NCL - Municipal Action Guide

National League of Cities: Responding to Racial Tension in Your City

If you are picking up this document in a moment of crisis, we recognize that you are moving and acting with a sense of urgency. The National League of Cities (NLC) created this document to support you in this very moment.

NLC interviewed several current and former municipal leaders who have been through similar moments of crisis with racial tension. This document provides important contextual and tactical information to support your municipality’s efforts to respond effectively. It includes:

  • Definition of common values — Five common values need to be embedded in all actions in response to racial tension.
  • Insight — Lessons learned, tactics, and such additional considerations can provide direction and suggest actions municipalities can take in real-time.
  • Context — Historical context that will help leadership get a more robust understanding of the situation at hand, and how the event may uncover deep-rooted issues that the municipality can address.
  • Checklists — Practical checklists ensure that you have some of the more critical components in place to respond:
    1. Direction to leadership in the immediate response to the crisis.
    2. Guidance on crisis communications protocol.
    3. Guidance on stakeholder identification and engagement.
    4. Guidance on how to continue the work of advancing racial equity post-incident.

We urge you to take time to review this document in its entirety. An effective response is more than simply responding to the incident but responding to the trauma and tension that exists as part of this incident.

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