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City of Chicago Office of Equity and Racial Justice and Chicago United for Equity Announce Co-Governance Steering Committee

Representatives from across the city will work toward defining what co-governance means for Chicago!


CHICAGO  In response to growing calls for collaborative governance from community leaders, elected officials, and public servants, the City of Chicago, Office of Equity and Racial Justice, and Chicago United for Equity are proud to announce the launch of its first Co-Governance Steering Committee. This initiative, championed by Mayor Johnson's Administration, aims to build the foundation necessary for government and community to collaboratively work on solutions to our city’s most critical challenges. 


“This initiative marks a significant step towards a more just and vibrant Chicago,” said Mayor Brandon Johnson. “An opportunity for community and government to work hand-in-hand to create policies that reflect the needs and aspirations of all residents.”  

Mayor Johnson emphasized the importance of this initiative, stating that “co-governance is a way to increase accountability for policy issues that affect people’s lives by involving community members and organizations in decision-making.” This vision is further detailed in the 2023 blueprint, "Building Bridges and Growing the Soul of Chicago: A Blueprint for Creating a More Just and Vibrant City for All."


While widely supported, the concept of co-governance varies in interpretation among its proponents. Some view it as an avenue for increased democratic participation, while others see it as a means for shared decision-making power between the government and the community. To develop racially equitable co-governance models, the City recognizes the need for a unified operational definition to guide its implementation and impact.


To achieve this, the Office of Equity and Racial Justice (OERJ) and Chicago United for Equity (CUE) have partnered to establish a Co-Governance Steering Committee. This committee consists of diverse, cross-sectored, community-connected individuals who will design and facilitate community conversations to create a shared definition as well as supporting values and principles for Chicago through community conversations and reflection. They will also identify opportunities to model this framework in key government-community partnerships.


“This is a unique opportunity to shape the future of governance in Chicago,” said Rachel Pate, Director of Civic Programming at Chicago United for Equity. “It’s a step toward institutionalizing Chicagoans' ability to clearly and directly inform decision-making alongside government staff.”

The Co-Governance Steering Committee members were selected after the staff of OERJ, CUE, and members of the Equity Advisory Council reviewed nearly 100 submissions, working diligently to select the final nine members. Priority was focused on ensuring representation from across the city with members of all walks of life, emphasizing diversity in geographic location, lived experience, and work background. 


The Committee members are tasked with attending bi-monthly planning meetings, convening community conversations with priority populations who have been historically excluded from government-level decision-making, connecting with existing initiatives aligned with co-governance principles and values, and learning from other cities and municipalities that have established co-governance models. Additionally, the Committee will collectively draft the definition, values, and principles of co-governance for Chicago, identify opportunities to apply this governance model in the city, and attend a final convening early next year. Members are committed to participating from June 2024 to January 2025 and are compensated for their time and expertise.


Meet the Co-Governance Steering Committee Members:

  • Catherina Collins, Black Mental Health Guide

  • Mike Tekh Strode, The Kola Nut Collaborative 

  • Jose Manuel Almanza, Equiticity 

  • ángela munguía, AMPT Chicago

  • Rosazlia Grillier, Community Organizing and Family Issues (COFI) 

  • Adam Kader, Arise Chicago 

  • Andrea Ortiz, Brighton Park Neighborhood Council 

  • Dixon Romeo, Not Me We

  • Mark Anthony Florido, Paul M. Angell Family Foundation 


For more information about the Co-Governance Steering Committee and to learn more about this work, visit City of Chicago, Understanding Co-Governance, chi.gov/co-governance.

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About The Office of Equity and Racial Justice  

The Office of Equity and Racial Justice (OERJ) seeks to advance institutional change that results in an equitable transformation of how we do business across the City of Chicago enterprise. This includes the City’s service delivery, resource distribution, policy creation, and decision-making. OERJ will do this by supporting City departments in normalizing concepts of racial equity, organizing staff to work together for transformational change, and operationalizing new practices, policies, and procedures that result in more fair and just outcomes. Visit chicago.gov/equity.  


About Chicago United for Equity

Chicago United for Equity (CUE) is a network of racial justice advocates working across diverse types of civic power as organizers, researchers, artists, storytellers, policymakers, and lawyers to redesign Chicago’s civic institutions and transform Chicagoans’ relationship to power. Since 2018, CUE has garnered national recognition for developing people-powered voter guides, participatory budgets, and community-led policymaking strategies. CUE equips leaders across various sectors with the tools to drive transformational change, ignite civic imagination, and meaningfully engage with impacted communities across Chicago. CUE, its Fellows, and its partners harness their collective power and civic love in pursuit of a Chicago that works for all of us. Learn more at www.chicagounitedforequity.org.

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