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Cities make plans for race equality week.

From Riverside, Calif., to St. Petersburg, Fla., cities across the country are planning activities to participate in the Sixth-Annual Race Equality Week, September 26-30. The week's activities include a Race Equality Week Forum, to be held in Washington, D.C.

Efforts taking place in cities include forums and special gatherings, community engagement initiatives and the issuing of proclamations.

The National League of Cities-sponsored Race Equality Week grew out of an effort launched in 2000 by then-NLC President Bob Knight, former mayor of Wichita, Kan., who challenged city leaders to focus on improving race relations in their communities.

Each NLC President since that time has continued the agenda and continued to urge city leaders to do their part to improve race relations and achieve racial justice.

Race Equality Week Forum

The Sixth-Annual Race Equality Week will include a special Race Equality Forum in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, September 29, to explore ways to move the race relations and racial justice work forward.

An invited group of city leaders and national stakeholders will focus on engaging key groups in a shared agenda and identifying specific opportunities for collaboration to improve race relations.

The forum will be chaired by NLC First Vice President James Hunt, councilmember, Clarksburg, W.Va. NLC President and Anthony A. Williams, mayor of Washington, D.C., and Knight will also participate.

Efforts in Cities

During Race Equality Week, NLC encourages cities to take part in different activities throughout the week that promote diversity and raise the awareness of racial equality amongs residents in communities.

"The City of Avondale, Arizona prides itself as being a diverse community. However, promoting racial equality and ending racism require continued commitment, awareness, and action," said Avondale Mayor Ron Drake, who will sign a proclamation designating September 26-30 as Race Equality Week in Avondale.

Race Equality Week Events in Avondale include: "One World, One People," a cultural display at the Avondale Public Library; "Romantic Mexico--Image and Reality" an evening with author Boye Lafayette Demente; and A Discovery Channel Video Presentation--"Understanding Race."

Riverside's Human Relations Commission is presenting "Horizon Line," which is aimed at encouraging youth to talk about race and violence issues. The Riverside commission is also implementing a program called "Access Riverside" that will deal specifically with investigating and resolving discrimination complaints.

In Anchorage, Alaska, Race Equality Week is being held in conjunction with the Mayor's Diversity Week events. The events will run through the month of November.

Activities will include: a special joint work session of the Municipality of Anchorage Equal Rights Commission and the Standing Committee on the Promotion of Tolerance and Diversity; a youth summit facilitated by Judge Greg Mathis, a local TV personality; and a kick-off diversity barbeque and mural unveiling. This year's Diversity Appreciation and Awards Dinner will have Charles Moose, former Montgomery County, Md., police chief as the keynote speaker.

Ottawa, Kan., will begin a new program focused on "Diversity Education" through a grant received from the American Eagle Foundation. The program will address diversity awareness, understanding the importance of diversity in a global economy, understanding the difference between diversity and affirmative action, and viewing diversity as an asset, not a weakness.

The Greensboro, N.C., Bicentennial Mosaic Partnership will celebrate its first year of success during Race Equality Week through a special event. The Mosaic Partnership is a project designed to increase communication and cooperation among the city's racial and ethnic groups. As the city prepares for its bicentennial in 2008, it is using this project to reflect on the past and strive toward a future of harmony and acceptance among all races and ethnicities.

In Scottsdale, Ariz., the Promoting Unity in the Community Partnership and the Cross Cultural Communication Series are two beginning initiatives that will continue throughout 2005 and into 2006. Both initiatives are being sponsored and coordinated by the Human Relations Commission to promote racial equality and unity.

The City of Winston-Salem, N.C., Race Equality Week agenda will consist of a Fiesta Hispanic Festival, an Inter-Faith Senegalese Program, a Student Race Relations Forum, the Second African-American and Hispanic Relations Forum and the Human Relations Awards Banquet.

Details: For more information about Race Equality Week, the Forum, ways to participate in your city, or to share with us how your city is participating, please contact Gwen Wright, project coordinator, at 202-626-3037 or e-mail wright@nlc.org.
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Title Annotation:National League of Cities
Author:Wright, Gwen
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 26, 2005
Words:724
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