Rochester Public Library Award

NBC LEO Honors Four City Programs which Encourage, Promote Cultural Diversity

Washington, DC – Four cities were honored this morning for implementing quality and innovative programs in communities to enhance and promote cultural diversity. Each year, the City Cultural Diversity Awards recognize city programs which encourage citizen involvement 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).

Cities honored for 2011 are: Southfield, Mich., (first place, population category 25,001 – 100,000); Fargo, ND (runner-up, population category 25,001 – 100,000); Hollywood, Fla., (first place, population category 100,001 – 400,000); and Rochester, Minn., (runner-up population category 100,001 – 400,000).

Each city was honored Monday 14th March 2011, at NBC LEO’s annual Celebrate Diversity Breakfast during NLC’s Congressional City Conference in Washington, DC. Representative Judy Chu (D-Calif.), Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, addressed attendees at the breakfast.

Award-winning city programs:
· In mid-October, 2010, Southfield, Mich., hosted their International Festival, an annual cultural event bringing together residents from diverse backgrounds to share and learn about one another’s heritage and cultures. In partnership with the International Institute of Metropolitan Detroit Inc., the city sponsors the festival which features international music and dance performances, children’s activities, cultural exhibits, ethnic arts and crafts demonstrations and imported and handmade products and food from around the world. For more information, contact Nimrod Rosenthal, Community Relations Director, 248-796-5130, nrosenthal@cityofsouthfield.com.

· The Native American Commission in Fargo, ND, strives to strengthen the Native American community in order to promote understanding, recognition and respect for Native American cultures while enriching the whole community. The nine member board which advises the Fargo City Commission connects appropriate services and organizations to address the most critical needs of the Native American community and propose creative and comprehensive solutions. For more information, contact William YellowBird, Safety Coordinator, 701-241-1321, wyellowbird@cityoffargo.com.

· The Diversity Network in Hollywood, Fla., was designed to be the catalyst for developing innovative approaches to capitalize on and celebrate the unique diversity of the city’s workforce and the community. Through this network, city departments develop annual strategies aimed at creating an awareness, understanding and appreciation of the city’s many differences. The network has previously hosted activities including a Taste of Ethnic Sampling, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Hispanic Heritage Month and various celebrations of Black History Month. For more information, contact Kee Eng, Network Chair, 954-967-4526.

· In 2010, Rochester, Minn., hosted the RACE: Are We So Different? Exhibit, which examined race and racism by showcasing scientific, historical and cultural perspectives on race. Through a collaboration of more than 53 organizations, businesses and school systems, including the Mayo Clinic’s Allied Health Diversity Committee, more than 37,000 people visited the exhibit, which created a community dialogue on issues of race in the community. For more information, contact Gretl Kruse, Operations Manager, 507-538-6356, kruse.gretl@mayo.edu.

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 Deborah Denard Delgado, Councilmember, Hattiesburg, Miss., chaired this year’s awards competition. Judges included Audwin Samuel, Councilmember, Beaumont, Texas; Lavonta K. Williams, Councilmember, Wichita, Kan., Helen Kawagoe, City Clerk, Carson, Calif.; Gilbert Wong, Mayor, Cupertino, Calif.; Greg Pettis, Councilmember, Cathedral City, Calif.; Gilbert Lopez, Vice Mayor, Coolidge, Ariz.; Dorothy “Dot” La Marche, Vice Mayor, Farragut, Tenn.; and Joyce Sheperd, Councilmember, Atlanta, Ga.

For more information on the City Cultural Diversity Awards, visit NBC-LEO’s website at http://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.

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