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City equity plan up for committee action

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An Equity and Empowerment Plan developed by Evanston city staff is scheduled for review by the City Council’s Human Services Committee tonight.

The plan, from Equity and Empowerment Coordinator Pat Efiom, says the goal of equity will be achieved “when all residents have access to the opportunities and resources necessary to satisfy their essential needs, advance their well-being and achieve their full potential, and where all barriers and biases — institutional and individual — that limit access to those opportunities and resources have been eliminated.”

The plan calls for creating an Equity and Empowerment Commission that would develop a three-year strategic plan by next June, monitor discrimination complaints, provide community education and training and evaluate progress toward goals and objectives.

It also calls for providing a comprehensive equity training program for aldermen, staff and volunteer boards on issues of equity, diversity and inclusion.

City Council members are scheduled to get an equity training session from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday in the Aldermanic Library.

The plan also calls for holding three focus group meetings to develop ideas on how to broaden participation by underrepresented groups in City Council and on boards and commissions.

Three of the city’s nine aldermen are African-American, roughly double the percentage of blacks in the city’s population, but none of the aldermen are Hispanic or members of other minority groups.

In a recent survey of residents, black respondents were more likely than members of other racial or ethnic groups to say that they had recently attended a City Council meeting.

The plan also calls for examining the city’s hiring practices and salary and promotion practices to promote equity in the workforce.

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