Colorado Community Displays Partnership Signs
by Cheryl Glaubinger and the City of Lakewood, OH
Newcomers to Lakewood, CO, are likely to feel a warmer welcome from now on. The welcome signs at entrances to the city now announce that Lakewood is building an inclusive community.
What does that mean exactly? It means the city is working hard to make Lakewood a place where all residents feel connected and where the city council works to break down the “us versus them” mentality that sometimes separates government from citizens.
The enhanced signs also signal that Lakewood welcomes everyone — that city leaders view diversity as an asset and are working to reduce inequities.
“E Pluribus Unum — Out of Many, One,” said Lakewood Mayor Steve Burkholder. “Our nation was founded on the principle that all Americans are created equal and that all of us have a role to play in making democracy work.”
Mayor Burkholder helped spearhead the effort to have Lakewood join NLC’s Partnership for Working Toward Inclusive Communities. The partnership is an ongoing program, begun under the leadership of Immediate Past President James C. Hunt, councilmember, Clarksburg, W.Va. It continues to gather momentum, having grown to include 160 municipalities in 40 states, representing more than 16 million citizens.
“This is an important program to ensure that all of our residents are included and are part of the community,” said the mayor.
Lakewood’s Commission on Cultural Diversity and Human Relations also endorsed the program. The commission is conducting an audit for the city council to determine Lakewood’s current level of inclusiveness. The Lakewood city council passed a proclamation last year, committing the city to build an inclusive community.
Erecting the new signs is one step in fulfilling Lakewood’s commitment by announcing the city’s intent on its welcome signs. The new signs are posted at several major entryways as well as smaller entrances.
Details: For more information on the Partnership for Working Toward Inclusive Communities and to learn how a community can join, go to www.nlc.org/inclusivecommunities . Or contact Bill Barnes at (202) 626-3030 or [email protected] .
Source: National League of Cities.