The National League of Cities (NLC) and the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials (NBC-LEO) recognized eight cities for implementing programs to enhance and promote cultural diversity in their communities. The NBC-LEO City Cultural Diversity Awards recognize municipal programs that encourage citizen involvement and honor cities that develop creative and effective programs designed to improve and promote cultural diversity through a collaborative process with city officials, community leaders and residents. The recognized cities include four winners and four runners-up and are categorized by population. The recognized cities are:

Population category over 400,001

Winner -Seattle, Wash., for Public Outreach and Engagement Liaisons (POEL), an initiative committed to ending institutional racism and creating a city enriched by its diverse cultures through civic participation. POEL is designed to increase access to information, resources and civic processes with historically underrepresented communities through the implementation of racially and culturally inclusive outreach and public engagement.

Runner-Up- Phoenix, Ariz., for “Phoenix Against Domestic Violence – A Roadmap to Excellence," a five-year plan aimed at the eradication of domestic violence. Thirty-five community, private and nonprofit organizations collaborated to create the plan which includes a community and media campaign focusing on community awareness, coordinated service delivery, system reform and community partnerships.

Population category 100,001-400,000

Winner- Fremont, Calif., for “Community Ambassador Program for Seniors”. This program trains volunteer “ambassadors” to serve seniors in their own communities, in their own languages and within their own cultural norms, and does so where seniors live, worship and socialize. The program holds more than 150 volunteers from 12 ethnic, fair and community organizations representative of the Tri-City area (Freemont, Newark and Union City, Calif.).

Runner-Up- Winston Salem, N.C, for the “Cultural Inclusion Program," a city-wide initiative to support, include and encourage international and/or multicultural citizens and residents to participate in city-sponsored outreach programs and to build trust and provide information regarding city services.

Population category 25,001-100,000

Winner- Renton, Wash., for its program “Embracing Our Diversity”. The program creates a network of community leaders representing various ethnic, cultural and diverse groups. The city is committed to being an inclusive city with opportunities for all and building connections with all communities, especially limited or non-English speaking residents and ethnic groups.

Runner-Up- Avondale, Ariz., for hosting a joint parade with Goodyear, Ariz., concluding with a “Naturalization Ceremony” and celebration festival. The theme, “An International Celebration," promoted a variety of diverse cultures represented through people, arts, crafts, music, traditions, cuisines and more.

Population category fewer than 25,000

Winner- Duarte, Calif., for its partnership “Community Mediation Team”. The collaboration is made up of diverse leaders and stakeholders in Duarte, Monrovia and Los Angeles County, Calif., who collectively identify, assess and address the needs of individuals and families that are at-risk subjects of gang violence. The Community Mediation Team has successfully curbed gang violence by creating an effective community communication system and by serving as a facilitator to connect at-risk individuals.

Runner-Up- Carrboro, N.C., for its annual “Community Dinner” that celebrates the community’s rich cultural diversity through food and entertainment. The dinner is at an event with more than 650 attendees that crosses economic, racial, religious and ethnic barriers.

These cities were recognized at the “Celebrate Diversity Breakfast” during NLC’s Congressional City Conference in Washington. The City Cultural Diversity Awards Program was established in 1995 by the NBC-LEO to promote cultural diversity in community governance through citizen and community participation. The winners were selected by guest judges, NLC’s constituency groups and the corporate sector from a pool of applicants.

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