Longmont is a diverse, multicultural and welcoming city, one in which it’s easy for people to make connections, do business, and to thrive as part of the community. As home to many customs and cultures, it’s easy for residents and visitors to find fellowship with others of similar backgrounds and to explore and join in traditions that are new or foreign. The many nonprofit, civic and cultural organizations of Longmont welcome new people to become involved, and there is opportunity to find others with whom to share almost any interest. Not only do “you belong in Longmont” if you’re looking for a welcoming hometown or business location, but “when you’re in Longmont, you belong.”
We are interested in taking that level of belonging to the next step, where we are actively addressing racial inequity in our organization and community. The City of Longmont, Colorado has been undertaking racial equity work for a number of years through various initiatives and has twice won the All America City award for tackling our community most wicked issues together.
The most recent racial equity initiative emerged from the City’s sustainability work. During the development of the City’sSustainability Plan, social equity surfaced as the top concern and priority for the community – particularly with regards to affordability, access to resources and amenities needed to thrive, and participation in decision-making processes by members of our community that often most impacted by and least responsible for sustainability-related issues such as climate change. In response to community feedback, the sustainability program has centered the equity aspect and lens of sustainability in the development and implementation of policies, programs and projects. In order to do that effectively, sustainability has been developing a strong relationship with the City of Longmont Community Services department to understand, respect, and build off the many efforts and achievements they have undertaken to advance equity in our community, and co-create neighborhood-based sustainability projects and programs, as well as partner on city-wide equity efforts.
In June 2019, staff from Sustainability and the Community and Neighborhood Resources division organized City leadership, including department directors and the City Manager, as well as staff representatives from each department to complete the UrbanSustainability Directors Network’s Equity Foundations Training. The five-part series includes videos, worksheets, and supplemental material to support learning on how to apply a racial equity lens to the work of municipal government and begin to advance racial equity within an organization with a team. Staff will be using the learning from this program as the foundation for the equity strategy identified in the Sustainability Plan, C-2: Develop an inclusive standard of equitable access and opportunity for all residents that enhances capacity and is implemented uniformly across all city departments, policies, programs, and outcomes.