The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) awarded an Outstanding Achievement City Livability Award to Sugar Land for innovative programs promoting multi-cultural awareness and respect.
Outstanding Achievement Awards recognize cities’ leadership in developing and implementing creative, innovative programs that improve the quality of life in America’s cities.
Sugar Land’s multi-cultural program was created to:
• enhance the ability for the City to meet the needs of residents of all cultures and ethnic backgrounds;
• promote an understanding of all cultures among all residents; and
• build opportunities for residents of all backgrounds to share in and be a part of Sugar Land, Texan and American traditions.
“Recognizing dramatic changes in our city’s demographics – including an Asian community that now represents more than 30 percent of Sugar Land’s population, City Council identified ‘Inclusive Community’ as a guiding principle during a 2007 work session,” said City Manager Allen Bogard.
The creation of the City Manager’s Multi-Cultural Advisory Team and an Employee Multi-Cultural Task Force focused on implementing citywide initiatives and programs that focused on communication and service within Sugar Land.
The two groups have created educational opportunities for both citizens and staff contributing to a greater understanding of the City’s diverse communities. The result has been more diverse participation on City task forces, boards and commissions. Increased Asian participation has also occurred in programs such as the Police Department’s Community Assistance Support Team and the Fire Department’s Community Emergency Response Team.
Other examples of the city’s focus on diversity include the following:
• Asian 101 programs from city staff
• City sponsorship of events such as the Fort Bend Education Foundation’s International Festival
• Staff participation in the Texas Dragon Boat Association’s Regatta and a Diversity Summit hosted by the Association of Chinese American Professionals
• Sugar Land’s Cultural Kite Festival
• the Police Department’s Chinese Hotline
• Arab/Muslim Police Cultural Training for police officers
• Safety brochures printed in Asian languages
• Expanded publications and other communications tools, including emergency communications and a translation tool for the City’s website
“As one of the most diverse cities in the nation, we had to create a new way of approaching local government multi-cultural programs,” said Bogard. “By reaching out to community leaders to serve as de-facto liaisons to their broader communities, we’ve attempted to build stronger relationships with a large portion of our residents. Our recent recognition from the U.S. Conference of Mayors is proof that we’ve been successful.”