• SSMMA

One small city’s big steps to undo systemic racism

Image courtesy of the National League of Cities


Park Forest began its explicit work to advance racial equity in 2016 when Park Forest Mayor John Ostenburg gathered a group that included elected officials, all senior administrators, and chairs and vice- chairs of volunteer commissions and presented a brief training to them, based on what he had learned from a National League of Cities’ Race, Equity And Leadership (REAL) council session he had attended earlier in the year. Struck by what he perceived as many similarities between Ferguson, Missouri and Park Forest, and concerned that the good intentions of Park Forest staff and residents might not be enough to avoid furthering systemic racism, Mayor Ostenburg designed the training to convey to staff and community leaders the ways in which they might be unintentionally perpetuating systemic racism without knowing it, and what they could start doing to address it…Please click here to read Aliza R. Wasserman’s story in CitiesSpeak.

Note: SSMMA is cohosting a two-part series of REAL municipal workshops. Click here for details.

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