Ed Murray, Mayor
3/11/2014 1:00:00 PM
Lois Maag (206) 615-0950
City receives national award for innovative program promoting cultural diversity
National League of Cities and NBC-LEO honors Seattle for its meaningful inclusion of underrepresented populations through cultural liaisons
SEATTLE – The National League of Cities (NLC) honored the city of Seattle for its program in enhancing and promoting cultural diversity during the annual Congressional City Conference in Washington, D.C. The city received the NBC-LEO City Cultural Diversity Award for its Public Outreach and Engagement Liaison program at a recent ceremony.
As part of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods (DON), the Public Outreach and Engagement Liaison program (POEL) increases access to information, resources, and civic processes with historically underrepresented communities. This is accomplished by reaching out and engaging these 19 communities through trusted, qualified, bilingual and/or bicultural liaisons. As community members who represent their communities’ culture and language, the Public Outreach and Engagement Liaisons (POEL) work with city departments to provide information and create opportunities for underrepresented populations to increase their voice in government activities. Since its inception in 2009, the POEL program has engaged more than 7,000 underrepresented community members.
"This outreach program is a proven way for our city departments to connect with populations that don't always get heard," said Mayor Ed Murray. "From ethnic populations to people living with disabilities – all community members deserve to have a place at the table. This form of outreach is a huge help in our ongoing effort to ensure that the decisions we make as a city truly reflect the needs and wants of all members of our community."
Seattle City Councilmember Nick Licata attended the ceremony and accepted the award on behalf of the city. "I am proud on behalf of the city of Seattle and Seattle Department of Neighborhoods to accept this important recognition from the National League of Cities," said Councilmember Licata. "At the same time, I realize much work remains to be done by Seattle and the entire nation when it comes to building a world where people are judged by the content of their character and their contributions to society. I look forward to all of us continuing this critical work so that day may come soon."
The City Cultural Diversity Awards Program was established in 1995 by the National Black Caucus of Local Elected officials (NBC-LEO) to promote cultural diversity in community governance through citizen and community participation. The eight winning cities were selected by guest judges from NLC's constituency groups and the corporate sector from a pool of applicants and are grouped according to population. The judges this year were from the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials (NBC-LEO); Women in Municipal Government (WIMG); Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Local Officials (GLBTLO); Asian Pacific American Municipal Officials (APAMO); and Hispanic Elected Local Officials (HELO).
For more information on the City Cultural Diversity Awards, visit NBC-LEO's website at www.nlc.org/nbcleo. To learn more about the Public Outreach and Engagement Liaisons program, visit www.seattle.gov/neighborhoods/engage/poel.htm.