Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson announced Friday the city will be participating in a new initiative led by the National League of Cities (NLC) committed to increasing economic inclusion and resilience for communities of color across the southeastern United States.
As one of 16 cities participating in the Southern Cities Economic Inclusion (SCEI) initiative, Mobile recently received a $25,000 in grant to implement strategies that will help close racial and economic equity gaps, and expand economic opportunities for residents of color and historically disadvantaged business owners. The SCEI also offers a great opportunity to learn from national experts and other cities working toward the same goals.
“Archnique Kidd and our Office of Supplier Diversity (OSD) are already making great strides to expand opportunities for black and minority-owned businesses in the city of Mobile, and their work directly complements many of the city’s community and neighborhood development programs fighting systemic challenges in some of Mobile’s most vulnerable communities,” Stimpson said in a statement. “By joining the SCEI initiative, we will be able to tap into existing national resources while also learning from and sharing insights with other cities in the Southeast committed to a brighter, more inclusive future.”
The city of Mobile will be using part of the $25,000 grant funding from NLC to create a comprehensive Diversity, Equity and Inclusion plan across all city departments. In addition to working on inclusion internally, the city will also be setting up community seminars to assist small business owners — particularly minority business owners — with launching and expanding their operations in Mobile.
The SCEI Initiative is a partnership between NLC and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. Other cities selected to participate in the project include Baton Rouge, Birmingham, Nashville, Knoxville, Montgomery and New Orleans, among others.
In the South, deep and persistent inequities in small business growth, access to jobs, and affordable housing have been exacerbated by decades of structural racism and exclusionary practices that have marginalized communities of color, particularly Black families, and businesses. Economic inclusion strategies that expand the participation of businesses and residents of color in local economies are shown to be the superior growth model for these communities because they harness untapped talent and economic potential. SCEI offers an opportunity for cities to invest funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and other federal sources in economic inclusion strategies toward a growth model that offers cities, their residents and businesses, greater economic prosperity.
As part of Mayor Stimpson’s People First Plan, the city of Mobile has already committed millions of dollars toward expanding affordable housing opportunities, providing rental and utility assistance to Mobilians and supporting small and minority owned businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Every day we learn more about the pandemic’s devastating toll on cities and how it has underscored systemic racial disparities,” Dr Robert Blaine, Senior Executive Director of NLC’s Institute for Youth, Education and Families said in a statement. “Intentional economic inclusion strategies are critical to building resiliency across our communities. Southern cities have an enormous opportunity to model and implement strategies that ensure equity and growth for BIPOC communities and businesses. Solutions for the south must be driven by cities in the south. NLC is committed to working alongside the SCEI cities to drive economic progress now and for future generations.”
This page is available to our subscribers. Join us right now to get the latest local news from local reporters for local readers.
The best deal is found by clicking here. Click here right now to find out more. Check it out.
Already a member of the Lagniappe family? Sign in by clicking here