IDA empowers place management leaders with knowledge, research and public policies for creating prosperous city centers, commercial neighborhoods and livable urban places for all. This means our work requires a continued commitment to sharing evolving best practices toward more inclusive growth. Later this month, we are hosting the first of several DEI Summits in partnership with the California Downtown Association. While I hope every IDA member takes advantage of this first opportunity, I am hopeful you will find a place within our community to continue this work.
We are all aware of the Derek Chauvin trial for George Floyd’s death currently underway in Minneapolis, and yet even as the trial is taking place, additional stories continue to break regarding race-based crimes in our communities. It’s difficult to comprehend why these injustices continue but if we recognize the long-term systemic nature of racism and exclusion then perhaps, we can also accept that changing the system will also be a lifelong endeavor. This is why it remains important IDA not only continues to educate, research and share innovative solutions for more inclusive growth but also doubles down on our commitment to do the necessary work and fully understand how to reshape our thinking.
The DEI program later this month will begin to focus directly on understanding the intersection of race and place, which together will shape our districts for decades to come. We will begin by first understanding the context we live within today. A context rooted in historic events and beliefs. A context fully understood by those with a lived experience of color and much less so by those where the system only provided opportunity. We will begin to recognize the individual responsibility we each have to understand the challenges ahead and the enormous collective opportunity we have through our organizations to effect change. I hope you will join me and your colleagues and begin shaping the equity lens we need for inclusive city building as we explore the vast ecosystem of civic partners that together will make our mission of livable urban places for all a true reality.