Sacramento ― During today’s League of California Cities Board of Directors meeting, Cal Cities President and El Centro Mayor Cheryl Viegas Walker announced members of the Cal Cities Advancing Equity Advisory Committee that is charged with developing recommendations for the organization’s future work supporting city efforts to advance equity in their communities.
“Cities are making concerted efforts to address inequities in their communities and I am honored to be spearheading this initiative to ensure cities have the right tools to be successful,” said President Viegas Walker. “The committee’s goal is to identify how cities can recognize and eliminate disparities, heal racial divisions, and build more equitable communities.”
The Advancing Equity Advisory Committee, with the support of staff from Cal Cities and the National League of Cities Race, Equity and Leadership Program, will develop a set of recommended actions and resources for consideration by the board of directors later this year.
“I’m proud to be the leader of such a dynamic organization that is prioritizing the support of local efforts to build more equitable communities,” said Cal Cities Executive Director and CEO Carolyn Coleman.
Today’s announcement furthers the commitment the Cal Cities board made in a June 2020 statement
to “create an equitable and just future for all Californians.” President Viegas Walker has appointed 25 individuals to the committee, who represent a diverse group of city leaders who are endeavoring to root out discrimination and racism in their communities. Cal Cities Immediate Past President and Yountville Mayor John F. Dunbar, and Cal Cities Board Member and Temecula Director of Legislative Affairs and City Clerk Randi Johl will serve as the committee’s co-chairs.
“It is so important for all of us to take action, not only in our communities and at our dinner tables, but in our conference rooms and our city halls,” said Johl. “I am eager to listen, learn, and do the work so that California cities will have a reliable pathway to build more equitable and just institutions.”
The Advancing Equity Advisory Committee will undertake an informative and developmental process to identify a set of recommended actions and resources to support cities in their efforts to reevaluate operations and services through an equity lens, and reform areas where longstanding racial biases and inequities exist.
“Not all cities are in the same place when it comes to addressing systemic racism and bias in our communities,” said Mayor Dunbar. “A big part of the committee’s work will be ensuring that tools are available for all city leaders to reevaluate, reimagine, and reform their institutions to ensure their systems are equitable and just.”
In addition to forming the Advancing Equity Advisory Committee, Cal Cities provided training and resources throughout 2020 to support city leaders’ efforts. A special issue
of Western City magazine in November 2020 highlights efforts to disrupt systemic inequities in city institutions and policies and replace them with systems that are inclusive and fair. The publication profiles several California cities that are driving meaningful and deliberate change within their cities to ensure equitable access to city services. Cal Cities also featured a series of webinars and conference sessions on race and equity at the 2020 Annual Conference & Expo and other events throughout the year. For those links and more resources, visit www.cacities.org/advancingequity
Advancing Equity Advisory Committee Members:
- Co-Chair John F. Dunbar, Mayor, Yountville
- Co-Chair Randi Johl, Director of Legislative Affairs/City Clerk, Temecula
- Walt Allen, Council Member, Covina
- Jan Arbuckle, Council Member, Grass Valley
- Denise Athas, Council Member, Novato
- Aimee Barnes, Diversity and Equity Manager, Sacramento
- Eric Casher, City Attorney, Pinole
- Ross Chun, Mayor, Aliso Viejo
- Denise Diaz, Council Member, South Gate
- Karen Diemer, City Manager, Arcata
- Debra Garnes, Mayor, Rio Dell
- Jacqui Guzman, Deputy City Manager, Sunnyvale
- George N. Harris II, Director of Finance, Lancaster
- Jenny Haruyama, City Manager, Tracy
- Lindsey Horvath, Mayor, West Hollywood
- Jesse Loren, Council Member, Winters
- Consuelo Martinez, Council Member, Escondido
- Lisa Middleton, Council Member, Palm Springs
- Stephanie Nguyen, Council Member, Elk Grove
- Wade Nomura, Mayor, Carpinteria
- Gabe Quinto, Council Member, El Cerrito
- Steve Rogers, Town Manager, Yountville
- Cindy Silva, Council Member, Walnut Creek
- Esmerelda Soria, Council Member, Fresno
- Dan Wright, Council Member, Stockton
Established in 1898, the League of California Cities is a nonprofit statewide association that advocates for cities with the state and federal governments and provides education and training services to elected and appointed city officials.