The Executive Board of the International City/County Management Association has issued a statement on systemic racism and some initial action steps to help local leaders confront the challenge.

“As leaders, we must work to achieve fundamental change to break the system of inequality and oppression that has tarnished nations for generations,” the statement says. “This inequality has been brought into sharp relief by the disproportionate economic losses and deaths of African Americans and people of color in the pandemic and horrifyingly so in the unjust murders of Black men and women.

“We must stand in solidarity with the Black community, with those who protest in peace, and with those taking a stand for change. We must see racism as a public health crisis and a stain upon our humanity.”

In an email to members yesterday, ICMA Executive Director Marc Ott said the statement leaves “no doubt on where this organization stands.”

As a first step, he said, the association is working to provide resources and tools “to support you on this journey over the days, months, and years ahead.”

Lexington Town Manager Jim Malloy, president-elect of the ICMA, said the association recognizes that “citizens are looking to local government for solutions” more than ever before.

“The ICMA has formed a new team to expand on the ICMA’s racial equity and inclusion work,” he said. “This team will be crafting short- and long-term strategies with the overall goal of providing ICMA members with content, training and tools to help them address issues of systemic racism that might exist in their own organizations.

“This work will require a multi-pronged effort to educate, inform and develop content and expertise. The ICMA will be creating sub-teams to tackle issues like policing, public health, and human and social needs, among others.”

On June 11, the ICMA published a special supplement of PM magazine with observations and commentary from local government leaders, along with resources for addressing the needs of your community and ways to take action. The supplement, Moments of Change: Leading with Courage and Commitment for Racial and Social Justice, is available free online.

ICMA staff will provide guidance on law enforcement challenges, beginning with a free webinar July 1 on the president’s new Executive Order on Law Enforcement, which will look at a range of concepts from public safety funding to citizen oversight of law enforcement.

Several of the ICMA’s Community Conversations series of free COVID-19-related webinars look at recovery and restoration of services through the lens of racial and social equity and inclusion. These include:
Sharpening the Focus on Social Equity to Make Strategic Budget Decisions
The Public Health Crisis and Racial Inequities
COVID-19 Equity Framework and Rapid Response Tool

The ICMA’s social justice resource hub, for members, includes ICMA research, reports and tools. And the upcoming ICMA Annual Conference, Unite: A Digital Event, will have a track focused on equity and inclusion.

The ICMA Connect network lets members ask questions and share resources with their peers.

Ott said the ICMA will be working with the Government Alliance on Race and Equity and others on additional training and workshop programs to be offered through ICMA University.

On the advocacy front, the ICMA is working with other state and local government organizations, including the National League of Cities, to determine the best way to work with Congress on legislation that would be supportive without undermining local authority.