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Springfield City Council adopts ‘guiding principles’ for equity and inclusion

Cora Scott and Taj Suleyman
Springfield city officials Cora Scott and Taj Suleyman present findings of the Mayor's Initiative on Equity and Equality to City Council on Monday, April 18, 2022.

On Monday, Springfield City Council approved a resolution setting new guidelines for how the city will prioritize equity and inclusion in its policymaking.

After 12 meetings and a year of work, the Mayor’s Initiative on Equity and Equality delivered a two-page report of “guiding principles” intended to help Springfield improve equality and opportunity for its diverse communities.

City Council voted 9-0 to accept those guiding principles. They include raising awareness of existing biases, removing barriers to equity, and listening to diverse thoughts respectfully.

The initiative was formed early last year in response to the 2020 killing of George Floyd, a Black man, by Minneapolis police. But meeting minutes for the Springfield initiative show that the group had little direct discussion about race relations or policing.

Nobody from Springfield’s LGBT community was on the 18-member group—something task force member Jeff Schrag, the owner of Mother’s Brewing Company, said “puzzled" him.

But Schrag said the important thing was getting Springfield city government to publicly declare that it believes in a welcoming, inclusive community.

Going forward, Mayor Ken McClure told KSMU that the city will provide some form of tracking and follow-up.

Francine Pratt, another community volunteer appointed to the initiative task force, said the principles outlined in that report will help create a starting point of accountability for Springfield.

Now that they’ve adopted the guidelines, Pratt said, the key is holding city leaders accountable to them.

Also at its Monday night meeting, City Council swore in its newest member, Monica Horton, who will represent Zone 1. You can find our story on her appointment here.

Read the summary of the April 18, 2022 City Council meeting here, or watch a recorded video by clicking here.

Gregory Holman is a KSMU reporter and editor focusing on public affairs and investigations.