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Municipal leaders gain tools to advance racial equity through policy at REAL workshop

From left: Metropolitan Mayors Caucus Director of Housing Initiatives Kyle Smith, NLC REAL Director Leon T. Andrews, NLC REAL Program Director Rita Soler Ossolinski and SSMMA Executive Director Kristi DeLaurentiis

Nearly 100 city, town and village leaders from around Greater Metropolitan Chicago participated in the second Race, Equity and Leadership (REAL) workshop, 201 REAL Action. It was facilitated by experts from the Washington D.C.-based National League of Cities (NLC). The daylong event was held April 24 at the Hazel Crest Municipal Center and hosted by the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association, Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, National League of Cities, Metropolitan Planning Council, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning.

SSMMA President Vernard Alsberry, Jr. and NLC REAL Immediate Past Co-Chair/Park Forest Mayor John Ostenburg joined other elected officials for a workshop that focussed on how communities can work together to reduce or eliminate racial inequities. NLC REAL Director Leon T. Andrews, with support from NLC Program Director Rita Soler Ossolinski facilitated the jam-packed workshop, tackling unfair policies, practices and procedures to advance racial equity.

101 REAL Fundamentals – Understanding Racial Equity in Local Government, the first of the two-part training held on March 14, acquainted elected officials and municipal staff with ways that local policy and procedures can contribute to racial inequity and provided tools to change them. This workshop, 201 REAL Action – Advancing Racial Equity In Local Government through Policy, provided participants with the process of using a Racial Equity Tool to reform policy and procedures for better outcomes.

The National League of Cities’ Race, Equity, And Leadership (REAL) initiative serves to strengthen local leaders’ knowledge and capacity to eliminate racial disparities, heal racial divisions, and build more equitable communities. Advancing racial equity in local government increases the prosperity, health, and safety of the entire community.

This event was made possible by grants from the Field Foundation and Chicago Community Trust and sponsorship from ComEd.

More photos are here.

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