Race Equity

Published: February 15, 2020

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.

In the U.S. a growing national conversation about racial inequities and implicit biases is taking place. Municipal services that nearly all cities provide, like human resources, parks, public works, and code enforcement, 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 talking about 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?

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

Teams or cohorts from local governments participated in year-long training programs 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, followed by additional cohorts in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

In 2019, the League worked with GARE to support a cohort specific for smaller cities and cities in Greater Minnesota.

Since 2016, approximately 35 cities in Minnesota have participated in formal GARE cohorts involving planning or implementation stages.

LMC-specific work plan

In November 2019, the LMC Board of Directors adopted a new strategic plan for race equity. The goals of that plan are to:

  • Clarify, define, and prioritize race equity work; reassess current efforts; and provide future direction.
  • Ensure LMC provides race equity member services within resource and capacity restraints of cities and staff.
  • Partner with one or more expert vendors.

Where to go for help

If your city is interested in learning more about race equity resources available from the League, contact Rachel Walker, LMC Policy Analysis Manager, at (651) 281-1236 or rwalker@lmc.org.