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City of Little Rock Public Relations
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Contact(s):Scott Carter
371-4421

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE :
Tuesday, March 14, 2006

LITTLE ROCK ENTERS NATIONAL PARTNERSHIP TO FOSTER DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION

(March 14, 2006 – Little Rock AR) Little Rock joined a growing number of cities across the nation in a partnership to build inclusive communities. The objectives of this effort are to increase citizen participation and engagement, while promoting equal opportunity and fairness.

The Partnership for Working Toward Inclusive Communities, an effort led by the National League of Cities (NLC), unites city leaders who celebrate the diversity of race, faiths, and cultures in order to build communities that are accepting and representative of the differences among its citizens. Increased involvement by a wider representation of citizens in governmental activities will also be a hallmark of these inclusive communities.

“By joining this partnership Little Rock is not only reaffirming its dedication to its citizens locally, but its commitment to building a nation of inclusion,” said NLC President, James C. Hunt, council member from Clarksburg, West Virginia. “Through this partnership we hope to bring together the collective will of cities in order to build strong, viable communities across the nation.”

As part of its commitment, the Little Rock City Board passed a resolution reaffirming the City’s commitment to promote inclusion. Mayor Jim Dailey serves as Chair of the NLC Advisory Council. “Through our numerous boards and commissions, 140+ neighborhood associations, and outstandingly responsive City staff, Little Rock has shown its commitment to involving all citizens in the processes of government, and more importantly, in making Little Rock a great place to live and work,” stated Mayor Dailey. “That being said,” he continued, “there is always room for improvement.”

“As a great city, Little Rock must never rest on her laurels,” stated the Mayor. “I am excited that the NLC has chosen this project for emphasis. It could not come at a better time for Little Rock. As we are working toward the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Central High’s integration, the concepts of inclusiveness, tolerance, and understanding are paramount in our minds.”

Members of the Partnership will:
? Raise awareness and focus attention on the importance and value of inclusive communities;
? Motivate other cities and towns to make a public commitment to building inclusive communities;
? Provide support to local officials in focused efforts around affordable housing, race and ethnic relations, and equal citizen participation in community decision-making;
? Share valuable insights, experiences, and lessons learned among participating cities and towns; and
? Recognize, publicize, and celebrate the work of cities and towns that have joined the Partnership.

Hunt added, “I ask each city official to change your vocabulary from ‘us’ and ‘them’ to ‘we.’ When we join together to solve this problem, we bring together the collective will of the greatest country that has ever existed. We bring together the rich and the poor, the young and the old, the educated and the uneducated.”

To learn more about the Partnership for Working Toward Inclusive Communities go to www.nlc.org.

The National League of Cities is the nation's oldest and largest organization devoted to strengthening and promoting cities as centers of opportunity, leadership and governance. NLC is a resource and advocate for 18,000 U.S. cities, towns and villages, which collectively serve 225 million people.

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