Inclusion

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Today, Renton is considered “minority-majority,” as more than 51% of the population is represented by people of color. A dramatic 82% increase in population from 2000-2010 included a remarkable increase in the ethnic diversity. 

Studies have shown that residents from minority groups, especially those who speak a language other than English at home, are typically less engaged in the civic process and in government, and are less likely to access information and city services.

They are also at a higher risk of being disproportionately affected by disasters and are more susceptible to inequalities and discrimination. They also need to be more effectively engaged in efforts to promote common local government concerns such as crime prevention and emergency preparedness.

Renton has taken several steps to ensure residents are connected to the city and to each other:

Building an Inclusive City

Renton is focused on prioritizing and Implementing citywide programs and services in order to build an inclusive city with opportunities for everyone. Areas of emphasis include:
  • Creating a comprehensive road map with input from stakeholders to build on the goal of inclusion.

  • Building and strengthening the relationship with the city’s network of community liaisons and continuing to work with them to provide city programs, services, outreach, and enhance civic engagement.

  • Conducting a comprehensive analysis of city systems by using an inclusion and equity lens, and identified specific actions and policies to move towards a more inclusive city.

  • Facilitating ongoing training and workshops on inclusion and equity, and built capacity within the city to co-facilitate the workshops through a “train‐the‐trainer” curriculum.

  • Working with stakeholders and community leaders for community‐wide events promoting inclusion such as a Job Fair and Diversity Festival.

Mayor's Inclusion Task Force

The city adopted an innovative approach to connect with the various ethnic, cultural, and other diverse community groups. In 2008, it created a network of community leaders to represent these groups and act as a liaison between their communities and the city.

The Mayor's Inclusion Task Force "formalized" a loosely knit network of community leaders who represented minority groups to the city.

The task force currently includes over 30 individuals representing the following communities: African-Americans, Chinese-Americans, Indians, Sikhs, Somalis, Vietnamese, Sudanese, Filipino, Latinos, Ukrainians, LGBTQ, Senior, youth groups, and Muslim and other faith groups. 

Renton elected officials also serve on the task force which is led by the mayor. The full task force meets about five times a year, but subcommittees work on specific priorities year-round, such as planning and hosting community dialogues and forums, and planning festivals/events that celebrate Renton’s changing face.

Building an inclusive city infrastructure

  • Continued dedicated resources in Mayor’s office to provide expertise in inclusion and social justice to sustain inclusion goal strategies

  • Systematically reviewing and implementing policy changes to reflect inclusion and equity.

  • Created a citywide equity lens 

  • Systematically reviewing and implementing policy changes to reflect inclusion and equity.

  • Dedicated staff in HR to expand outreach and recruiting

  • Citywide staffing commitment to Inclusion efforts

  • Police Department volunteer group focused on building relationships with community

Renton African American Pastoral Group (RAAP)

The Renton African American Pastoral Group (RAAP) was established to create a community of trust through collaborative efforts and partnerships with African-American Pastoral leaders, Police Department and Mayor’s office.

Members work to identify barriers and opportunities that will aid the city in achieving both the short-term and long-term goal of becoming an informed, inclusive city with opportunities for all.

 

Improving Access to City Services

  • Created Speaker’s Bureau by  training community liaisons
  • Distributed emergency preparedness kits to community liaisons
  • Provided free blood sugar and blood pressure screenings as part of Renton’s Heart Month
  • Special Recreation Programs
  • Scholarships for recreation programs for low-income families
  • Free summer lunch to children from minority groups and low-income families
  • Senior Program
  • Established ongoing contract with Language Line vendor
  • Assistance available at various locations in city facilities
  • Completed citywide training
  • Ongoing outreach
  • Early data shows several departments using the service
  • Setting up system to track language and department use

Building Connections

  • Provided key information to the community by targeting ethnic media – newspapers, radio stations, and the local Hispanic TV station

  • Promote Understanding, Diversity and Inclusion

  • Created Center of Hope in former jail at City Hall, a day shelter for women and children to address homelessness

  • Participated in 2015  and 2016 Governing for Racial Equity conference in Seattle

  • Working on creating a regional group to create partnerships and leverage resources

Inclusive City – Renton Sets the Stage

  • 2015 National League of Cities 1st Place award

  • U.S. Conference of Mayors 2015 Livability Award

  • International City Managers Award 2015 Community Partnership Award

  • CNBC’s 2015 Most Diverse Cities—Renton ranks #6 of the nation’s 230 most populated cities

  • WalletHub 2016 Most Diverse Cities –Renton ranks #9 out of 313

Presentations and Media Coverage

Presentations

Media

  • Renton Builds an Inclusive City, One Step at a Time - MRSC Blog

  • A model city for a majority nonwhite future is in our own backyard - Crosscut.com


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