The National League of Cities (NLC) has launched the REAL (Race, Equity And Leadership) initiative. ELGL is excited about NLC’s commitment in addressing the existing inequalities in our workforce and communities.
We followed up with Leon Andrews, director of the REAL initiative, to offer our support and our willingness to be a resource for their work. We came away from our conversation pleased that the NLC commitment is real and intrigued by the possibilities for ELGL to get involved. We’ll share more about the potential opportunities in the coming weeks. For now, ELGL wants to introduce you to NLC’s REAL initiative and encourage you to reach out to Leon – [email protected] – to share your thoughts on the initiative.
The following article is republished from the NLC website:
National League of Cities President and Salt Lake City, Utah, Mayor Ralph Becker today announced the launch of a new NLC program, the REAL (Race, Equity And Leadership) initiative. The announcement was made at the first REAL Talk Town Hall meeting at the Congressional Cities Conference in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, March 10th. FOX News Commentator Juan Williams moderated a provocative discussion with Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, Gary, Ind., Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, NLC Second Vice President and Cleveland, Ohio, Councilmember Matt Zone, and President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing Member Dr. Cedric Alexander.
More than 400 city leaders attended the riveting discussion on race and justice in our communities and the challenge and opportunity to build trusting relationships between the community and police. Panel members began by sharing stories about the challenges they face regarding racial inequities in education, criminal justice and housing systems, and highlighted actions they are taking to implement programs and partnerships that include youth employment programs and citizen ambassadors programs.
The second panel was moderated by NLC Executive Director Clarence Anthony, and featured leaders from NLC constituency groups – Fremont, Calif., Vice Mayor Suzanne Chan, Asian Pacific American Municipal Officials (APAMO) President and San Marcos, Texas, Mayor Daniel Guerrero, Hispanic Elected Local Officials (HELO) Board Member and Wilmington, Del., Councilmember Dr. Hanifa Shabazz, and National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials (NBC-LEO) Vice-President and District Heights, Md., Mayor James Walls. The panel also included Julie Nelson, the director for the Local and Regional Government Alliance for Race and Equity. Panel members provided helpful insights on understanding race and equity issues in diverse communities, and expressed the need to take careful steps to normalize the conversation about race in communities with a common understanding and language before organizing to advance racial equity.
Finally, Executive Director Anthony introduced REAL Director Leon T. Andrews, Jr., and encouraged city leaders to stay engaged and join the REAL network to get next steps, share experiences and learn more about what others are doing to combat racial inequity in communities across the nation.
About the Author: Leon Andrews is Senior Fellow at NLC’s Institute for Youth, Education & Families. For more information on the REAL initiative, please contact Leon at [email protected].