NLC and NBC-LEO Honor Seven City Programs That Promote Cultural Diversity

Collaboration Evergreen
Collaboration Evergreen

Washington, D.C. – National League of Cities (NLC) today recognized seven 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 National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials (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 2015 are: Bellevue, Wash.; Gainesville, Fla.; Cupertino, Calif.; Beaverton, Ore.; Petersburg, Va.; District Heights, Md.; Town of Pembroke Park, Fla. 

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 representative of NLC’s five constituency groups and 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. Michelle Bernard, Political Analyst, MSNBC and Founder, The Bernard Center for Women, Politics, and Public Policy addressed the attendees on diversity and women in politics.

Award-winning city programs: 

In the population category 100,001 – 400,000: 

Winner: The “2013 Youth Diversity Summit” in Gainesville, Fla. addresses racial incidents occurring at area schools between youths of different races.  This workshop/game show format was instrumental in assisting youth in recognizing the benefits of their differences as opposed to the potential negative aspects of their differences.

Project contact: Candasy Tolbert Young, Office Coordinator, tolbertc@cityofgainesville.org or 352-393-8727 or www.gainesvilleequalopportunity.org.  

 

Runner-Up: The Bellevue Diversity Initiative: The Bellevue Advantage” in Bellevue, Wash. supports and champions diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion throughout the city.

Project contact: Camron Parker, Senior Planner, cparker@bellevuewa.gov or 425-452-2032.

In the population category 25,001 – 100,000: 

Winner (tie): The “Cultural Inclusion Program (CIP)” from Beaverton, Ore. exists as a bridge between city government and historically underrepresented and underserved communities of color to promote racial equity. The program seeks to address racial disparities by building strategic partnerships to support greater engagement of these communities in city policy, leadership, and initiatives.

Project contact: Alexis Ball, Equity Outreach Coordinator, aball@beavertonoregon.gov or 503-526-2503.

Winner (tie): The City of Cupertino, Calif. creates a civic engagement program in 2002 that helps residents improve communication, increase public safety, and bridge cultural communication at the neighborhood level. The “Cupertino Block Leader Program” enables residents to become acquainted, address common neighborhood issues, access city services more comfortably, and receive pertinent and timely information from the City.

Project contact: Laura Domondon Lee, Community Relations Coordinator, laural@cupertino.org or 408-777-3331.

Runner-up: The City of Petersburg, Virginia was home to a three-day International Film Festival, October 15, 16 and 17, which featured a diverse array of films, panel discussions with prominent  actors, workshops, musical events, food, product and equipment presentations at a variety of venues throughout the city and at New Millennium Studios.  Screenings included a complement of 30 short and feature length films from a select group of directors and producers from over 10 countries to serve as a vehicle for opening dialogue on issues and ideas that build community, cultural awareness and appreciation.

Project contact: Brian C. Little, Sr. Director blittle@petersburg-va.org or 804-733-2430 www.legacymediainstitute.org

In the population category less than 25,000: 

Winner: The District Heights, Md. Family & Youth Services Bureau’s “Life Matters Program,” is a series of workshops and activities meant to introduce community members to activities that enhance equal opportunity and provide greater access from economics to mental/behavioral health care. The five workshops: Money Matters, College Matters, Career Matters, and Kindness Matters, four college tours and Community Art Mural are designed to spread the philosophy that with information people prosper.

Project contact: Dr. Beverly R. Sargent, Executive Director of the District Heights Family & Youth Services Bureau 301-336-7600 or ysb@districtheights.org.

Runner-up: The “Picnique Musique” program from the Town of Pembroke Park, Fla. celebrates American culture and French-Canadian culture. Their permanent population lives in affordable housing and primarily are various ethnic minorities.

Project contact: Tom Wilde, Assistant Town Manager, twilde@townofpemborkepark.com or 954-966-4600.

The 2015 chair of the City Cultural Diversity Awards Program Committee is NBC-LEO President-Elect Priscilla Tyson, Councilwoman, Columbus, Ohio. 

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)
  • Sharon Fields, councilmember, East Orange, N.J. (WIMG & NBC-LEO)
  • Greg Pettis, councilmember, Cathedral City, Calif. (GLBTLO)
  • Suzanne Chan, vice mayor, Fremont, Calif. (APAMO)
  • Joel Navarro, councilmember, Tempe, Ariz. (HELO)

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.

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