WASHINGTON — May 1, 2017 — The National League of Cities (NLC) and Center for Social Inclusion (CSI) announced today a bold collaboration to support local government in adopting strategies to advance racial equity. Race, Equity and Leadership (REAL), an initiative of NLC’s, and the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE), a program of CSI, are providing training, tools and resources to use the leadership, leverage and power of government to advance racial equity in communities across the country.
The mission of REAL is to strengthen the knowledge and capacity of local elected officials to eliminate racial disparities, heal racial tensions and build more equitable communities. GARE is a national network of government working to achieve racial equity and advance opportunities for all.
“We’re excited to partner with Center for Social Inclusion to explore how the transformation of government can be a powerful strategy to achieve racial equity,” said Clarence Anthony, CEO and Executive Director of NLC. Leon Andrews, Director of NLC’s Race, Equity and Leadership Initiative added, “To achieve a truly inclusive democracy, elected officials and government staff must have the ability to address historical inequities.”
“This is a critical moment for innovative thinking that will advance systemic solutions for racial equity—and we couldn’t be more pleased to collaborate with the National League of Cities,” said Glenn Harris, President of CSI. CSI’s Vice President and GARE’s Director, Julie Nelson, added, “GARE and REAL focus on the public sector with the recognition that the transformation of government is essential for us to advance racial equity and is critical to our success as a nation.”
With REAL focusing on elected officials and GARE focusing on government appointed officials and employees, NLC and CSI will leverage their respective strengths and relationships while lifting up each other’s work nationally. As a result, REAL and GARE will significantly expand the number of cities working to advance racial equity. Building on the work of several successful national efforts like State Leagues, REAL and GARE will collaborate on building tools and resources that will create meaningful government action to advance racial equity.
League of Minnesota Cities Director David Unmacht shared, “At the beginning of 2016, the League of Minnesota Cities joined with GARE to co-sponsor a year-long Minnesota Advancing Racial Equity Learning Cohort. It was so well-received that in 2017, we launched a second cohort, as well as an implementation cohort. We have seen twenty-four teams from across the state normalize conversations about race, operationalize new racial equity tools, and organize to advance racial equity. Using GARE’s structured curriculum, we have found that careful analysis and well-designed changes to service delivery can make a difference. The League was so positive about co-sponsoring the project with GARE in 2016 that we are participating with our own team in 2017.”
Mayor Kate Stewart from the city of Takoma Park in Maryland reached out to REAL to explore how best to support local efforts to advance racial equity. Mayor Stewart shared, “This January the City Council held its yearly retreat and invited REAL to present and facilitate an open and honest dialogue about racial equity and the way in which we can proactively address issues of institutionalized racism and begin to dismantle existing racial disparities in our community. REAL was very effective in helping our Council make a commitment to include a Racial Equity Impact Statement on all of our Council agenda items. I am very excited about how we are progressing in such a short period of time and look forward to working with REAL to help us build on this momentum.”
About the National League of Cities and REAL:
The National League of Cities’ Race, Equity and Leadership is designed to strengthen the knowledge and capacity of local elected officials to eliminate racial disparities, heal racial tensions and build more equitable communities. http://www.nlc.org/build-skills-and-networks/resources/real
About GARE and CSI:
Founded in 2002, Center for Social Inclusion catalyzes community, government, and other institutions to dismantle structural racial inequity and create equitable outcomes for all. CSI’s core program, the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE), is a national network of government working to achieve racial equity and advance opportunities for all. CSI: http://www.centerforsocialinclusion.org; GARE: http://racialequityalliance.org