Dear California City Leaders,
Tuesday’s guilty verdict of a former Minneapolis police officer in the killing of George Floyd on a street corner almost a year ago cannot erase the pain and suffering of Mr. Floyd’s family; nor does it solve the longstanding issues of systemic inequities that exist in our country. However, it does offer some accountability as we continue on the road towards meaningful justice and equitable treatment for all.
The shocking and painful images from a year ago, sparked months of calls for equity and justice across the country, and closer to home our League of California Cities members and staff started to look inward to what sort of meaningful steps we could take to address inequities that exist within our own cities.
The Cal Cities Board released a powerful statement
in June 2020 committing to doing the hard work to “create an equitable and just future for all Californians.” And during the past year cities around the state got to work, adopting resolutions to advance equity, organizing community listening sessions, rolling out trainings, and reimagining public safety.
At Cal Cities, we have developed and offered multiple resources and trainings for city officials looking to advance equity and root out racism in their communities, including webinars, conference sessions, peer-to-peer roundtables, a special issue of Western City
magazine focused on Advancing Equity, and a dedicated webpage
that allows city officials to access these resources.
In February, Cal Cities President Cheryl Viegas Walker announced
the creation of the Advancing Equity Advisory Committee, charged with developing recommendations for the organization’s future work supporting city efforts to advance equity in their communities. The Cal Cities board will review those recommendations in just a few days at our April board meeting. Our Cal Cities members and staff have done a lot in a year, but the verdict serves to remind us that we have much work left to do.
Real justice can only happen when we succeed in building a nation that fundamentally respects the human dignity of every person. As local leaders, you have a tremendous opportunity to advance this vision, and I thank each and every one of you for the work you have done and continue to do.
Be confident that you are not alone and your Cal Cities team will continue to support and promote your efforts to eliminate disparities, heal racial divisions, and build more equitable communities for all Californians.
Carolyn M. Coleman
Executive Director and CEO
League of California Cities