Joint Commission on Racial Justice and Equity
Following the Civil unrest in Peoria after the killing of George Floyd, Mayor Ardis and Councilwoman Ali convened a Racial Justice and equity coalition that included Chairman Rand, the County Administrator, interested citizens, business leaders and public officials. The purpose of the coalition was to identify recommendations to improve areas of racial justice and equity within our community, to identify some quick wins and establish a structure that could transition into a collective impact model that will engage the community and address issues for racial justice and equity.
In September, the Board had a committee of the whole to discuss systemic racism in our community. As part of that discussion, staff proposed a draft of a charter to create a Peoria City-County Commission on Racial Justice and Equity. Since that time, Chairman Rand, Councilwoman Ali, the City Manager, and the County Administrator have worked to improve the language in the Charter. The goals of the Joint Commission on Racial Justice and Equity are:
- To establish racially inclusive leadership
- Promotion of focused discussions on racial equity
- Creation of a racial justice and equity strategic plan
- Formation of focused work groups that advance pro-equity policies, procedures, and systems in various areas where racial inequities exist (including, but not limited to, the justice system, housing,economic development and jobs, child and youth development, health and human services,information technology, mobility and transportation, environment and climate)
- Delivery of annual and periodic progress reports.
The mission of the Joint Commission on Racial Justice and Equity is to:
Accelerate Efforts to Institutionalize Racial Justice and Equity within County and City Government and to Advance its Adoption Throughout the Region.
The vision of the Joint Commission on Racial Justice and Equity is:
To End Racism in City and County Government and To Achieve Racial Equity and Justice Across Our Community.
The responsibilities of the Joint Commission on Racial Justice and Equity's are to:
- Develop and distribute information about racial justice and equity in the City and County
- Promote educational activities that increase the understanding of racial justice and equity in the City and County
- Recommend coordinated strategies for reducing inequity in racial justice and equity in the City and County
- Develop a performance management platform for communicating progress towards achieving racial justice and equity
- Advise the Peoria City Council and Peoria County Board, their executives, and City and County agencies about racial justice and equity in the County, and recommend policies, programs, legislation, or regulations necessary to reduce racial and social justice inequity
- Subject Matter Experts: Engage select subject matter experts to obtain the best possible data and obtain the best possible evaluations of racial justice and equity impact
- Citizen Engagement: Engage a variety of citizen groups for the purpose of soliciting community feedback using a variety of techniques including, but not limited to, surveying, town hall meetings and public forums
- Submit an annual report by December 1 of each year to the Peoria City Council and Peoria County Board on the activities of the Committee.
The City Council and County Board may each appoint Ex Officio Members of the Joint Commission on Racial Justice and Equity. The size of the Joint Commission shall be no less than 15 members and no more than 20 members. At least half and at most three-quarters of the members are racially diverse. All members shall reside in Peoria County. At least half and at most three-quarters of the members will reside in the City of Peoria. To represent the youth of the community, at least two members shall be between the ages of 17 and 25 at the time of their appointment.
A Nominating Committees shall be established to make the appointments to the Commission. The County Board and the City Council shall appoint one member from each body. The Nominating Committee will make recommendations to the respective entities about appointments to the Joint Commission. Co-Chairs of the Commission would be established and made by the Peoria County Board Chairman and by the Mayor with the advice and consent of the respective legislative bodies as may be required.
The City's Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer shall provide administrative support to the Committee and participate in the Commission deliberations. Legal support shall be provided by the City Corporation Counsel. Clerical support shall be provided by the Peoria County Administration. The Commission shall establish committees to examine the condition of the County and City with respect to inequity and institutional and structural racism and to determine strategies for advancing racial justice and equity. The Committees shall develop a policy agenda pertaining to their defined area to advance racial justice and equity. The Committees shall recommend coordinated strategies for reducing inequity in racial justice and equity to the full Commission. The Committees include:
- Child & youth development
- Economic development & jobs
- Environment & climate
- Health & human services
- Information & technology
- Justice system
- Transportation & mobility