The Batavia Community Diversity Initiative, a nonprofit organization that works to improve diversity, equity and belonging in Batavia, will participate in Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning’s inaugural Community Alliance for Regional Equity program.
According to a news release from CMAP, the CARE program will build stronger relationships with environmental justice communities, directly engage marginalized communities in long-range planning activities and remove barriers to participation to drive more equitable outcomes in the region.
The pilot program, which includes 12 organizations, is federally funded through the Illinois Department of Transportation, the release stated.
Each of the 12 organizations in the cohort will receive $10,000 in compensation for their work in the program. Over the coming year, the participants will work on accelerating transportation and safety issues, contributing to regional decision-making processes, collaborating in the development of engagement and planning tools and shaping the CARE program’s processes and outcomes, the release stated.
“I’m very proud that CMAP is leading this profound and powerful work that will help us advance our goals to foster an inclusive and thriving region throughout northeastern Illinois,” said Erin Aleman, executive director of CMAP, in the release. “We know that governments at all levels — including regional planning agencies — have played a role in past policies that have harmed marginalized communities through redlining, highway construction, zoning, and other decisions. CMAP would like to repair that harm by pursuing equity and transforming the way we engage with communities through the CARE program.”
According to a post on the Batavia Community Diversity Initiative’s website, the organization is “excited” to be involved with the program.
“This is a new program from the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning to achieve more equitable outcomes and opportunities across northeastern Illinois. We look forward to building deeper connections, improving transportation investment decisions and strengthening community collaboration.
“The Community Alliance for Regional Equity program creates deeper partnerships between community-based organizations and the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning. It is part of CMAP’s multi-year investment to make our engagement more equitable and inclusive of communities that traditionally have been excluded from the planning process.”