The City recently established a new Office of Racial Equity, Inclusion and Belonging to advance the work of removing structural bias in City policies, programs and services. The new office will address systemic inequities and support systemic change throughout the City to emphasize equity, inclusion and belonging.
“I believe that systemic racism permeates nearly every institution in our society in some way or fashion,” said City Manager Jamie Verbrugge. “I do not believe Bloomington is immune from the effects of systemic racism, nor is Bloomington free of the structures that reinforce historical systems that serve to disadvantage people.”
The City’s commitment to racial equity and inclusion is longstanding and has evolved over the years since 2015. In December 2017, the City Council adopted a racial equity vision statement that reads, “The City of Bloomington will act courageously to advance racial equity. We will be a vibrant, safe and healthy place where people of all races thrive.” The City hired its first-ever racial equity coordinator in 2019. The City adopted the racial equity business plan in 2020, which charts the path for the City’s racial equity work in the years to come. The plan identifies goals and outcomes in four distinct areas: hiring, training, services and community engagement.
In 2020, the City Council declared racism a public health crisis. The racial equity strategic planning committee was formed to identify the most impactful policies and practices the City and racial equity strategic planning committee would work on to begin reducing racial disparities in key areas: economic stability, education, health and health care, neighborhood and built environment, and community.
To read more about the racial equity business plan and racial equity strategic planning committee, or learn more about the City’s racial equity commitment, visit blm.mn/equity.