The City of Milwaukee has earned top prize in the National League of Cities’ City Cultural Diversity Awards. The award goes to cities recognized for implementing quality and innovative programs in communities to enhance and promote cultural diversity. Each year, the City Cultural Diversity Awards recognize city programs which encourage citizen involvement and show an appreciation of cultural diversity. The awards are sponsored by the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials (NBC-LEO), a constituency group of the National League of Cities (NLC).
Milwaukee earned the first place award in its population category for implementing the Community Benefits ordinance, known as the MORE ordinance (Milwaukee Opportunities for Restoring Employment). The ordinance, passed last year, was the result of a multi-year effort to draft a comprehensive legislative package that not only provides unemployment relief to city residents but also enhances local efforts like the Emerging Business Enterprise (EBE) program.
Alderman Ashanti Hamilton, a driving force behind the efforts, worked closely with co-sponsors Alds. Milele A. Coggs, Nik Kovac and Wille Wade as well as with community groups like Milwaukee Innercity Congregations Allied for Hope (MICAH) and the Good Jobs and Livable Neighborhoods Coalition (GJLN) to draft the legislation.
The ordinance helps to support the regulations already in place in the city’s EBE program that require certain percentages of city residents be employed as part of contracted city projects and that disadvantaged businesses be given ample opportunity to win the contract. The legislation has already been enacted as workers on the 51st Blvd. project were hired within the guidelines of the ordinance.
Ald. Hamilton, who worked hard to create legislation that attends to multiple facets of employment need in the community, said “Keeping city contracted work staffed with local residents is a winwin situation and we appreciate that other city leaders from across the country dealing with the same economic struggles have recognized us for our efforts.”
The award was presented at this week’s National League of Cities Congressional City Conference in Washington, D.C.