The many paths to greater inclusivity

An inclusivity resolution is one way Keizer could demonstrate its commitment to providing an equitable atmosphere for all Keizer residents, but cities throughout Oregon and the nation have found unique ways to work toward equal justice and opportunity. 

These are a few of the ones Keizertimes found:

• Keizer’s neighbor to the south, Salem, has a Human Rights Commission. The commission, active since the late 1960s, works alongside city staff and a liaison from the police department. Commission members train to work with victims of hate activity. One of the most powerful things the commission does? Writing letters to victims of hate and bias crimes reminding them that not all their agree with those that verbally or physically harass them. 

• In eastern Oregon, the City of Hermiston has a Hispanic Advisory Committee that meets monthly to provide touchstone “the city’s Hispanic community can contact with their issues, concerns, and problems which relate” to municpal actions. It also provides recommendations regarding city actions and informs city leaders on potential impacts on the Latinx population. 

• Fairfax, Cailf., formed the Racial Equity Committee comprised of city councilors, residents and youth members focused on “actively dismantling and eradicating systemic and individual racism, bigotry, and discrimination within our town, in an effort to create a Fairfax that is explicitly antiracist, equitable, and inclusive in both word and deed.”

• The City of Madison, Wis., had department leaders and teams of city employees meet with residents to address how services are delivered. One tangible outcome was providing lighting to basketball courts for evening usage.

• Focusing on transit-oriented community development. Moving toward growth that focused on moving residents around without automobiles has allowed the metropolitan areas around Washington, D.C., to create housing in the space recouped from vehicle storage. Fairfax County, Va., works with developers to ensure that 20% of all residential units are affordable to those making 50% to 120% of the area’s median income.

• The City of Boston partnered with a non-profit to conduct a six-month series of race dialogues in neighborhoods throughout the city. Trained facilitators were brought in to guide conversations and arrive at potential solutions. 

While each city is on a path tailored to its residents, The National League of Cities, in a report titled Advancing Racial Equity In Your City, cites making a public declaration of commitment to racial equity as one of the necessary first steps to meaningful change.