On Monday, Sept. 16, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle gave an address at the City Club of Chicago, “Advancing Racial Equity in Cook County: Closing the gap through policy and practice.” The address kicked off the first annual Racial Equity Week and highlighted her administration’s proven commitment to advancing racial equity. President Preckwinkle outlined innovative ways to reduce inequity in the areas of transportation, public health, and digital access.
“I am proud of the work Cook County and my administration is doing to advance racial equity, but I recognize there is still much work to be done before this vision is a reality,” said President Preckwinkle. “I look forward to more meaningful conversation during our first-ever Racial Equity Week and hearing feedback from both community members and County employees.”
Within the County’s racial equity efforts, President Preckwinkle implemented the Racial Equity Leadership Council and the Cook County Board of Commissioners established the Committee on Addressing Bias, Equity and Cultural Competency.
“It is vital that Cook County and all governments focus on racial equity,” said Cook County Commissioner Kevin Morrison (15th District). “For too long, governments have not only done too little to right historic wrongs as it relates to racial disparities in our society but have contributed to the systemic oppression of people of color. I’m proud to be working toward racial equity in Cook County with my colleagues, non-profit leaders, and advocacy groups through our work on the Committee on Addressing Bias, Equity, and Cultural Competency and am grateful to President Preckwinkle for her leadership on this issue.”
As President Preckwinkle noted in her address, racial equity intersects in different areas of government. A priority of the President’s administration has been reducing health disparities and helping to provide health insurance to more than 300,000 patients who previously lacked coverage.
“During my time as Cook County Commissioner of the 2nd district, I have focused on policy and practice on the intersection of equity and health,” said Cook County Commissioner Dennis Deer (2nd District). “That’s why this year, as chairman of the Human Relations Committee, I declared racism and racialinequalities as a public health crisis in Cook County. As President Preckwinkle expressed, to truly achieve equity, we must devote efforts to examine the health impact of racial discrimination and bias.”
“I look forward to participating in Racial Equity Week as Cook County begins translating its policy ideas and vision for the future into actionable and impactful efforts in our communities,” said Cook County Commissioner Alma Anaya (7th District). “As Co-Chair of the Committee on Addressing Bias, Equity, and Cultural Competency, I am committed to enhancing accessibility and inclusivity in our County services.”
President Preckwinkle explained how using an equity lens is the responsibility of government and how equity will translate into diverse, inclusive policy and quality services for residents.
“Cook County is a welcoming, inclusive, and open place for all of our residents to live and work,” said Cook County Commissioner Stanley Moore (4th District). “Racial Equity Week allows for the County to continue in its efforts toward racialequity in the workplace and with each other. We want to fulfill our commitment to providing quality services for the residents who we serve.”
Schedule of Events
- Wednesday, Sept. 18, 3:00 – 5:00 pm: President Preckwinkle will host a Forum at the Museum of Mexican Art with Commissioner Alma Anaya (7th District) residents and community partners to envision how Cook County can achieve racial equity and how government can provide the framework to achieve that vision
- Thursday, Sept. 19, 8:00 – 10:00 am: President Preckwinkle will host a Showcase to celebrate the work of Offices Under the President fellows who recently completed the Chicago United for Equity 2019 Fellowship Program
- Friday, Sept. 20, 2:00 pm: President Preckwinkle will moderate a discussion on the intersection of public policy and public art in advancing racial equity with artists Faheem Majeed and Jeremiah Hulsebos-Spofford of the Floating Museum collective at EXPO Chicago on Friday, September 20 at Navy Pier in view of their large-scale sculpture, Founders Inflatable. Learn more about their work here: (https://floatingmuseum.org)