WASHINGTON, March 12, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Five cities were honored this morning for implementing programs that enhance and promote cultural diversity in communities. The City Cultural Diversity Awards recognize city programs which encourage citizen involvement and enhance and show an appreciation of cultural diversity. The awards are sponsored by the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials (NBC-LEO), a constituency group of the National League of Cities (NLC).
Each city was honored this morning at NBC-LEO's annual Celebrate Diversity Breakfast during NLC's Congressional City Conference in Washington, DC. Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter addressed attendees at the breakfast on leading cities in challenging times and specifically the urgency for developing an agenda to reduce violence among black males.
Award-winning city programs:
The Community Engagement Initiative of Brooklyn Park, Minn., is a community-wide strategic plan which developed goals and a new mission statement for the community that encourages pride and opportunities for all. The initiative has encouraged citizen involvement in local government-sponsored activities and enhanced the appreciation of cultural diversity as a way of life in the community.
In Dubuque, Iowa, the Intercultural Competence Initiative ensures that city staff and programs are effectively meeting the needs of a growing multicultural community; residents of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds are acknowledged and engaged in community life; and city policy decisions include the perspective of a range of cultures represented in the community. Since the program began in 2006, it has expanded cultural programming, developed cultural community groups and ensured that people of various backgrounds are involved in solving community problems.
Working to build community with residents of all backgrounds through the Multicultural Outreach Program, Arlington, Va., strives to ensure that all residents have knowledge of and access to community services and education programs. Some features of the program include a comprehensive Spanish language website, citizenship classes and workshops, job readiness training, home buying seminars and Spanish interpretation at board and other key public meetings.
The Irvine Global Village Festival in Irvine, Calif., is an annual, daylong, free event which provides residents an opportunity to celebrate the city's vibrant and diverse community. Held at the city's Colonel Bill Barber Marines Corps Memorial Park, the event features more than 100 performances with five stages as well as restaurants, exhibits, demonstrations, children's activities and merchants representing more than 50 cultures from around the world.
The Phoenix City Manager's Community Engagement and Outreach Task Force in Phoenix, Ariz., addresses police officer training, communication, community policing and public outreach to help the Phoenix Police Department interact more effectively with all residents. Since its 2010 inception, recommendations from the task force have helped the police department promote cultural diversity, strengthen relationships and heighten the level of service it provides to the city's diverse community.
The City Cultural Diversity Awards program was established in 1995 by NLC's NBC-LEO constituency group to promote cultural diversity in community governance through citizen and community participation. Winning cities are selected from a pool of applicants and are grouped according to population.
NBC-LEO President-Elect Ulysses Addison, Councilmember, Baton Rouge, La., chaired this year's awards competition. Judges, representing NLC constituency groups, included NBC-LEO Past President Audwin Samuel, Councilmember, Beaumont, Texas; NBC-LEO Secretary Lavonta Williams, Councilmember, Wichita, Kan.; former NBC-LEO Foundation Fellow David Howard, Councilmember, Charlotte, NC; WIMG Board Member Mary Dorothy "Dot" LaMarche, Vice-Mayor, Farragut, Tenn.; GLBTLO Past President Greg Pettis, Councilmember, Cathedral City, Calif.; APAMO President Gilbert Wong, Mayor, Cupertino, Calif.; and HELO Immediate Past President, Sergio Rodriguez, Alderman, New Haven, Conn.
In addition to NBC-LEO, the Celebrate Diversity breakfast was also hosted by NLC's other constituency groups: Asian Pacific American Municipal Officials (APAMO); Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Local Officials (GLBTLO); Hispanic Elected Local Officials (HELO) and Women in Municipal Government (WIMG).
For more information on the City Cultural Diversity Awards, visit NBC-LEO's website at www.nbc-leo.org.
The National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials was established in 1970. A constituency group of the National League of Cities, NBC-LEO advocates for the interests of African-American local elected officials. Its mission is to provide African-American municipal officials and their colleagues with forums to share ideas, discussion groups to develop strategies for improving municipal governance, debates on policy issues and programs that contribute to the success of America's cities and towns.
The National League of Cities is the nation's oldest and largest organization devoted to strengthening and promoting cities as centers of opportunity, leadership and governance. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans.