87th Winter Meeting: Friday Morning Plenary

87th Winter Meeting: Friday Morning Plenary


(audience chattering) – Good morning everyone. – [Audience Members] Good morning. It’s now my honor to
announce this year’s winners for our Mayors’ National
DollarWise Campaign. DollarWise has historically been focused on financial education and helping people manage their money. Hundreds of cities have participated, but the new DollarWise
Campaign will address a broader set of issues to promote economic mobility. It’s not enough just to help tell people how to manage their paychecks. We need to really address
how those paychecks can grow. That’s why the campaign now, the new campaign, will focus more on economic mobility, removing barriers to opportunity and helping individuals and families move up the economic
ladder by acquiring assets, starting businesses, and also owning a home. So we’re excited about this
new DollarWise mission, and we encourage all
the mayors to join us. So for starters in February, we’re gonna encourage
everyone to participate in our Economic Mobility Survey. We’ve had some really
good participation lately in surveys we’ve sent out to you all, so the only way we can have really good information
data is if you participate, so we want you to participate. I have a good friend who
says that, “In God we trust. “Everyone else give me data.” Okay? So we need data from each
and every one of you, so between now and April 15th, we encourage all mayors also to promote VITA sites and free
tax assistance programs to low and moderate income residents. In the summer we hope
that all of our mayors will register for our
Summer Youth Campaign to help expand job opportunities for children in our communities. Help our youth participate
in the Summer Youth Contest. So onto our awards. This year DollarWise awarded
five Innovation Grants. Each of our winning cities this year will receive a $10,000 DollarWise Grant, made possible by DollarWise’s
founding sponsor, the Bank of America. So I’m gonna ask each of the mayors receiving a 2019 DollarWise
Grant to join me on stage to accept their awards, and to individually say a few words. Our first DollarWise winner is Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, whose award will go to expand the city’s Summer Youth Employment Program, focusing on youths whose
parents are immigrants or returning from incarceration. Mayor Sheehan, congratulations. (audience applause) – Thank you so much, and I wanna thank Bank of America for the transformation
that is going to occur in the lives of the young people who are going to participate in a very deep immersive eight-week program for which they’ll be paid. We are a refugee resettlement community, and we welcome refugees
who are coming from war-torn countries and from trauma. We’re also a community that suffers from the mass incarceration of our
black and brown residents, and so we have a lot of young people who have parents who are incarcerated. So we’re gonna laser focus
on those two populations, and give them a deep immersion
into what is possible, because like many of our cities we are a city where we have employers who can’t find people to fill jobs. And part of it is because
we have not linked in the imagination of our young people what is possible for them, what their future can be, that is so bright and so wonderful, and so we are so grateful for this grant. And we hope to take this, to look at our outcomes,
and then to scale it up. Because this is something
that for a small investment is going to transform not just the lives of the people who participate, but hopefully neighborhoods
and the entire city of Albany, New York. Thank you very much. (audience applause)
– Thank you, Mayor Sheehan. The mayor of Dayton, Ohio, Nan Whaley will receive a DollarWise Grant as well, to expand a legal clinic
for underserved residents remove barriers to employment. Mayor Whaley. – Thank you, Mayor Benjamin.
(audience applause) Thank you all. The Miami Valley Community
Action Partnership’s Employment Legal Clinic seeks to remove barriers to employment. Reinstating drivers’ licenses for people who have had them suspended is critical in this effort. Clinics provide one-on-one
legal assistance to help people navigate
the very complex process of getting driving privileges restored. Last year, 1.1 million Ohioans, 12% of all licensed drivers in Ohio, had their driver’s license suspended. The fees and fines associated with restoring licenses are tough for people in poverty to pay, trapping people in to a further cycle downward in poverty. I wanna thank Bank of America for this, and the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and I also wanna commit the
leadership of the Conference to move this to make sure
that we start working on economic mobility to really lift our communities forward. Thank you for this award. (audience applause)
– Thank you Nan. Thank you Nan. The mayor of Lansing,
Michigan, Andy Schor, will receive a grant to expand the city’s Child Savings Account program. Mayor Schor. (audience applause) – Thank you Mayor Benjamin, and thanks to Bank of America. As you said, Children’s
Savings Accounts, or CSAs, are a valuable financial inclusion tool. In Lansing we established Lansing SAVE, which is the Student
Accounts Valuing Education. In January of 2015, SAVE
opens a savings account for any post-secondary
educational pursuit. Kids get this at the time of Kindergarten, so they get it when
they’re K through four. They get seeded with
a five dollar account, and six times per year a city staff member and an educator visit each SAVE classroom to deliver age-appropriate
financial education and take deposits to the account. Because of these monthly visits, we now have one of the
highest participation rates in a CSA in the nation at 27%. This grant will allow
for equity in Lansing. It will allow for the dollars that families spend on groceries, including dollars which
come from SNAP benefits, to help to fund these savings accounts. So through this program, the rewards will be
earned through spending at a local grocery chain, and will be deposited directly into those students’ accounts. We’re excited to give
families who struggle to save an opportunity to build for college and save for trade school or whatever post-secondary educational
pursuit they desire. So thanks again to the Conference and thanks to Bank of America. (audience applause)
– Thank you Mayor Schor. Thank you. New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell is gonna use her DollarWise grant to provide skills training and mentorship to youth in the juvenile detention system. Mayor Cantrell. (audience applause) – Good morning and thank you,
President Mayor Benjamin. Eight months ago when I took office, I created by executive order the Office of Youth and Families. In the city of New
Orleans the mayor oversees our juvenile detention center, the mayor. At that time, 32% of
our young people there were attending the school
that is located and housed in the Youth Study Center. Today I tell you 98% of our young people are going to class. Now, leveraging the
resources through DollarWise made possible by Bank of America, we will be laser focused on
equally and economic mobility as it relates to our young people there, attaching them with programs that we know that will reduce recidivism. This is a tremendous, tremendous priority for me as mayor in the
city of New Orleans. We cannot do it alone. And an example of that is this
partnership created today. So I wanna thank you so much. Thank you, Bank of America. Thank you, DollarWise. The Welcoming Project that is our partner, helping our young people
at the Youth Study Center in the city of New Orleans. Thank you so much. (audience applause) – Thank you, Mayor Cantrell. The mayor of Reno,
Nevada, Hillary Schieve, will use her DollarWise grant
to help homeless citizens obtain work readiness and home ownership. Congratulations, Hillary. – Thank you, thank you.
(audience applause) Thank you, I’m so incredibly honored, but you know these things don’t happen without a lot of hard
work from other people, and so I wanna really recognize one of my council members. She’s not here today, so I hope someone’s tweeting this or do
Facebook Live or something. But I wanna say thank you
to Councilwoman Jardon for her hard work on this program. This program is really incredible. It’s 12 weeks long, and we
take people from our shelter that want jobs and wanna
be part of the community. And we work with them for about 12 weeks, and then after that they have a permanent job and permanent housing. And so this program has
really been very successful, and it really has changed sort of the face of what we’ve done when
working with people that are in these vulnerable situations. So I just wanna say thank
you, Bank of America. I’m so proud, I’m so incredibly proud. And thank you to DollarWise, and Mayor Benjamin, thank you for everything that you’ve done. – [Steve] Thank you, Hillary.
– Thanks. I’m super excited.
(audience applause) – Don’t you just love the creativity that we have seen here this morning? It is fantastic. Again, please join me in
welcoming and congratulating all these incredible mayors and DollarWise for their support of this program, all that we’re doing to help promote economic mobility. Obviously none of this would be possible without the founding
sponsor of DollarWise, Bank of America. I’d like to ask Steve Fitzgerald of Bank of America in Charlotte,
Charitable Foundation, to say a few words. (audience applause) – Well thank you Mayor Benjamin, and really, congratulations to these outstanding organizations. And I think you heard
just what the opportunity that this program will
allow them to pursue in their cities. It’s great to be with you all today. And just a couple of
things I’d like to say. I mean at Bank of America we too are committed to helping
make financial lives better for those that we serve. And it’s really partnerships like this with the U.S. Conference of Mayors that we can really address
this important issue of economic mobility. We’re proud to be the founding sponsor for nearly 15 years. Over 80 cities have participated in this wonderful program, but it really starts with the hard work of those individuals that
you heard at the city and really working on the front lines. And I think we all recognize that it really starts with making
sound financial decisions, really at the point of opportunity and the point of need for the individuals. And I think you heard that
so eloquently described in all of these programs. And so forming partnerships
with organizations across the country like the
U.S. Conference of Mayors really is at the core of our strategy at Bank of America, of creating economic mobility. So I just wanna thank you for this longstanding partnership. I’d also like to especially
thank Mayor Benjamin. I’d like to thank Tom Cochran, Dave Gatton from the U.S.
Conference of Mayors, and lastly all of the wonderful cities that you heard this morning, talking about their wonderful programs. We know your work is
tremendously meaningful. You’re really on the front lines of really creating and changing the lives of individuals in these
cities and across the country. So we’re proud to be a
sponsor of this program, and we look forward to
following the continued success. And I would encourage all of our mayors and those in the audience, if you haven’t taken a
look at the opportunities through programs like this, and I know you will, it really is something that I think can really make a difference
in every community that we serve. So thank you again, Mayor Benjamin. Thank you, U.S. Conference of Mayors, and thank you to all the cities that we recognized this morning. (audience applause) – Again, thank you Steve and thank you to the Bank of America Charitable Foundation for your incredible support. At this time, this is a
bittersweet moment for me to recognize on behalf of all of us a leader in our
organization who’s gonna be leaving office before our
annual meeting this summer. Jim Schmitt has served
as the mayor of Green Bay for four terms, and is the second longest
mayor in Green Bay’s history. Mayor Schmitt served as Chair of our Children, Health & Human
Services Standing Committee for six years, guiding
policy on nutrition, health care, substance abuse and obesity. In 2016 the city of Green Bay was awarded second place
in the Medium City category for our Childhood Obesity Awards programs. He’s also served on our Advisory Board and on our Executive
Committee as a trustee. And if you know Jim, you know that no conversation is complete without a reference to or an invitation to see his hometown team, the
four-time Super Bowl champions, the Green Bay Packers. Please join me in thanking
Jim Schmitt for his service to the city of Green Bay and the United States Conference of Mayors. (audience applause) – Well thank you Mr. Mayor. God that’s not necessary, thank you. Well thank you, I I’m gonna miss this. To correct you, Mr. Mayor,
I’m the longest serving mayor in Green Bay’s history and
I think one of the reasons is because of the U.S.
Conference of Mayors. The Conference has kept me
updated on relevant issues that I can take back to Green Bay. So many of you have
shared your best practices with the city of Green Bay, and I’ve taken those back
to really help our community and I think the second reason I’m the longest serving mayor is I’m just a damn good mayor. (audience applause) I love being a mayor. I’m gonna, I don’t know what I’m gonna do. I’ve been thinkin’ about
it a lot and I’m not sure, but I want you to know that I will always have your back. I’ll pray for you every day that you make the right decisions for you and your family and your city. And we’re all in this thing together, and it’s true about mayors. They really make a difference, and I’m so grateful to Elizabeth Kautz, Tom Cochran, especially Benjamin for all the support you’ve
given me, my family, and the city of Green Bay. Thank you, God bless you. (audience applause) This is awesome. – You’re awesome. – All right. – Let me take a picture with you. Okay. We’re good? Thank you. – [Steve] Thank you, brother. – Yeah. – Gonna miss Jim. When I became Conference
President the last May and again at our annual
meeting in Boston in June, I announced our plans to establish a Mayors and Business Leaders Center on Inclusive and Compassionate Cities. We launched our Center in
November in Montgomery, Alabama. We started off our sessions there with a visit to Legacy Museum and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, and a wonderful conversation,
a meaningful conversation with Bryan Stevenson, the
founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, and the guiding force behind
the new museum and memorial. Those visits and that session clearly grounded our further discussions and contributed greatly to our launch. I’m pleased to report that our Center has now begun its efforts
to maintain a page dedicated to the work of the Center on the Conference’s website, to collect and disseminate best practices using the website, to provide information and assistance directly to other mayors
and other city officials, to hold sessions like this one, in conjunction with our
regular conference meetings, and also to facilitate
conversations on key issues affecting inclusiveness
and compassion among mayors and between mayors and business leaders. We know that our Center is needed, and we know that this creation
is particularly timely. This is a difficult time in America. Racism, hate, bigotry that many thought were waning in our country has re-emerged in recent years. In too many of our cities
they’ve confronted us, very painfully in Pittsburgh, in Louisville just this last October. So while public attention is captured by the scale of these tragic incidents that other cities have also experienced, we know that racism, hate and bigotry have a quiet and persistent presence in too many of our communities
throughout our country. That’s why this Center is so important. It provides a vehicle to bring mayors, business leaders and others together to explore ways, explore initiatives that we can all work together to help us build the types of cities
that we wanna build, the cities that reflect the
very best values of America. The cities that our residents need, want, and that they deserve. We’re gonna do this
right here and right now, the discussion with two business leaders whose companies are supporting our Center, two mayors who’ve
undertaken exemplary efforts in their cities, and with the person whose organization helped us begin this
very important promise. So we’re pleased to have
with us today Amy Hill. Amy is the senior director
of public affairs, state and local government
relations for Walmart. Dalila, please. (audience applause) Otherwise known as Joe Hill’s mom, right? All right. Dalila Wilson-Scott, Dalila’s
a senior vice president, community impact, for Comcast Corporation and president of the Comcast
NBCUniversal Foundation. (audience applause) We have Jonathan Greenblatt,
the national director and CEO of the Anti-Defamation League. (audience applause) We’re blessed, two great
public sector leaders. The mayor of Hillsboro,
Oregon, Mayor Steve Callaway. (audience applause) And the mayor of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Sharon Weston Broome. (audience applause) You all, please be
seated and I’d be remiss if I didn’t start this
session off to say that Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait is not with us, but I would truly be remiss
if I didn’t recognize Greg Fischer, the mayor
of the city of Louisville, Steve Adler, the mayor
of the city of Austin, just for the incredible
work that they’ve done in laying the foundation of just us understanding how
intentional we’ve got to do to make sure we’re not
only building compassionate and inclusive cities but also focus on making sure our cities
are equitable, and that everyone has a chance to live and thrive in our cities, and understanding our role in making sure that that is a reality. So I wanna thank you brothers
for your work in that space. Thank you so much. (audience applause) We’re gonna start, we’re
gonna start with Jonathan. Jonathan, our work in this
space formally started in our partnership with ADL, post the violence and deadly demonstrations
in Charlottesville. We teamed up immediately. Got our Mayors’ Compact
to Combat Hate and Bigotry and Extremism, and a 10-point pledge to work together, and I think very quickly we got up to 325 mayors who signed on to make the commitment. Would you please talk a
little bit about ADL’s efforts over the arc of history? – [Jonathan] Sure. – It’s been incredible work that benefits all of humanity, and also talk about how you’re partnering
with not just the USCM but other national organizations
to support local efforts to reduce hate, extremism, and build compassionate, inclusive cities. – Sure, well thank you Mayor
Benjamin for the introduction and for giving me the
chance to be on the panel. I also wanna thank the remarkable team at U.S. Conference of Mayors, Tom Cochran, Laura Waxman. You guys, you do such
great work every day. Yeah, for those who don’t know, the Anti-Defamation League or the ADL is a global anti-hate organization, and one of the oldest
civil rights organizations in the United States. We use advocacy, education,
and work with law enforcement to fight antisemitism
and all forms of hate. And I’m proud that we have
leaders across the country, ’cause we have offices in 25 states, who include some remarkable people, including the former chair
of our regional board in Austin, Texas, Mayor Steve Adler, who’s with us today and part of the leadership of the U.S. Conference. (applause) So we are very focused
on tracking extremism. We’ve seen a rise of hate and
extremism in this country. We all know about the fact that antisemitic incidents leapt 57% in 2017, the largest single spike
that we have ever seen in 40 years of tracking this information. And of course that was very manifest in what happened in Charlottesville, where you had white supremacists gather for the largest such
rally that we had seen in more than 15 years. They came from all over the country and descended on that city, and the manifestation of
hate that was so apparent, and the inexplicable inability of leaders at the highest
level to call it out, got me on the phone literally
just hours afterwards with Mayor Adler and with Tom. We said, “What can we do about this?” And we together came up with this notion of a Mayors’ Compact. So see at the ADL we have
anti-bias education for kids. We reach over a million
K through 12 students around the United States, and we have anti-bias
training for law enforcement. We’re the leading trainer
of law enforcement in the country on extremism and hate. Many big cities and small
towns use our training, and we work on advocacy,
on legislation ordinances like the things that Mayor Benjamin has pioneered in South Carolina. So we basically put
together a 10-point plan that mayors could introduce to inoculate their communities against hate. And I think it’s a nice
complement and part of the Compassionate Cities
Initiative, Mayor Benjamin, which you’ve launched
and which is so important I think to everyone here in this room. In addition, we’re very
focused on this notion of how can we help
communities build capacity? So working with Mayor Signer, Mike Signer from Charlottesville, we launched an initiative called Communities Overcoming Extremism. It’s an effort again to help
mayors and elected officials build capacity on the ground. We held, we have two summits. We had a summit for public sector leaders at which Mayor Benjamin spoke, that was held in St. Louis
just a few months ago. We have another one coming
up that’ll take place in Silicon Valley, in the Bay Area, in the spring of this year. The goal is to see how
can we share our tools to make elected officials
more effective again at immunizing their towns, their cities, from extremism before it happens. And I’ll just tell you, this
stuff really has a toll. I was in the last session
that Mayor Peduto did. And we all know what happened
in Pittsburgh last October, and literally yesterday our analysts released this report
called Murder and Extremism in the United States. We tracked 50 extremist-related
deaths in 2018, and I need to note all of them happened, all of them were perpetrated
by right wing extremists, white supremacists and their ilk. So don’t let anybody tell
you this is just rhetoric, it doesn’t really matter. It does matter, it costs lives, and we all have an obligation, whether we’re in the public
sector or the private sector, to do what we can to make
our communities safer. – Thank you so much, Jonathan. Walmart has played an important role in establishment of the Center. Amy Hill’s been a longtime
friend of the Conference, worked very closely with Tom and our staff in helping design what we’re doing here. Actually I’m not sure
if we were actually able to get the question out, will you help us, before Amy and Walmart
said yes, we’re on board. Amy, would you please talk about the role of the business community, maybe some things that
are happening at Walmart to help us build inclusive
and compassionate cities? – Absolutely, thank you
very much Mayor Benjamin. And you’re right, it was
within days of Charlottesville that I called Tom and just said, “I commend what the mayors, “or we at Walmart commend
what the mayors have “done with the ADL, signing that compact.” I mean, to have 325
mayors sign in 48 hours or whatever the time
frame was was incredible. But there’s gotta be more we can do. The business community, Walmart, we’re in your communities. You’re running the cities but we’re walking every step of the way with you. And so for us, this is
impacting all of us as well. And so we are very, we’re very proud, we’re very humbled to try and help build
this Center with you, because I think it is just, this is too important of
a time in our history. It’s too critical that we
just sit by on our hands and not do anything. I don’t have the answers. I know we don’t all have the answers, but we have to figure this out together, and it has to be mayors,
and it has to be business and it has to be ADL and
other community groups. This just cannot be tolerated any longer. And I implore everybody
on the Business Council, at the U.S. Conference of Mayors or even businesses who are not currently engaged with the Conference, this is something we all have to do. This is something we all
have to be involved in. No one entity can fix this, so sorry. That’s my soapbox, but this has just been so important to us for the last year that I just hope that
everybody leaves today and thinks what can I
do to become involved with the Center. But that being said, Walmart for us diversity and inclusivity is part of our culture. I mean, it’s one of our
founding principles, is respect for the individual. And we are only going to be
the company we want to be when we treat our employees, when we treat each other
with respect and dignity. And so it’s a part of our culture. It’s a part of what we do, and when we have employees and associates who feel empowered, they’re obviously going to be more productive. They’re going to be happier. They’re going to provide
better customer service. They’re going to give you all as customers a better shopping experience. And so it’s something that’s, it’s just ingrained within us. Whether it’s raising wages, providing job training, education benefits, college tuition for a dollar a day. Whether it’s providing $300,000 as we did a couple of
days ago to the food bank and the Coast Guard Foundation here to make sure that we’re supporting the federal workers who are
not collecting paychecks, it makes our associates feel that they are part of the communities of which they are working in as well. And so to us it’s really a core, it’s really fundamental. Diversity is one thing. It’s wonderful, we’re a
very diverse workforce. We have 22% African Americans,
14% Latino Americans who are working for us, part of the 1.5 million
people who work for Walmart in the United States
alone, but it’s not enough. It has to be inclusion. It has to be that everybody feels that they can come to work, feel safe, be themselves, be empowered to express their feelings. So we’re really happy, we’re really humbled to be
working with the Conference, to be working with Comcast and with Pepsi. I know they’re not able to be here, but hopefully again all
businesses will get involved. – [Steve] Coca-Cola. – Coca-Cola, excuse me. You know, it’s Pepsi, isn’t it? Coca-Cola? And Pepsi, I’m sure they’re
both involved, how’s that? (laughing) Sorry I was on such a roll, too. Anyways, but thank you–
– Like the whole screen shuts down, wrong sponsor. (audience laughing)
I’m sorry. – Just like you know, I mean even from Amazon
or something, right? (audience laughing) Just not gonna happen, sorry. Anyways, thank you. – Thank you Amy. Thank you so much. Wanna shift over to Mayor Callaway. I spent some time with the mayor of Hillsboro, Oregon recently, and he shared an experience that he had with some folks in the community. And it reminded me of
a conversation I had, I think it may have been
with Chris Cabaldon, the mayor of West Sacramento, in which we talked about our role as, we work close with the business community. We wanna make sure that
all of our citizens get good customer service. The reality is that our job as mayors is actually to help our
citizens be citizens, to understand that they
have a higher role, and I would say we have a higher role in pulling the very best out of them as we work to create these
wonderful communities. Steve, please. – Thank you. Hillsboro is a city of
about 100,000 people, west of Portland about 15 miles, and we have a strong,
dynamic presence of Latinos. We have a very diverse community. And I was in Eugene in September, and somebody made a comment
to me about Hillsburrito. And so I challenged that individual on why he said it, and you can see as I processed it, my engagement with him, while I rode home from Eugene, it was kind of a cathartic
process of tweeting about it. And it was kind of a
love letter to my city. I had sent it out, I tweeted it at about 11:30 at night. I kinda figured it would be
buried in social media feeds by the next morning, but it wasn’t. It was picked up by local media, TV, radio and papers, and it really became just
something that was very, people really responded to it. And there were a few professional trolls, you know, who mocked it, but overwhelmingly the
response was positive. And you know, your speech last year where you talked about we are our brothers’ keepers,
our sisters’ keeper, that resonates with me, and to have the next
day a Latino gentleman come up to me and say,
“I was born and raised “in Hillsboro, and I have hated that term “all my life. “It’s good to know my mayor has my back.” And I’m a retired principal, and one of the schools that I was at had migrant camps. And so a girl that was a third grader, for a year in my school, 20 years later this last
fall she came up to me. And she said, “Mr. Callaway, “I know you won’t remember me, “’cause I only went to
your school for one year. “But you always told me
you were proud of me. “And I want you to know I’m proud of you.” And I’ll tell ya, that was so profound and drove home the point that as mayors
we have a moral authority that comes with our position, and we just can’t squander it. We can’t let go of the influence that comes with our
power and our authority. – Thank you Steve, thank
you so much. (applause) – Dalila, as a business leader and the head of a significant
corporate foundation you bring a unique perspective
to this discussion. Can you tell us how Comcast, and what Comcast is doin’ in this space, and through I guess nationally, and locally as well through
its philanthropic activities? – Of course. One, just thank you Mayor Benjamin for having us here, and also just thank
you for your leadership on this initiative. I mean it was George Washington, our first president, who said, “To bigotry no sanction, “and to persecution no assistance.” And that was him describing
the government’s role in this work and I can’t
think of a better time to reinforce that message. And mayors at the–
(audience applause) Mayors of course are at
the front lines of that every single day. You don’t have the luxury of hiding when these events happen in your cities across the country and our
cities across the country. So Comcast is proud to get
behind you and USCM on this. So at Comcast I think, you know, to Amy’s point Walmart
like many companies, we think about diversity all the time. Many companies have committed to diversity from a representation standpoint. We’re proud of our numbers
but the work is never done. So 50% of employees are
reporting to someone that’s a woman or a person of color. When we look at our on-air talent, a third of the talent is persons of color, over 50% are women, but we know that’s not enough. To the inclusion point, when we are recruiting diverse talent, because we wanna have diverse teams build the best product,
be most innovative. You really do have to
create an environment that’s about inclusion, and that means when people come to work are they feeling leveraged? Are they feeling valued? And so that means it has to be ingrained in your culture. It’s not about having a
chief diversity officer. It’s not about diversity function. Every single person, from the 40% of diverse members on our corporate board to a cable technician
coming into your home, needs to uphold that value. And that’s what we’ve been consistently trying to create around that, and kind of excited about the work we get to do in that space. But the last piece, that evolution, is just focusing on equity. So what are we doing to ensure access to people both in and
outside of the company? And so one, we have to remember that there’s a broad slate
of diverse individuals. It’s not just communities
of color or gender. It’s LGBTQ. It’s people with disabilities. There’s so many different communities and sub-communities that
we have to think about. And I think that’s important, so for us when I think
about ensuring access, two examples I’ll speak to. And again, we have commitments
to supplier diversity. We have a 20 million
dollar investment fund, where we focus on diverse entrepreneurs doing the best work in
technology and innovation. But last year we kicked
off a grant competition among 11 NBC affiliates
across the country. And we were overwhelmed with
the number of submissions that were focused specifically on initiatives around equity. So this year, we just launched that grant round again. It’ll be $2.5 million to different markets across the country. We added a category called
the Culture of Inclusion, because there’s so many non-profits that have to shift their focus because of everything
happening in the country, because of the extremism
that Jonathan mentioned. And we think that’s important. And I think the second piece, and we’ve been at this work for awhile, is just our commitment to
closing the digital divide. You know, it starts with
access to technology, but again we know that’s not enough. We have to equip people with the appropriate digital skills training. We know the future of work is training, the future of work is changing, and we wanna make sure all communities are able to fully access that skill set and truly strive for economic mobility. So and lastly I’ll just
say I wanna applaud you for partnering with ADL. I was just mentioning to Jonathan, there’s so many great non-profits that definitely value inclusiveness, but ADL has been at this a long time. They really have excellent tool kits. If any of you have
children or grandchildren in a No Place for Hate school, that’s ADL. Within 48 hours of the horrible events at Tree of Life in Pittsburgh, ADL had training to law
enforcement agencies all around the country, and we actually used that training for our own employees. Because when something like that happens, the first thing people, you’re shocked but you’re
like what can I do? And I think that’s important when we’re thinking about our talent and civic engagement, and for all the private
sector players in the room, your employee base is a powerful engine to support mayors in
our cities behind this. – Yes, thank you Dalila. Thank you very much. I’ve had the privilege over
the last several years, I think even before she took office, to develop a relationship
and a real friendship with Sharon Weston Broome
as she leads Baton Rouge. And we have occasion to talk and to text, and through all types of issues. And you had some real challenges, some from natural disasters to man-made disasters over a period of time, some difficult situations. So I’d love to hear what’s happenin’ in Baton Rouge as you
try to promote inclusion and compassion in your great city. – Thank you, Mayor. In 2016, I was running for mayor, and we had one of the most traumatic years in the history of Baton Rouge. We had an officer-involved shooting in the killing of Alton Sterling. Then right after that
we had three officers that were ambushed and assassinated. Then we had the Great Flood of 2016, and so when I had the blessing of becoming the mayor in 2017, these issues were still a part of the fabric of our community, and so it was my challenge to change the trajectory of what was going on in our community but to also usher in a new era of healing and equity, and inclusion was indeed a part of that, because as I went through 2016 there was a consistent message and theme, especially from communities of color, that we wanna feel a part of what’s going on in Baton Rouge. Not only do we wanna feel a part of it, but we want access to opportunities. And so I often say that
if we’re going to have a strong city and community, that equity and inclusion have to be dominant pillars of that. So when I came in office
I did an executive order to change the culture
of our city government by asking each department
head to take an evaluation of how they were being inclusive in their department hiring. From there we continued to start Equity in Business seminars throughout the city of Baton Rouge. We are unbundling contracts right now to give entrepreneurs and DBEs opportunities within
city-parish government. So we’re taking some
very intentional steps, and I will say that you
have to be very intentional to have a fabric of equity and inclusion in your community. We are looking forward to a major project that’s going to be
happening in Baton Rouge where we’re doing a major
infrastructure project, and my commitment to the
citizens of our community, that there are going to
be 3,000 potential jobs, and I want those jobs to be representative of the people of our
community of Baton Rouge. And so making sure that whatever we do represents the demographics
of our city and parish has to be very intentional, and that’s one of my mandates. (audience applause)
– Fantastic, thank you. Jonathan, I know you’re
always thinkin’, man. What you thinkin’ right
now as you get feedback from these business leaders and mayors? – Well, I mean I think it’s
interesting in a few ways. I think number one I have great admiration for both of you as elected leaders. The idea of making sure again your staffing, your support
reflects your community is so important, and I also think you demonstrated a kind
of courage in Hillsboro which we don’t often see, and again modeling a very different kind of leadership we’re
seeing unfortunately here in Washington. When you hear something you say something. Like your constituents count on you to represent the diversity
of the communities and the values we all uphold at home. And so I’m just, I’m grateful to see this kinda leadership here, and I also appreciate the fact that you’ve got companies
like Comcast and Walmart and Coca-Cola who are putting their money where their mouth is. And you know, demonstrating that you can put dollars not just in the interest of your shareholders, but
because you care about your stakeholders and stepping up in the ways that we’ve heard
about here this morning. Look, fighting hate is
all of our responsibility, whether you’re in
business or elected office or in civil society. So whether using ADL’s
toolkits that Dalila was kind enough to mention, or you’re finding ways
to use the resources that the U.S. Conference
of Mayors provides, I think this work is everybody’s priority. – Amen, amen. And again, that intentionality, Mayor Weston Broome you talked about, understanding that inclusion
actually does mean inclusion, that we’re not just
talking about diversity. We’re talking about including everyone. And if we’re speaking
the language of love, then indeed we are creating opportunities for everyone to have a seat at the table and to realize that if you
take out that legal pad and you write down the
10 most important things to every family in this room, eight of them are the same. And understanding that
everyone wants a shot, wants a chance to not just to live, but to succeed and thrive
in this wonderful country that we call home, but does
require intentionality. It does require stepping up when you’ve got to step up, and the ADL has done a fantastic job in articulating the fact
that activism without action is just a conversation,
it’s just a conversation. And we’ve all had more
than enough conversations. We’ve got to act, we’ve got to act. We’ve got to be very deliberate in making sure we bring
our communities together. – [Jonathan] Can I just
say one other thing I should have said, Mr. Mayor?
– Absolutely. – The one thing that I think
is an important message that we all should take away is there is nothing political
in fighting prejudice. (applause) So there are some who would suggest that there is something
partisan in calling out hate. That couldn’t be more
wrong, more incorrect, ’cause this isn’t about right and left, it’s about right and wrong. And so I wanna make sure that we leave a very clear impression. There’s nothing partisan about stepping up when you hear hate. (audience applause)
– We’ve got a lot of work to do, and a lot of time left actually too so Steve, please. – Just a quick comment. You know, in private conversations I can be pretty bold and pretty brave. But it’s in public situations and public confrontations
that I need to be just as bold and just as brave. – [Steve] Amen, amen, amen. Sharon? – I also wanted to add
that one of the initiatives that I am taking on is implementing a dialogue on race throughout city government, so all of my department heads and all of their employees
will be participating in an initiative called Dialogue on Race. Because if we’re going
to change the culture we have to have some very
serious conversations around it, and it’s just
not going to happen. So I’m looking forward to
seeing the outcome of that. – [Steve] Sure. – And I do think it’s important, I mean that’s what I feel like the compassion piece represents, right? “People have to get
proximate,” as Bryan Stevenson always talks about. You have to have empathy for each other, and if I’m not spending enough time with people who don’t think like me, who don’t have the same perspective as me, I’m not really going to have empathy for their situation. And I do think bringing everybody together to have these dialogues is an important part of that as well. – Amen, amen. No, thank you. The Center is in its infancy. It will be built up by the ideas shared in this stage and
so much of the great work that you all are doing already in your communities. We have to collect our best practices. There are some of the questions actually raised up here today. There’s some incredible
work already happening in cities all around the country. Some people who are
helping each of our cities have some very difficult conversations that we all need to have. So I wanna thank our panelists for joining us today. Thank our supporters for their work. We look forward to continuing to build this partnership with the ADL. Jonathan we’ve got a lot of work to do, and just as this is the first of many discussions that we will have. I can only wait until Greg
Fischer’s president, y’all. We gonna be talkin’
about this all the time, all the time. So thank you for making the point to be here today. This may indeed, with
all the different things that we’re talking about, all the incredible
speakers and participants and global leaders we’ve had here over the last few days, this may indeed be the
most important discussion that we had. So takin’ the time to be here, we appreciate you being here. Immediately following this session, in Federal Room, Gary
Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, who’s is also president of the National League of Cities, is gonna be leading a discussion on a related topic, how do we respond to the growing incidence of hate crimes in our community. The most important thing
we can do obviously as mayors and civic leaders
and business leaders, is to share with each other
all the ideas that we have. So send us, send us your best practices to the Center so we can get them before all of our colleagues who can use them to create more compassionate
and inclusive cities. God bless you. (audience applause)
The session’s adjourned. Thank you. (audience chatter)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *