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Next steps towards more social justice and racial equity

NORTH LIBERTY– Following conversations among staff with council and throughout the community on social justice and racial equity, the North Liberty City Council discussed next steps at its Aug. 25 meeting. This list was initially included for discussion at the council’s meeting on July 29, and updated with current status is not all-inclusive of actions or possible actions and staff anticipate additional items following City Council discussion, feedback from the community, and further strategy sessions.
- Host a series of community conversations to solicit feedback and ideas, as well as provide a space for residents to share their stories: hosted six listening posts in late July/early August.
- Collect additional data with the objective to evaluate and address potential disparities: 2019 data presented.
- Develop a regular data-sharing mechanism, building on existing public monthly reports, for additional transparency: data sharing mechanism created; NLPD will report annually.
In progress
- Consider more city outreach opportunities with the community: staff is currently working on a Great Neighborhoods Initiative program to help reach underserved populations and address the information gap between the city and residents.
- Regular meetings or open house type events with city departments: in progress; Great Neighborhood Initiatives program will incorporate city department outreach.
- Inclusionary training, programming, and/or education opportunities through the library and recreation departments: hosted embody|embrace in January and planning for 2021 event; partnered with UAY for conflict resolution.
- Provide more frequent diversity and inclusion training: currently require one training session for city employees each year; looking to expand required and optional trainings.
- Staff required training: PD recently moved up implicit bias training; new state law requires additional annual PD training; looking to expand training opportunities for all staff.
- Partner with local government organizations: staff currently collaborating with local organizations to offer area wide employee equity and inclusionary training.
- Work with vendor to upgrade police data tracking software: Chief Venenga and other jurisdictions working with vendor to enhance tracking capabilities.
- Enhance partnerships with NAACP and other entities: Chief Venenga established a relationship with the local NAACP President; the President agreed to review, mediate and provide guidance when race complaints are received; also discussing other partnership opportunities such as Know Your Rights workshop, juvenile interaction with police officer and city wide training.
- Explore ideas and best practices to increase diversity within the City workforce: HR Director exploring ideas with other colleagues; NAACP has agreed to share all job announcements with members.
- Recruit social services organizations to have a location in North Liberty: with the completion of the Ranshaw House the City has space to provide service providers with office space).
Awaiting action or direction
- Effectively engage diverse communities in planning and participatory budgeting processes and integrate their arts and culture throughout government activities and events.
- Contract for an external audit and study of traffic stops and searches: Chief Venenga recommends consulting Dr. Chris Barnum to analyze the data annually.
- Establish a Community Police Review Board to incorporate citizen input on policing practices and review incidents.
Consider unarmed Community Service Officers.
- Build systems creating better decisions by developing a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion team. Analyze all decisions and practices with a racial equity lens to remove barriers and expand opportunities.
- Develop a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion toolkit for staff and provide availability for council and local businesses.
- Establish Inclusionary Zoning for housing.
- Guarantee residents access to services and protect them from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations.
- Adopt a hate crimes ordinance.
- Establish a Mayor’s Youth Leadership Council.
- Consider conducting an independent equity audit.