Race Equity

Race equity: Does it matter to my city?


Successful city governments have the ability to ensure equitable service delivery outcomes for all city employees and city residents, regardless of age, gender, religion, country of origin, or race.

Most recently in the U.S., highly publicized incidents involving law enforcement personnel and African-American residents have contributed to a growing national conversation about racial inequities and implicit biases. But less visible municipal services that nearly all cities provide, like human resources, parks, public works, and code enforcement, also present opportunities for serious discussion and action.

Race equity is not and should not be a politically partisan issue. Pursuing racial equity can help all cities and all their residents thrive socially and economically.

Should your city be concerned with race equity?

If you answer “yes” to one or more of the questions below, contact the League of Minnesota Cities to learn more about race equity resources.

  • Does the racial and ethnic makeup of your city workforce reflect the general demographics of your city?
  • Has the racial composition of your city’s population changed over the past five to 10 years?
  • Do you anticipate changes in racial composition of your city in the next five to 10 years?
  • Does your city have a seasonal migrant worker population?
  • Is your city looking to grow by doing such things as adding young families and recruiting talent to your workforce?
  • Do any people of color live, work, travel through, go to school, or use recreational facilities in your city?

What is the League doing?

In partnership with the Government Alliance for Race and Equity (GARE)—a national program—the League of Minnesota Cities has taken the lead in our state in facilitating conversations among member cities and making GARE training available. GARE and LMC’s approach focuses on helping local governments build capacity to analyze and address policies, practices, and procedures in a way that improves outcomes for people of color. Minnesota is increasingly seen as a leader in this work of engaging cities to pursue racial equity.

Teams or cohorts from local governments participate in a year-long training program with the goal of developing a race equity action plan to implement in the following year. The League and GARE partnered to launch the first cohort of cities in 2016.

Due to the strong interest, the partnership grew to include a 2017 introductory cohort as well as an advanced cohort for 2016 teams working on implementing their race equity action plans. Introductory and implementation cohorts were formed for 2018 as well.

Since 2016, approximately 30 cities in Minnesota have participated in formal GARE cohorts involving planning or implementation stages.

LMC-specific work plan

On a parallel track, the LMC Board of Directors adopted a staff-developed work plan to begin evaluating race equity within the League. The League itself has a race equity team. The work plan includes continued development of resources that will be relevant and available to all member cities—regardless of size, location, or demographic composition—that may not have sufficient resources to participate in direct GARE training.

Where to go for help

If your city is interested in learning more about GARE in Minnesota, race equity resources available from the League, or forming a 2019 cohort, contact the League’s race equity project directors: