PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — City and county leaders are taking steps to address racial issues in the community.

In a joint meeting between the Peoria City Council and County Board Thursday night, both groups unanimously approved a Peoria City-County Racial Justice and Equity Commission.

The commission has several goals including:

  • to establish racially inclusive leadership
  • promotion of focused discussions on racial equity
  • The creation of a racial justice and equity strategic plan
  • formation of focused workgroups that advance pro-equity policies, procedures, and systems in various areas where racial inequities exist.

The joint commission will consist of 15-20 members of different races, ages, and genders who live in the county.

In addition to the commission, there will also be sub-committees focusing on issues in the justice system, child & youth development, economic development & jobs, environment & climate, health & human services, housing, information & technology, transportation, and mobility.

During Thursday’s meeting, there were also four comments submitted from community members, two against and two in favor of the commission.

Mayor Jim Ardis said a diverse input is exactly what they’re looking for.

“We’re moving this forward because it’s important,” Ardis said. “And for the people that might think this is unnecessary or that it’s not relevant, I would say that you should be involved as well. We need to hear diversions opinions here we need to have good discussions in our community.”

At-Large Councilwoman Rita Ali said training is funded through grant funds so it will not cost citizens anything.

Once the commission is formed, its meetings will be open to the public so everyone will be up-to-date on its status and progress.

City and county leaders said they’re hoping to form the commission as soon as possible and are encouraging the public to apply on the county board’s website.

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