In this session we will explore how to leverage the power of parks and recreation to advance racial equity. We will use the racial equity framework and tools to demonstrate how parks and recreation agencies can leverage and expand opportunities to achieve racial equity in the communities they serve. How to Operationalize REAL in Parks and Recreation – use of racial equity tool and data to drive results.
- Review key terms: implicit bias, individual, institutional and structural racism;
- How do these terms show up in the planning and programming functions of parks and recreation;
- Practical ways to operationalize racial equity tools; and
- Share lessons learned and successes of existing parks and recreation agencies involved in racial equity.
Senior Associate, Race, Equity, and Leadership, National League of Cities
As Senior Associate for Race, Equity and Leadership (REAL) at NLC since 2017, Aliza R. Wasserman leads a national learning community of elected leaders supporting their cities to advance racial equity and foster racial healing. Aliza has spent the past decade working at the intersections of public health, racial justice and federal, state and local policy, most recently, as the Policy & Advocacy Manager for Wholesome Wave. After receiving her MPH and MS in Food Policy from Tufts University in 2009, Aliza led policy efforts with the City of Boston’s health department, where she advocated for state legislation and budget priorities to address racial health inequities amongst residents of Boston, co-led racial justice and health equity trainings, implemented city-wide policy and systems changes to foster healthy environments and supported multi-year organizational change and community engagement processes to reduce inequities rooted in racism.
Acting Chief, Special Projects, Department of Parks and Recreation, Prince Georges County
Marie-Edith Michel is a Certified Parks and Recreation Professional with 20+ years of practical local government experience culled from a broad scope of roles in the parks and recreation environment with the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) a bi-county organization in the Washington Metropolitan Area. M-NCPPC has a diverse client base of nearly 2 million people. She has served the parks, planning and recreational arms of both Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties. Her skill set includes experiences in research and evaluation, budget development and monitoring of tax supported and special funds ($96 million), park planning, organizational development and diversity management as well as strategic planning, and parks and recreation program planning. She is also a diversity and inclusion trainer and a certified community engagement facilitator. She views her role as an internal consultant to her department helping staff to transform themselves by focusing on organizational effectiveness, improvement, and development. She wears different hats serving as a trainer, facilitator, researcher, and advisor. She is also a volunteer docent for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art and has traveled to several continents as a representative for several non-profit organizations that promote international understanding, tolerance, and peace .
Leon Andrews, Jr.
Director, Race, Equity, and Leadership (REAL), National League of Cities
Leon T. Andrews, Jr. was appointed as the inaugural director for Race, Equity And Leadership (REAL) at the National League of Cities and prior served as the senior fellow and program director at the National League of Cities’ Institute for Youth, Education, and Families, where he led all of the Institute’s youth development work with mayors and other municipal leaders around the country including in areas related to childhood obesity, disconnected youth, youth engagement and leadership, and youth master planning since 2006. Before joining the National League of Cities, Leon completed a research fellowship at The Forum for Youth Investment. Leon has an extensive background working in government, the community, the private sector, and academia for the last 25 years including the United States Department of Justice, United States Senator Barbara A. Mikulski, the United States Public Interest Research Group, the Allegheny County Department of Human Services, YouthBuild Pittsburgh, the Development Corporation of Columbia Heights, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and as an adjunct professor in the Department of Political Science at Eastern Michigan University. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Howard University, a Master of Science in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University, and is a PhD candidate in the Urban and Regional Planning program at The University of Michigan. Leon is married to an amazing woman, Dr. Kristine M. Andrews, for the last 14 years and they have three beautiful daughters – Jessica Austin, Julia Iris, and Joanna Jonas.