Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle announces third annual Racial Equity Week, September 13-17, 2021
Today, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle announced the third annual Cook County Racial Equity Week, to be held September 13 – 17 in 2021. This year’s theme will reflect on three words: “Imagine. Intersect. Act.” Cook County Offices Under the President has programmed a week of events that probe the audience to use their imaginations to understand justice and equity issues at the intersections of identities and encourage all to take action.
“We are proud to announce our third annual Racial Equity Week, furthering Cook County’s commitment to advancing racial equity through policy and practice,” said President Preckwinkle. “Although I consider every week in Cook County to be racial equity week—we pause each September to shed a brighter light on this important work through engaging and thought-provoking programming that will allow us have deep discussions and explore new facets of equity in government.”
In September 2020, Cook County held its second Racial Equity Week to delve deeper into the need to advance racial equity, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Cook County held a series of interactive virtual events with community leaders, artists and the public. Highlights included a town hall on environmental justice, the world premiere of The Folded Map Film by local artist Tonika Johnson, a roundtable discussion on transportation equity in light of the pandemic, and a live storytelling event curated by Ada Cheng.
This year, Cook County will continue to offer a week of events available to the public and to Cook County employees. Some events will be held in-person and outside, following public health guidelines, and most events will continue to be offered virtually. Events during the week will be posted on the County’s website and details will be shared on social media.
“This year’s program will build racial equity understanding for everyday people while featuring specific ways we’ve pushed our own imaginations to bring about racial equity in our work,” said Denise Barreto, the County’s Director of Equity and Inclusion.
On Wednesday September 15, an intimate, history making conversation will occur when the equity leads across the region convene to speak candidly about their roles as the architects of equity for the City of Chicago, Cook County, and the State of Illinois. For the first time, all three levels of government in the region have dedicated offices for advancing equity.
“We will speak about what it means to lead this type of work in today’s climate as well as talk about the importance of government’s role to eliminate disparities as all the intersections of race, gender, and other social inequities,” says Dr. Sekile Nzinga, inaugural Chief Equity Officer for the State of Illinois.
“It will be great to share a bit about who we are and what we are attempting to do at this extraordinary time in history in our great city and region,” says Candace Moore, inaugural Chief Equity Officer for the City of Chicago.
A few of the confirmed events include:
- Kickoff Event. President Preckwinkle will be joined by fellow officials and senior staff to announce a new Racial Equity Policy and Racial Equity Action Plan. Monday, September 13, 1 p.m. Location TBD. Will be livestreamed at fb.com/PresidentPreckwinkle
- Regional Equity Update: A Candid Conversation between Cook County, the City of Chicago, and the State of Illinois Inaugural Equity Leaders. For the first time in history, all three overlapping governments have created positions and offices to advance racial equity. This conversation will cover their work over the past year, the challenges of shifting culture and putting equity into action, and what inspires them to do this work. Wednesday, September 15, Afternoon. Virtual via zoom.
- Good Food Purchasing Policy (GFPP) Annual Public Update.Cook County Department of Public Health, Chicago Food Policy Action Council, and members of the Cook County Good Food Task Force will discuss Cook County GFPP implementation progress, strategies being taken to ensure racially equitable outcomes, and actions the public can take. Friday, September 17, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Virtual.
- Storytelling with Renegade Ada Cheng. Local storytelling curator Ada Cheng will curate a series of intersectional and personal narratives by local performers that follow the theme of this year’s Racial Equity Week. Friday, September 17, noon. Virtual via Facebook Live.
- Storytime with President Preckwinkle: a storytelling event for children in partnership with 57th Street Books. President Preckwinkle will host storytime for young children that will be broadcast throughout the week on Cook County’s Cable Channel. The stories curated by 57th Street Books will convey the theme of Racial Equity Week and spark conversations about racial justice and equity with the next generation. The Seminary Co-op Bookstore will also share a curated book list for the week as a resource for parents and educators. Virtual.
- The Next Generation of Latinx Leadership: Hispanic Heritage Month Kickoff Event. This moderated panel discussion held on Facebook Live will feature young Latinx leaders in government and other civic sectors who will discuss their strengths, goals, and strategies for bringing more Latinx leadership into civic spaces. Date TBD. Virtual via Facebook Live.
Updates and registration links for Racial Equity Week events will be posted at www.cookcountyil.gov/service/racial-equity
Find logos and social media graphics in this Google Drive folder.
Watch videos from last year’s events on the Cook County YouTube Channel or on President Preckwinkle's Facebook page: