Governing magazine today announced that the City of South Bend has been named a high performer in the “Race-Informed” category of the 2018 Equipt to Innovate national survey of American cities.
Equipt to Innovate is a joint initiative launched by Living Cities and Governing magazine. It is an integrated, collaborative framework anchored in seven key characteristics of high-performance government — being dynamically planned, broadly partnered, resident-involved, race-informed, smartly resourced, employee-engaged, and data-driven. Seventy-four cities participated in the 2018 survey, up 23 percent from 2017, bringing the two-year total to 97 cities. Equipt cities represent 53 million residents, including 55 of the 100 largest U.S. cities and all 10 of the largest U.S. cities.
The “race-informed” designation covers cities that foster supportive environments for collective, community-wide racial healing and systemic, structural equity. Rooted in an understanding that government at all levels has played a role in creating and maintaining racial inequity, resulting in a lack of access and opportunity for people of color in everything from education and employment to housing and healthcare, these cities seek to redress structural racism through an analysis of their own operations and make necessary changes in policy and practice.
“Inclusion is one of our City’s core values,” said Mayor Pete Buttigieg. “We welcome this designation as we continue to make sure everyone in our diverse community feels well-represented by our government.”
“This journey is one of the strongest examples of the City’s commitment to racial equality,” said Diversity and Inclusion Officer Christina Brooks. “From commissioning our Racial Wealth Divide Profile through Prosperity NOW, to engaging residents as we work to close economic opportunity gaps, to building inclusive procurement policies, we are consistently striving to deliver services for all residents.”
“Race is always the elephant in the room with regard to politics and neighborhood development,” said Director of Engagement and Economic Empowerment Alkeyna Aldridge. “Explicitly naming race affirms the often-overshadowed experience of minority communities. This is one step in a shifting paradigm that pushes the City to learn from the lived experienced of marginalized communities and use this information to frame better policy interventions. As the city is able to respond to resident needs in a targeted way, it can ensure that all residents enjoy the economic benefits of the city’s growth.
For a comprehensive overview of the survey findings and a discussion of how cities fared across the categories, download the report “Profiles in High-Performance Government: Cities on the Move” at www.governing.com/equipt.