Racial Equity and Inclusion

Equity graphicRacial Equity and Inclusion

In June, following the death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, in Minneapolis, MN, Wheat Ridge City Council passed Resolution No. 35-2020, a resolution condemning racism.  The resolution stated that “racism and hate have no place in our City. There is much work to be done to stop pervasive, long-standing, and devastating racial injustices in our community.” 

On September 21, 2020, City Council provided direction to staff to implement the following initiatives:

  1. Frequent and ongoing equity and bias training for City staff and elected officials in order to understand, recognize and mitigate personal biases that perpetuate discrimination.
  2. Creation of a Race and Equity Task Force by the City Council to represent diverse and multiple perspectives.
  3. The Race and Equity Task Force will be tasked with reviewing City policies, services, and ordinances, as well as inequities in community systems and report recommendations for Wheat Ridge to become a more inclusive and responsive community.

Equity and Bias Training for City Staff and Elected Officials

The City of Wheat Ridge is dedicated to continuous improvement and self-reflection particularly in the areas of inclusion and equity. The City conducted a robust and engaging three-part anti racism and inclusion training for supervisory staff in October.

Additionally, City Council will undergo an implicit bias training at an upcoming study session.  More details on the date and facilitator of that training will be available when that information is finalized.

Race and Equity Task Force

The City of Wheat Ridge is seeking applicants to serve on a Task Force focused on advancing racial equity. The Race and Equity Task Force is directed to carry out a thorough review of City policies, services, and ordinances to identify policies and practices that contribute to discrimination. The Task Force will provide updates to City Council and will report recommendations, including ways in which success will be measured toward becoming a more inclusive and responsive community. Members will be expected to serve for at least one year. 

To qualify as a member of the Race and Equity Task Force you must 1) be a Wheat Ridge resident or have a connection to the city of Wheat Ridge (for at-large members), and 2) Be able to participate in bi-monthly evening meetings (virtual initially, may be in-person at a later date)

Apply for the Race and Equity Task Force

The Race and Equity Task Force will open for applications Monday, Nov. 2, 2020. The deadline to apply is Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020. For additional information please contact Assistant to the City Manager Marianne Schilling mschilling@ci.wheatridge.co.us or 303-235-2867.

What Else is the City Doing for Equity and Inclusion?

The following list includes examples of internal efforts related to equity and inclusion recently completed by City of Wheat Ridge staff.  This list is not exhaustive and continues to be updated.

  • The City Manager held three City-wide employee listening sessions to gather employee perspectives and fears following the death of George Floyd and to generate ideas for the organization. One initial takeaway was to create a staff resource guide to help spur self-education through articles and webinars from existing City providers and partners. 
  • The City is committed to developing a work force that reflects the diversity and composition of the community it serves, and honors and respects the differences and abilities of all the employees and residents. This policy provides a level playing field for City job applicants and is linked with a commitment to non-discriminatory management of a diverse work force. 
  • The City’s website can be instantly translated on demand into over 100 languages and the City provides closed captioning for videos on YouTube. Recent community outreach meetings have also included sign language and Spanish language interpretation. 
  • The City plans to update its communication style guide and train staff on its use to eliminate gender identifications, references to “citizens”, language around ability, and other areas of written and verbal communication. 
  • The Wheat Ridge Police Department’s Community Advisory Group (CAG) provides a forum for open dialogue about the delivery of law enforcement services. In June, the Police Chief and City Manager presented a virtual community meeting on policing procedures and policies that was hosted by the CAG.
  • The Police Department has updated the “Response to Resistance” policy (formerly Use of Force) and the department met with the NAACP in September to discuss issues related to racism in policing.
  • All members of Police Department staff (sworn and non-sworn) have completed in-service training on Ethics for Law Enforcement, Anti-Bias, and Racial Profiling.
  • Parks and Recreation staff are working on a policy draft for inclusion and equity, which is a National Recreation and Parks Association initiative. 
  • Parks and Recreation includes family locker rooms at the Recreation Center which allow individuals to choose the restroom that makes them most comfortable.