Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle wrapped up a busy month advocating for racial equity at several events in Cook County and Chicago.
On Monday, September 30, Preckwinkle gave an address at the City Club of Chicago, “Advancing Racial Equity in Cook County: Closing the Gap Through Policy and Practice.” The address kicked off the first annual Racial Equity Week and highlighted her administration’s proven commitment to advancing racial equity.
President Preckwinkle outlined innovative ways to reduce inequity in the areas of transportation, public health, and digital access.
“I am proud of the work Cook County and my administration is doing to advance racial equity, but I recognize there is still much work to be done before this vision is a reality,” said Preckwinkle. “I look forward to more meaningful conversation during our first-ever Racial Equity Week and hearing feedback from both community members and County employees.”
Within the County’s racial equity efforts, Preckwinkle implemented the Racial Equity Leadership Council and the Cook County Board of Commissioners established the Committee on Addressing Bias, Equity and Cultural Competency.
“It is vital that Cook County and all governments focus on racial equity,” said Cook County Commissioner Kevin Morrison (15th District). “For too long, governments have not only done too little to right historic wrongs as it relates to racial disparities in our society, but have contributed to the systemic oppression of people of color. I’m proud to be working toward racial equity in Cook County with my colleagues, non-profit leaders, and advocacy groups through our work on the Committee on Addressing Bias, Equity, and Cultural Competency and am grateful to President Preckwinkle for her leadership on this issue.”
As Preckwinkle noted in her address, racial equity intersects in different areas of government. A priority of the President’s administration has been reducing health disparities and helping to provide health insurance to more than 300,000 patients who previously lacked coverage.
“During my time as Cook County Commissioner of the 2nd District, I have focused on policy and practice on the intersection of equity and health,” said Cook County Commissioner Dennis Deer (2nd District). “That’s why this year, as chairman of the Human Relations Committee, I declared racism and racial inequalities as a public health crisis in Cook County. As Preckwinkle expressed, to truly achieve equity, we must devote efforts to examine the health impact of racial discrimination and bias.”
“I look forward to participating in Racial Equity Week as Cook County begins translating its policy ideas and vision for the future into actionable and impactful efforts in our communities,” said Cook County Commissioner Alma Anaya (7th District). “As Co-Chair of the Committee on Addressing Bias, Equity, and Cultural Competency, I am committed to enhancing accessibility and inclusivity in our County services.”
Preckwinkle explained how using an equity lens is the responsibility of government and how equity will translate into diverse, inclusive policy and quality services for residents.
“Cook County is a welcoming, inclusive, and open place for all of our residents to live and work,” said Cook County Commissioner Stanley Moore (4th District). “Racial Equity Week allows for the County to continue in its efforts toward racial equity in the workplace and with each other. We want to fulfill our commitment to providing quality services for the residents who we serve.”
In September, Preckwinkle voic- ed her support for protestors participating in a global climate movement.
“Many of the environmental injustices we see in Cook County, such as inadequate access to clean drinking water or neighborhoods without public green space, disproportionately affect communities of color and low-income neighborhoods,” said Preckwinkle. “It is important that we advance equity in all policy areas, including the environment and climate.”
On August 29, Preckwinkle toured the county’s Sixth District with Commissioner Donna Miller. The event included a breakfast at Miller’s office in Oak Park and a lunch at Blueberry Field and Pancake House in South Holland.