history of race in your own community and state, because it affects more than the African American communities, it affects all communities of color. And I challenge you to advance policies and programs that will make a difference in the lives of every person of color that rely on you to lead”.
That’s why we are reaching out to encourage you to join us in taking action in your community that demonstrates support for racial equity and anti-racism. Here are three steps we urge you to take:
- Review NLC’s Advancing Racial Equity Municipal Action Guide: We urge you to utilize NLC’s resources through its Race, Equity and Leadership (REAL) department; reflect on your community’s relationship with law enforcement; and commit to building relationships with community organizers. As we look at the uprisings engulfing our country, we encourage each of you to learn about the root causes of many of the challenges facing Black and Brown communities in housing, employment, and social services.
- REAL COVID-19 Equity Resolution: We encourage local leaders to introduce and adopt an equity resolution that publicly affirms the municipalities’ commitment to equity, justice, and fairness in its response to the Coronavirus.
- Share: We ask you to share any news, resolutions, or other actions taken by your city in support of racial equity.
Our constituency groups serve to uplift our communities’ voices and perspectives within NLC and our communities. As leaders of the constituency groups, we recognize that many of our members’ experiences and backgrounds intersect around race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
This letter acknowledges our shared humanity and ways that as individuals and as local leaders we can challenge historical inequities in our communities. As leaders, we understand that serving and protecting our citizens is essential. But also, as leaders, we do not condone the misuse of our authority to inflict harm or pain to our constituents.
The change starts with us.
Tom Green, Acting Mayor from Wilton Manors, FL and President of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Local Officials (LGBTLO)
Lindsey Horvath, Mayor from West Hollywood, CA and President of the Women in Municipal Government (WIMG)
Carlie Jones, Councilmember from Forest Hill, TX and President of the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials (NBC-LEO)
David Luna, Councilmember from Mesa, AZ and President of the Hispanic Elected Local Officials (HELO)
Lily Mei, Mayor from Fremont, CA and President of the Asian Pacific American Municipal Officials (APAMO)