Mayor Warren Celebrates National Day of Racial Healing, Progress of REAL Initiative

City of Rochester

News Release

Mayor Warren Celebrates National Day of Racial Healing, Progress of REAL Initiative

(Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020) — Mayor Lovely A. Warren and Rochester City Council commemorated the progress made on the City’s historic Project Let’s Get REAL, Race, Equity and Leadership, an initiative supported by the National League of Cities. The REAL Project was launched last year as part of the City’s inaugural celebration of National Day of Racial Healing, and provides direction to the City and other participating cities and towns aiming to improve equity.


A half dozen community leaders share their thoughts about race and equity.

“Rochester must remain a leader in advancing racial equity,” said Mayor Warren. “We are committed to not looking the other way to address racism and racial inequities; instead, we are looking within our own public policies to dismantle divisive practices and procedures. The mission of the REAL initiative is to create conditions that allow all people to reach their full potential while encouraging racial understanding and empathy as we work to create more jobs, safer, more vibrant neighborhoods and better educational opportunities.”

The City’s REAL Core team spent the past year providing a series of intense workshops, seminars and training sessions for City change team members to engage in open and honest discussions about race.

As part of this work, the Core team surveyed nearly 400 employees on their understanding of race, racial equity, diversity and inclusion.

The survey found:

    • Respondents were unclear of the differences between race, racial equity, diversity and inclusion.     

    • Despite understanding the concepts of racial equity and the value of conversations surrounding race and racism, the majority of respondents stated that they sometimes or rarely set aside their own discomfort to discuss issues of race. 

    • Black women stated they were most likely to attend workshops on race and found them helpful. The study showed they were also more likely to speak up about issues of race, where as other groups and genders were not.     

    • Respondents agreed that the training sessions and workshops about of race and racism were extremely useful in the charge to examine public policy.     

    • Respondents agreed that being informed on race and racism — along with receiving training and support — would better equip them to advance equity within the workplace.     

    • The survey showed more engagement with the Hispanic and Latino community is necessary at City Hall.

In 2020, the City change teams will develop action plans to implement equity into their work. The goal is to have City Hall provide a community blueprint with regard to racial equity in organizations.

The City’s REAL team is also working with other municipalities such as Bellevue, WA., the City of Syracuse and the towns of Pittsford and Brighton on best practices for embedding equity into their organizational culture.

The study questions were by the Government Alliance on Racial Equity (G.A.R.E). The racial make up of the employees included White, Black or African American, multiple races, Asian, American Indian, Alaskan Native, Pacific Islander and Native Hawaiian. The majority of respondents were white women.

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News Media: For more information, contact Press Officer Jessica Alaimo, 428-7135.