Ten Cities Honored for Outstanding Diversity Programs

By Wilson, Mary | Nation's Cities Weekly, March 24, 2003 | Go to article overview

Ten Cities Honored for Outstanding Diversity Programs


Wilson, Mary, Nation's Cities Weekly


The National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials (NBC-LEO) honored diversity in America's cities with the presentation of the eighth Annual City Cultural Diversity Awards to 10 cities, Sunday, March 9, during the annual "Celebrate Diversity" Breakfast at the National League of Cities (NLC) Congressional City Conference in Washington, D.C.

Top awards, given by population category, were presented to Enterprise, Ala., (population less than 25,000); Lynwood, Calif. (25,001-100,000); Stockton, Calif. (100,001-400,000); and Phoenix, Ariz. (over 400,000). Cities chosen as runners-up were: Bellwood, Ill. and Ozark, Ala. (population less than 25,000); Federal Way, Wash. (25,001-100,000); Chandler, Ariz. and Oakland, Calif. (100,000-400,000); and Cleveland, Ohio (Over 400,001).

NBC-LEO President E.W. Cromartie, If, mayor pro tem of Columbia, S.C., and Marian B. Tasco, councilwoman and majority whip of Philadelphia, Pa., who chaired this year's awards competition, presented the awards.

"American cities reflect a melting pot of diversity; they're the soul of this great Nation. Each year the programs that we read about exemplify how great we've become, a stronger and better nation that embraces the wealth of individual differences of people. We're very proud of the caliber of all of the applications received," said Cromartie.

Enterprise was recognized for its "Multi-Cultural Club," which was formed to provide an opportunity for people of various ethnic and cultural backgrounds to meet one another in a social setting that focuses on either a country or ethnic group so that participants can learn about the history, contributions, and customs of other people.

The format allows them to learn about their neighbors as well as open the lines of communication between the various constituent communities and local government. The diversity in Enterprise's population, composed primarily of African Americans, Koreans and Latin-Americans, was the catalyst for the Multi-Cultural Club.

Lynwood was recognized for "We are One,"--a policy making philosophy and strategy formally adopted by Lynwood's City Council in 2000 that reinvents the community's approach to cultural diversity.

The evidence can be found throughout the city in numerous cultural programs and landmarks that represent people of diverse cultural backgrounds living in Lynwood.

Through comprehensive cultural programming, Lynwood annually celebrates diversity with events commemorating traditional and non-traditional holidays. These celebrations take place in an effort to educate the community about the diversity of the various cultures that exist in the city.

Stockton won for its "Mayor's Campaign for Racial Harmony and Fairness Task Force," which is under the leadership of Mayor Gary Podesto. The task force is made up of 26 top-level administrators, school district executives, religious agencies, city and county offices, business groups and health organizations. It was established to address racial, cultural and religious tensions, and to create solutions to rectify these issues.

The task force, organized after the mayor attended a conference on Undoing Racism, has had seven forums on topics that include issues of race, education, law enforcement, faith community, and job and unemployment practices, and goals.

Phoenix was recognized for its "City of Phoenix Diversity Task Force," made up of 23 employees from 16 city departments and all levels of the organization created to ensure that the city's workforce reflects the diversity of Phoenix to better serve its diverse population.

Its recommendations have resulted in strengthened employee efforts to work together as a team, heightened creativity in providing outstanding service to the community, and launched a city-wide embrace of diversity to meet residents' needs and go above and beyond customer expectations.

In the second place awards category, Bellwood was selected for its "The Bellwood Neighborhood Watch School Fund Corporation," which was founded because many of its youth between the ages of 15 and 20 were incarcerated at a cost of $30,000 to $40,000 a year. …

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