The Cook County Committee on Addressing Bias, Equity, and Cultural Competency was formed by four members of the Cook County Board of Commissioners to take a broad look at all facets of Cook County Government and to explore ways that we could work together, learn from each other, and move forward with a united plan to address inequities in Cook County. This important work cannot be done without accountability. Input from community organizations that are helping our communities and represent residents that have historically been marginalized needed to be at the table. The co-chairs were humbled by the willingness of internal and external stakeholders to dedicate their time and effort to this Committee.
The Committee met bimonthly to hear from speakers and to engage in depth in small and large group discussions and exercises exploring the current operations of Cook County Government as it relates to bias, equity, and cultural competency and where it could go. The several speakers the group heard from are doing work in communities and in other jurisdictions to make government more equitable and accessible. The Committee was particularly grateful to hear a presentation from members of President Preckwinkle’s administration on their Racial Equity Leadership Council. It illustrates that there is incredible work in this sphere already happening in many departments and offices.
The goal of this Committee was to see if we could share that knowledge across offices and build upon it to further advance equity in Cook County. This final report reflects input from a variety of sources including the Committee members, best practices from other government jurisdictions, and Cook County residents. This helped provide a fuller picture of how employees and residents currently experience County government and a map for the future. The report details information gathered during this process and final recommendations to President Preckwinkle and the Board of Commissioners. The recommendations encompass internal procedures and practices and external facing policies that can affect the lives of all Cook County residents.
The Committee united around the idea that this work cannot be contained to just this group of people but must be embedded in all County offices, must be present in every interaction with a resident, and must be a priority for all leaders in Cook County Government. The recommendations put forth in this report are not fully comprehensive of all ideas that the Committee would recommend but represent the top priorities that will center equity in all that Cook County Government does. The co-chairs and members of the Cook County Committee on Addressing Bias, Equity, and Cultural Competency stand ready to help advance the recommendations offered in the report. We hope to see residents engaged in ways that allow for their continued input and will promote transparency