NBC-LEO Awards Honor City Achievements and Innovattion

Article excerpt

The National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials (NBC-LEO) of NLC was proud to recognize the achievements of eight NLC member cities in their efforts and support of cultural diversity in their communities. The first place winners, by population category, went to Santa Fe Springs, California; Bellevue, Washington; Modesto, California; and Kansas City, Missouri.

Runners up were Natchez, Mississippi; Santa Fe, New Mexico; St. Louis, Missouri; and Cleveland, Ohio.

The 1997 NBC-LEO City Cultural Diversity Awards were presented at the NLC Celebrate Diversity Breakfast held at this year's Congressional City Conference. This special event, originally founded by NBC-LEO, now incorporates the cosponsorship and fellowship of NLC's five other constituency/member groups: the Asian Pacific American Municipal Officials (APAMO); the Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Local Officials (GLBLO); the Hispanic Elected Local Officials (HELO); the University Communities Caucus (UCC); and Women in Municipal Government (WIMG).

Roger Wilkins, Clarence J. Robinson Professor of History and American Culture, George Mason, University, Fairfax, Virginia, was the keynote speaker who added his perspectives about the importance of acknowledging cultural diversity in everyday life and recognizing the contributions of all of America's ethnic groups in the building of this nation (see last week's issue).

City Cultural Diversity Award winning cities and their representatives received engraved trophies in honor of their achievements and were congratulated by NLC President Mark Schwartz, NBC-LEO President Mary Pinkett, Councilwoman, Brooklyn, New York, and NBC-LEO 1997 City Cultural Diversity Awards Program Chair Carol Clark, Councilwoman, East Orange, New Jersey.

Judges for this year's award program included Clark and three representatives from NBC-LEO. They were E. W. Cromartie, II, Councilmember, Columbia, South Carolina; Beverly Clyburn, Councilwoman, Aiken, South Carolina, Charles Yancey, Councilor, Boston, Massachusetts, and Edward Smith. Alderman, Chicago. Illinois. Guest judges from two other NLC constituency groups also collaborated with NBC-LEO in this endeavor. They were Neil Dillard, Mayor, Carbondale, Illinois, and Chair, University Communities Caucus, and John Heilman, Councilmember, West Hollywood, California, and First Vice President, Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Local Officials (GLBLO).

Chairperson Clark said, "Each year our program aims to reach out to all of our members to explore the richness of their community programs in their efforts to develop cultural diversity programs that really work in their cities and towns. Our winners and all of our applicants are model programs that our cities and local leaders can learn from and adopt to benefit their individual communities. NBC-LEO has had a long-standing interest in recognizing diversity and making our programs more visible and nationally recognized."

NBC-LEO President Mary Pinkett said, "In administering these programs, our focus is to promote the concept of cultural diversity in local governance through citizen and community participation. We are extremely proud of the efforts of this year's winners."

NLC direct member cities will be receiving the 1998 NBC-LEO City Cultural Diversity Awards information and application in early 1998. Following are short descriptions of the award-winning programs.

Santa Fe Springs, California

Top Honors

Santa Fe Springs, a first place winner (under 25,000 population), was noted for its program, "Santa Fe Springs Diversity Program," which demonstrates evolutionary growth in the city's current policies regarding diversity, inclusion, and anti-bias. …