Statement on Race Equity from LMC President and Executive Director:

In every corner of Minnesota, the issue of race equity is becoming increasingly important for local officials.  We hear this from city leaders now more than ever. The need for greater racial equity and justice touches all communities, from the most racially diverse cities to those with very few or no people of color. We’ve seen firsthand how racial inequalities impact our cities in many distinct and different ways. Cities do not have many places to turn for help on this topic, and it’s important the League is seen as a valuable and reliable resource.

The data is clear: racial demographics are continually changing throughout the state. The State Demographer’s Office is a great source of real-time data on population demographics. How cities welcome and integrate all citizens, regardless of race, ethnicity, or color, will be a leading indicator of community success on many levels in the future.

More than five years ago, the League began its race equity work to provide our members with resources to create safer and more equitable cities for Minnesotans. While much good work has been done, the COVID-19 health pandemic and national reaction to the tragic killing of George Floyd have increased the level of inquiries resulting in the need for us to examine how we perform this work, including new or additional services and support for members.

The League is committed to sharing information and resources with our members about the benefits of addressing racial inequities, and to providing the tools needed to build a more equitable future when every resident can thrive regardless of race. In doing so, the League will support excellence in local government by partnering with cities to address the varied needs within their individual communities. Steps we are taking include:

  • Connecting with cities to discuss the topics of race and equity and seeking ideas on how the League should perform this work.
  • Providing resources and learning opportunities for cities.
  • Convening city and association officials to discuss and explore new partnerships with each other, with other levels of government, and with the business community to advance and promote race equity work.
  • Partnering with Wilder and Bush Foundations to compile demographic information for data-driven analysis by our members.
  • Leading by example within our organization through education, enlightenment, and sharing of information with our staff.

Issues of race and racism can be difficult topics for our city leaders. How to talk about race equity, where to start the conversation, who to involve, are only three questions — of many — our city leaders are facing. We believe that promoting and encouraging these conversations is an investment in your residents and the future of your communities. Leadership requires smart risk-taking and willingness to take on tough, difficult-to-discuss subjects like race equity and injustice. The League stands ready to assist and support our members along the way.

Brad Wiersum
President
League of Minnesota Cities

David Unmacht
Executive Director
League of Minnesota Cities