All-In Cities: Making the Case for Equity

In late June, I attended the National League of Cities (NLC) Board and Leadership Summer Meeting in Little Rock, Arkansas. While there, I participated in meetings with NLC's Race, Equity and Leadership (REAL) Council – composed of local elected officials and nonprofit leaders – to discuss continued efforts to support local leaders in eliminating racial disparities and healing racial divisions. The group convened only a few miles away from where the "Little Rock Nine" – escorted by military officials – integrated Little Rock Central High School, and reflected on how critical it is for leaders and residents to know their history and how it impacts the way their cities function today. Repeatedly, elected officials discussed the need for quantitative and qualitative data to reveal uncomfortable truths about what their cities face, and how it empowers communities to make the case for equity. For me, these conversations reinforced why data collection and dissemination is so central to the PolicyLink All-In Cities strategy, and our team is proud to share our most recent work to reveal necessary truths and advance the work of equity in cities.

  • An Equity Profile of Albuquerque: In partnership with the City of Albuquerque and New Mexico Voices for Children, we released a data profile in Albuquerque, which shows that communities of color are driving the city's growth as six in 10 residents are now people of color. Because of its racial inequities, however, we estimate that the Albuquerque metro economy lost out on $11 billion in 2015. This profile will serve as a guide for the city's new Office of Equity and Inclusion to set its racial and economic equity agenda. Read the profile and one-page summary. At the event, the mayor also announced the city's joint commitment with more than 30 local organizations and more than 150 national organizations to – a cross-sector commitment to racial equity. The Albuquerque Journal and KRQE both covered the release event, with the TV station devoting an entire segment on the release in the evening news, highlighting key data findings from the National Equity Atlas.
  • An Equity Profile of the Omaha-Council Bluffs Region: This profile is an update of one we released in December 2014 to help Heartland 2050, a community-driven initiative, implement its plan for equitable growth. The Omaha-Council Bluffs region continues to undergo a demographic transformation that has major implications for the region's prosperity. Our updated analysis finds that closing wide racial gaps in income could have boosted the regional economy by nearly $4.8 billion in 2015. Read the profile, summary, and view the press release.
  • Judy Reese Morse Joins the All-In Cities Team: We are excited to announce that Judy Reese Morse, former deputy mayor and chief administrative officer for the City of New Orleans during Mayor Mitch Landrieu's administration, has been selected as a James O. Gibson Innovation Fellow with All-in Cities. Judy brings nearly 30 years experience as a strong leader and senior executive in government, nonprofit, and media and will be utilizing her experience to support our partners across the country and contribute her thought leadership to the field.
  • Equitable Development Webinar: Our most recent webinar in our series on policy solutions within the All-In Cities Policy Toolkit was a discussion on "Inclusive Planning: Centering Community Voice in Equitable Development" featuring Vaughn Perry of Bridges Across the River (11th Street Bridge Park, Washington, DC), and Tony DeFalco of Verde/Living Cully (Portland). If you missed the webinar, be sure to check out the recording.

Tracey Ross
Associate Director, All-In Cities Initiative