Race equity work in cities
Where inequities exist, it means that services, programs and policies have disparate impacts depending on race. For cities seeking to address racial inequities in their communities, there are several key actions to consider. They are listed below.
Key actions for cities to consider in addressing racial inequities
- Explore the demographic history, including the racial history, and current demographics of the community.
- Normalize the topic of race through hosting facilitated conversations among city staff, elected leaders, and in the community (e.g. book or film and discussion events).
- Identify local BIPOC partners/community groups to engage in conversation about their experiences in the community.
- Collect and analyze data on city services by race (e.g. geographic data on where park improvements have been made or where trees have been planted by the city).
- Organize training for staff and elected officials that focuses on developing shared terminology and concepts of race and race equity (e.g. implicit and explicit bias).
- Identify staff and elected officials for an internal equity team; consider who is passionate for and interested in the work. Include BIPOC employees and officials.
Resources to support the work
The League has compiled a variety of resources to support cities in their work of advancing racial equity. They can be used to help the work of getting comfortable talking about race and examining programs and policies with an equity lens. Cities have used the following materials as foundations for dialogue among city staff and in the community.
- Race: Power of an Illusion (PBS series looking at the history of racism in the U.S., questions of whether race is biology or a social construct, and housing policy) – for film and discussion groups.
- Zootopia – for film and discussion groups about diversity and inclusion.
- White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo – for employee book club discussions.
- A Good Time for the Truth (essays by Minnesotan authors who identify as people of color) – for discussion groups.
- Implicit Bias: Peanut Butter, Jelly and Racism (PBS video) – for employee and elected official training sessions.
These are just a few examples. For the complete list of materials, including books, films, podcasts and short video clips please contact Arianna Bloom at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Connect with city peers working to advance racial equity
LMC hosts several online forums in a system called Memberlink. Users are able to post questions, respond to discussion threads, upload documents and other resources. There is a community for race equity work. Memberlink requires a MyLMC account name and password. Once you have set up an account, contact Arianna Bloom at email@example.com to request being added to the forum on race equity.
Related LMC resources
- The League offers A Guide to Using Terms Related to Race and Ethnicity. It is available upon request to Arianna Bloom.
- Handling Media Inquiries About Race Equity Issues in Your City
- Sources of demographic data
- First Amendment Concepts for Protests in Cities
- Intercultural Development Inventory FAQs
- Anti-racism resources from the Minnesota Asian Pacific American Bar Association
- PATROL (Peace officer Accredited Training OnLine)
Other resources for support and learning
Government Alliance for Race and Equity (GARE). Supports local government officials through resources like toolkits etc., and robust discussion forums.
NLC Race Equity and Leadership (REAL). This initiative strengthens and supports city leaders to address racial inequities.
If your city is interested in learning more about race equity resources available from the League, contact Arianna Bloom at firstname.lastname@example.org.