Heads Up September 30, 2022

Here’s some need-to-know information for the week

Community Connectors share mid-year update

Community Connectors-in-Residence have shared their mid-year update with city council, a report designed to elevate the experiences and voices of underrepresented community members (e.g., Latinx, Black or African American, Nepali, low-income) that council may not consistently or frequently hear from.

This update will be included in the information packet for the October 6, 2022, council meeting and is also available on the Community Connectors-in-Residence webpage. It’s the first update of its kind and is part of a process improvement effort intended to ensure that this work comes to the attention of key decision-makers.

This mid-year update includes feedback on city projects from a racial equity lens, outcomes from capacity building through ‘Building Power & Raising Voices’ sessions, themes surfaced in community issues and strengths, select resources shared, a Community Care Card initiative, and a summary of the recent Chat with Council with our Nepali community.

The Community Connector-in-Residence team anticipates providing a similar update, either written or presented to council, twice a year. We welcome council’s feedback on this format and encourage you to share any thoughts through a feedback form.

For more information about Community Connectors-in-Residence, please visit their program webpage or contact Ryan Hanschen, Community Engagement Manager, at hanschenr@bouldercolorado.gov.

City of Boulder honored with ICMA ‘Local Government Excellence’ Award

The City of Boulder was honored by ICMA, the International City/County Management Association, as the recipient of the ‘Local Government Excellence – Community Partnership’ Award. This award “recognizes programs that demonstrate innovation, excellence, and success in multi-participant involvement to improve the community’s safety, health, and/or wellness, including enhancement in the quality of life for the disadvantaged.”

ICMA recognized the city’s Emergency Response Connector program, launched in partnership with community members and organizations to share multilingual and culturally relevant COVID-19 updates and public health guidelines, build trust between underrepresented community members (e.g., Latinx, Nepali, low-income) and local government, outreach and navigate for basic needs services, and surface the issues and ideas of community members.

Emergency Response Connectors (ERCs) convene for weekly bilingual check-in meetings that focus on two-way dialogue and share bite-sized updates and resources with their communities as well as community organization partners each week. ERCs regularly connect with more than 1,000 households and have placed thousands of masks and hundreds of tests in community members’ homes. In addition to identifying and addressing barriers to COVID testing and vaccination, they provided resources for residents facing food insecurity, those needing rent assistance, older adults who were isolated, and residents without internet access. ERCs continue to focus on COVID recovery as well as other crises facing our community, including recent high winds that damaged manufactured homes, Monkeypox, and extreme heat.

For more information on the city’s team of Emergency Response Connectors, please see this recent ICMA TV feature, recent article in the ICMA Public Management magazine (pg. 35), the Summer 2020 edition of the city’s Community Newsletter or contact Brenda Ritenour, Neighborhood Engagement and Services Manager, at ritenourb@bouldercolorado.gov.

A Community Connector and City of Boulder staff co-presented at the recent IAP2 (International Association for Public Participation) North American Conference in Banff, Alberta, Canada.

In a session titled ‘Community Connectors-in-Residence: Building Power, Raising Voices, and Elevating the Experiences and Priorities of Communities of Color,’ they engaged over 40 participants from across the United States and Canada during their co-designed session.

Co-facilitators shared background on the origin of the Community Connectors-in-Residence program and the team’s work to “support the voices and build power of underrepresented communities by reducing barriers to community engagement, advancing racial equity, and surfacing the ideas, concerns, and dreams of community members.”

They also shared details on how the team has elevated the issues and strengths experienced by underrepresented communities to city council as well as their ‘Building Power & Raising Voices’ sessions that focus on increasing sense of belonging, gaining understanding of local government and how to navigate systems, and building skills to shape decisions about their community and the common good.

City staff also heard from other municipalities who are implementing similar Community Connector programs within their communities, based on what they’ve learned from the City of Boulder’s model.

For more information about Community Connectors-in-Residence, please visit their program webpage or contact Ryan Hanschen, Community Engagement Manager, at hanschenr@bouldercolorado.gov.


Keep Reading