Peoria, Ill. (WEEK) -
The city of Peoria is taking a big step to focus on civil rights and equality. They've created a new position to focus on that and make the community better for everyone.
Improving race relations, civil rights, disability rights and equal opportunities through outreach and education is the goal for this new role. City Manager Patrick Urich says the new 'Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer' is an extension from the vacant role of the Equal Opportunity Manager.
"Really have that person working on the efforts that we have on racial inclusion and racial equity throughout the city, helping us to grow minority businesses in the community, but also making sure that all our policies and practices at the city have a focus on diversity inclusion as well", said Urich.
This comes after the 24-7 Wallstreet article naming Peoria the second worst city African Americans, but Urich says this new position comes as a result of their own discussions about race relations and not the article.
"It really comes as a response to the work we've been doing as a result of discussions around racial equity that really that proceeded the 24-7 reports, but it does allow for us to focus on these efforts and have someone that will be the point person", said Urich.
One leader with the NAACP says this is a win for the river city. She says while it could have come sooner, it's never too late.
"Any time you any block of citizens out you're losing some talent. I'd like to see a female African American woman in that job, and I'm only saying that because I am female and African American. I think we do really good work and I also think that we are the last ones to be looked at", said Sherry Cannon, NAACP Community Outreach.
The pay is advertised as $84,465 a year for the job. The city council approved the position unanimously. Urich says they will fill the position as soon as the right candidate comes along.