Skip to content
Press Release Article November 16th, 2021
Legitimacy • Cities • Innovation • Justice

Carlton County, Minnesota; Detroit, Michigan; Harris County, Texas; and Salt Lake City, Utah take action to address past harms and rebuild legitimacy with marginalized communities

Article highlights


The pandemic exacerbated disparities in health, economic opportunity & justice. As members of @CPI_Foundation's Earned #Legitimacy Learning Cohort, four bold cities & counties are dismantling inequitable power dynamics and enabling community-driven change

Share article

🗞️📣PRESS RELEASE: @CarltonCountyMN, @HarrisCountyCSD, @CityofDetroit & @slcoei are dismantling unequal power dynamics and committing to community-driven change as members of @CPI_Foundation's Earned #Legitimacy Learning Cohort

Share article

“All govts are guilty of perpetuating harm against marginalized groups - that is the reality of systemic discrimination. We applaud the Earned #Legitimacy Cohort for having the hard, honest conversations to reconcile with communities.” @jorgedfanjul

Share article

Partnering for Learning

We put our vision for government into practice through learning partner projects that align with our values and help reimagine government so that it works for everyone.

Partner with us

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 11/16/2021

Elysa Neumann, Centre for Public Impact

elysa@centreforpublicimpact.org

+1 202-630-3383

Carlton County, Minnesota; Detroit, Michigan; Harris County, Texas; and Salt Lake City, Utah take action to address past harms and rebuild legitimacy with marginalized communities 

U.S. cities and counties commit to repairing relationships and better serving all residents as members of the Centre for Public Impact’s Earned Legitimacy Learning Cohort

November 16, 2021 - Washington D.C. – Since the COVID-19 pandemic reached the U.S. in 2020, a longstanding reality was brought to the forefront of national dialogue: not all people in our country are treated as equal or have equal opportunities and experiences. While this fact is certainly not new, the pandemic exacerbated stark disparities in health outcomes, economic opportunity, policing, and justice to the point where the outcry for change can no longer be ignored. In response, Detroit, Michigan; Salt Lake City, Utah; Carlton County, Minnesota; and Harris County, Texas are committing to dismantle inequitable power dynamics and enable community-driven change as members of the Centre for Public Impact’s (CPI) inaugural Earned Legitimacy Learning Cohort. 

Earned legitimacy represents the idea that governments must acknowledge that their past actions have harmed BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and other marginalized communities and demonstrate a commitment to confront the racial justice and civil rights issues that continue to plague American communities. Over ten weeks, CPI will serve as a learning partner to the cities and counties participating in the Earned Legitimacy Learning Cohort, helping them do just that. The first half of the program will explore where power sits within each city or county, the history of marginalized communities, and the stereotypes and assumptions that the local government may hold about their residents. In the second half of the program, teams will reimagine the distribution of power between communities and government, so that those most impacted by decisions are the ones driving them, and then move to implement these more legitimate systems.

While all counties and cities in the Cohort are committed to the overarching goal of fostering strong, trusting relationships between government and communities so that they can work openly and effectively together, participants could also opt to focus on a particular issue or topical area. Detroit is focusing on increasing public engagement, representation, equity, and inclusion of the disability community with the overarching goal of improving accessibility and equitable opportunities for Detroiters with disabilities. Harris County is building earned legitimacy to foster meaningful, equitable growth in its communities. Carlton County aims to eliminate barriers to individual, family, and community thriving. Salt Lake City is working to strengthen trust and relationships with residents. 

“The Earned Legitimacy Learning Cohort creates a learning network for government and community leaders to work together and begin to dismantle past harms that have been suffered by underserved people in their communities,” said Jorge Fanjul, Legitimacy Program Director at the Centre for Public Impact, “All governments across our country are guilty of perpetuating harm against BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and other marginalized groups - that is the reality of systemic discrimination. We applaud the members of the Earned Legitimacy Cohort for being willing to have the hard, honest, and at times uncomfortable conversations needed to reconcile with communities, dismantle inequitable power dynamics, and enable community-driven change moving forward.”

QUOTES FROM PARTICIPANTS IN THE EARNED LEGITIMACY LEARNING COHORT

“Salt Lake City is honored and excited to participate in this compelling opportunity. We look forward to working together alongside leaders of other cities and counties as we learn and listen in order to strengthen relationships and trust with our constituents,” said Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall.

"Integrating a culture of trust and understanding between government entities and the communities we serve is an integral part of strategic planning. Earned legitimacy should be a focal point for all governments,” said Dr. Adrienne Holloway, Executive Director of Harris County Community Services Department, “The creation of the Earned Legitimacy Cohort will foster beneficial dialogue and provide guidance on how to drive government strategies forward, improve efficiency, and increase effectiveness by building meaningful, trustworthy relationships with our constituents." 

“I am excited to be a member of this Cohort because of the potential for positive change within Carlton County. When a government system develops a strong and trusting relationship with the people of the county, we can meet the constantly changing needs and priorities of the county positively and efficiently,” said Susan Zmyslony, Carlton County resident, former County Commissioner and Cohort participant, “In addition, when the government entities collaborate with people toward a shared vision and respect, our planning and decision-making skills are more effective. The trust enables us to develop effective communication and transparency between all entities. I look forward to developing this movement towards earned legitimacy because better relationships equal better outcomes.” 

“We are delighted for the opportunity to participate in the Earned Legitimacy Cohort held by the Centre for Public Impact,” said Kim Rustem, Director of Detroit’s Civil Rights Inclusion and Opportunity Department, “At the Civil Rights, Inclusion and Opportunity Department, we are dedicated to the creation of a more equitable future with and for our residents.  Essential to this is the centering of community voice, partnership, and trust. As we embark on this learning journey with our community partners, I look forward to unearthing better ways to serve our city and people.”

“I am excited about the Earned Legitimacy Learning Cohort because we are exploring ways we could increase public engagement and inclusion of the disability community,” said Christopher Samp, Director of Detroit’s Office of Disability Affairs, “Together with our community partners and city department leaders, we will strengthen the relationship between the disability community and the city government, and make Detroit a more welcoming, inclusive and accessible city.”

###

About the Centre for Public Impact

At the Centre for Public Impact, we believe in the potential of government to bring about better outcomes for people. Yet, we have found that the systems, structures, and processes of government today are often not set up to respond to the complex challenges we face as a society. That’s why we have an emerging vision to reimagine government so that it works for everyone. A global not-for-profit organisation founded by the Boston Consulting Group, we serve as a learning partner for governments, public servants, and the diverse network of changemakers who are leading the charge to reimagine government. We work with them to hold space to collectively make sense of the complex challenges we face and drive meaningful change through learning and experimentation.

About Carlton County

Learn more about Carlton County and the Carlton County Children & Family Services Collaborative online and on social media (Facebook | Twitter).

About Detroit

Detroit is committed to increasing equity, representation, inclusion, and accessibility. Mayor Mike Duggan formed the Office of Disability Affairs and announced the three-year strategic plan for the disability community. Learn more about Detroit, the Civil Rights, Inclusion and Opportunity Department, and the Office of Disability Affairs online and on social media (Detroit- Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Instagram | LinkedIn; Civil Rights, Inclusion and Opportunity Department - Instagram | Facebook; Office of Disability Affairs- Facebook).

About Harris County

Learn more about Harris County online and on social media (Facebook | Twitter).

About Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City provides access to resources and opportunities that support everyone in overcoming barriers to their success so that our community today, and generations tomorrow, can thrive. Mayor Erin Mendenhall formed the Office of Equity and Inclusion in 2021 to further this mission. To learn more about our efforts, visit www.slc.gov/equity, or find us on social media at Facebook and Twitter.

https://cpi-production-kbuild-uploads.s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/icons/user-cash-scale.svg

Work with CPI on Legitimacy

Are you interested in partnering with our Government Legitimacy team or learning more about the Earned Legitimacy Learning Cohort?

Get in touch!
Share this article: