City of Bloomington leaders have begun nine-month anti-racism training

BLOOMINGTON – City of Bloomington administration, appointed department heads, and elected officials have begun a nine-month anti-racism training course led by the Center for Equity and Inclusion (CEI).

Having completed an orientation session Friday, November 19, more than 30 City leaders participated in a three-day Leadership Intensive session on December 1, 2, and 3 that will be followed by eight monthly learning sessions. Mayor John Hamilton and City Clerk Nicole Bolden announced their commitment to providing and participating in anti-racism training in July 2020 and invited other City leaders to join in the training. 

Participating in this training continues the City’s ongoing efforts to address structural racism and promote equity within City programs and policies. The training is part of a comprehensive strategic racial justice vision for the City administration led by the Mayor, City Clerk, and City Council, and is supported in the City’s Plan to Advance Racial Equity.  

Mayor John Hamilton

“Inclusion is a touchstone for our community and this administration,” said Mayor Hamilton. “This intensive training helps City leaders build awareness and skills to advance anti-racism in our government and our city. Our history, locally and in this country, is a story of struggle and vision to improve our diversity, equity, and inclusion, in the face of sometimes brutal and intransigent barriers. We have made progress but still have a long way to go. This training is meant to help accelerate that journey together. ”

CEI’s training explores how racism functions in governmental programs, policies, and procedures and supplies tools and strategies to address structural racism and advance racial equity. The goal of the training is to begin to build capacity among City leaders to champion and direct diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts going forward.

The Portland, Or.-based CEI responded to the second of two RFQs for anti-racism training proposals issued by the City of Bloomington in 2020. Proposals were reviewed and applicants interviewed by a team including Clerk Bolden, Community, and Family Resources Director Beverly Calender-Anderson, Human Resources Director Caroline Shaw, and then-City Council President Steve Volan. The City announced that it had selected CEI as the training provider in May 2021. 

City Council President Jim Sims

“There is no quick-fix to eliminating the negative social impacts of systemic structural racism and implicit bias in our society,” said City Council President Jim Sims. “A key element in addressing racial inequities is to invest and participate in anti-racist training in order to educate our City administrators, staff, and elected officials to better understand how and why racism affects local government programs, policies, and strategies.”

Center for Equity and Inclusion (CEI) is an organizational change consultancy focused on advancing equity, diversity, and inclusion. BIPOC-owned and -led, CEI provides facilitated learning and tool-building to identify, address and close racial and economic disparities. Founded in 2015, CEI has partnered with over 100 organizations (non-profits, foundations, civic, education, and private sector) to re-envision and implement long-term organizational change.