Since October 2004, OCC has been convening City Conversations, a diverse group of community leaders with a vision to “… promote policies and practices that create a just and peaceful community, and to identify and eradicate policies and practices that perpetuate racial and ethnic inequities.” Participants are City and School District officials often including the Mayor, the Superintendent of Schools, Chief of Police, directors of non-profit organizations, community volunteers and activists. This effort is the outcome of Creative Connections conducting 12 Roundtable discussions with 250 program providers as well as 50 interviews with individuals to understand deeply felt concerns about subtle racism and the need for cross cultural dialogue.
Meetings maintain a balance between conversation and discussion in large group gatherings and action in task forces. We have utilized diversity training by VISIONS to give us tools and skills for dialogue. We spent a year studying the report, “Structural Racism and Community Building” by the Aspen Institute, to see how institutions in Pasadena may be using policies and practices, that maintain racial inequity, and what we can do to eliminate them.