Peoria County leaders want to address what they call systematic racism in the community

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A man holds up a sign during a protest, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, in Cleveland. Racism trips up Black police candidates at the very beginning of the application process and as they seek later promotion, complicating efforts to make law enforcement agencies more diverse, say numerous experts and Black police associations and officers. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Peoria City council members are coming up with a plan to address and eliminate racism in the community.

Earlier this year, Mayor Jim Ardis and Councilwoman Rita Ali created a Racial Justice and Equity coalition that included Chairman Rand, the County Administrator, interested citizens, business leaders and public officials. The purpose of the coalition was to identify recommendations to improve areas of racial justice and equity within the community.

Last month the coalition had a meeting, and during that discussion, staff proposed creating a Peoria City-County Commission on Racial Justice and Equity, consisting of 15-20 people.

(At least half of the members should be racially diverse. All members shall reside in Peoria County. At least half of the members will reside in the City of Peoria. At least two members shall be between the ages of 17 and 25 at the time of their appointment.)

Since then staff have been working on fixing the language in the proposal, and on Thursday (Oct. 29th) the item will be up for a vote during a special meeting with both Peoria City and County leaders.

Both bodies will have the option of approving or rejecting the proposal, however before they do so, they want to hear from you. They’re inviting and encouraging the public to watch the meeting that will be livestreamed on the city of Peoria’s YouTube page.

Those who wish to submit comments are encouraged to do so in advance of the meeting, by submitting their written statement to the Peoria County Clerk by email, fax, mail, or in-person drop-off by 12:00 p.m. on October 29.

If approved:

The mission of the Joint Commission on Racial Justice and Equity is to:

• Accelerate Efforts to Institutionalize Racial Justice and Equity within County and City Government and to Advance its Adoption Throughout the Region.

The vision of the Joint Commission on Racial Justice and Equity is:

• To End Racism in City and County Government and To Achieve Racial Equity and Justice Across Our Community.

The responsibilities of the Joint Commission on Racial Justice and Equity’s are to:

  1. Develop and distribute information about racial justice and equity in the City and County
  2. Promote educational activities that increase the understanding of racial justice and equity in the City and County.
  3. Recommend coordinated strategies for reducing inequity in racial justice and equity in the City and County.
  4. Develop a performance management platform for communicating progress towards achieving racial justice and equity.
  5. Advise the Peoria City Council and Peoria County Board, their executives, and City and County agencies about racial justice and equity in the County, and recommend policies, programs, legislation, or regulations necessary to reduce racial and social justice inequity.
  6. Subject Matter Experts: Engage select subject matter experts to obtain the best possible data and obtain the best possible evaluations of racial justice and equity impact
  7. Citizen Engagement: Engage a variety of citizen groups for the purpose of soliciting community feedback using a variety of techniques including, but not limited to, surveying, town hall meetings, and public forums.
  8. Submit an annual report by December 1 of each year to the Peoria City Council and Peoria County Board on the activities of the Committee.

The meeting starts at 6 p.m.

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