National League of Cities | City Summit Media Recap

This year’s all-virtual City Summit came to a close today with important discussions on public health preparedness, mental health and wellness, and a closing address from President-elect Joe Biden. Importantly, NLC President Joe Buscaino laid out cities’ priorities for the first 100 days of the Biden administration, including providing COVID-19 relief for local governments, building sustainable infrastructure, supporting workforce development, ending housing instability and homelessness, and reducing gun violence. NLC looks forward to working with the Biden administration to chart a path forward for our cities, towns and villages and secure a more prosperous future for all of our communities.

President-elect Biden Addresses Local Leaders at City Summit

To wrap up the 2020 City Summit, NLC members heard directly from President-elect Biden regarding his commitment to supporting the officials serving on the front lines of the pandemic and working to address larger systemic issues like racial injustice and climate change. 

“American cities are on the front lines on all of these crises. You are the people this country looks to first,” President-elect Biden said. “I want you to know that my administration will have your back, I promise you. There are no red cities, there are no blue cities, there are only American cities, American states – period. These are American challenges, and we have to meet them as one country. Vice President-elect Harris and I are committed to being real partners to you so we can coordinate a real nationwide response to these crises.”

To watch President-elect Biden’s full address to the 2020 NLC City Summit, click here.

NLC Releases New Research on Preemption, COVID-19, Micromobility and More

The National League of Cities has released new research reports throughout this year’s City Summit on topics spanning from preemption to COVID-19, micromobility to entrepreneurship and livable communities. Click on the links below to dive into cutting-edge research and key findings on the most pressing issues facing local communities throughout our nation.

COVID-19 Response, Health & Wellness, and the 2020 Cities Agenda

11:00 A.M. – Innovative Responses: Emerging City Strategies for Public Safety and Emergencies

“We knew and understood in this community 30 years ago that not everything required a uniformed police response, and what we had to do was be able to match the correct response with the issue that’s going on on the streets and get that individual or individuals the proper help they need.”

11:00 A.M. – Taking Care of Business: Childcare and Getting Back to Work

“The opposite of poverty is not wealth. It is justice.”

“Far too often, we believe that economies depend on things such as GDP, but economists fail to actually study people. Economies should not just look at GDP in focus, how we look at the stock market, but how we look at sustainable development goals, such as the issues of education, childcare, access to fresh fruits and vegetables, and so many other things our communities rely on.”

11:00 A.M. – Making Ends Meet: Guaranteed Income in the Time of Covid-19 

“We used to have a war on poverty in this country, more and more it seems like we have a war on the poor. All of the human potential we’re leaving on the table by not supporting them in their growth as humans and taking advantage of what they can bring to our communities. We have to be creative, innovative and bold in the policies we put forth. Otherwise, we are going to be left behind.”

“One of the key ways to help families is to give them direct checks. Everyone got one from the federal government, $1200. That is long gone. Checks would help families make basic needs. It would shorten the recession dramatically and it will boost state and local economies. Checks alone do not solve all the problems but they are a very important part to sit alongside expanded unemployment benefits and state and local aid.”

11:00 A.M. – Cities of Opportunity: Addressing the Root Causes of Poor Health to Advance Equity

“We have seen the deep desperation of our neighbors. I’ve heard it from the restaurant worker who says she can’t afford to quarantine, from the petrified business owner afraid he will lose his family’s retail shop and the tired health worker who is exhausted from working another shift. COVID-19’s impact is systemic but it’s also personal. The pandemic did not create inequities in America’s cities but it did reveal it to a broader audience. We must add some urgency to our efforts to address it.”

1:30 P.M. – Closing General Session with Former CDC Director Dr. Richard Besser and Dr. Arthur Evans, Executive Director of the American Psychological Association

“I think that city health and city governmental officials can do a lot to say ‘wow, public health doesn’t care what party you belong to, public health is apolitical.'”  

“In so many places we have to work to make sure those systems are in place so everyone has fair access to healthcare.”

“There is something very unique and special about people who work in city leadership because city government is what really touches the people.” 

“We’re all human, we’re not superhuman, and sometimes we do have a set of issues before us or on our plates that we have to deal with that require us to reach out and have help from others.”

“What it takes is city leaders saying ‘we are going to make this a priority, make sure we have the resources to train our officers to deal with these situations,’ and make sure you have those systems.”  

“People are more willing to not only talk about how they may be having these issues, but also how they’ve overcome them…we have to begin normalizing mental health.”  

Race and Equity 

11:00 A.M. – Back to School: Understanding Educational Inequity and Taking Action to Change It

“I think the biggest thing that school boards can do from a more generic level is embracing an attitude of being open to youth perspectives and being able to hear those voices as much as possible.”  

 11:00 A.M. – Keeping Food on the Table: Addressing Food Insecurity During COVID and Beyond

“We’re seeing nearly 40% of individuals saying either they or their spouse/partner lost a job – identifying as food insecure. That tells us just how deep the stress has been for people who were hit hard economically. We went into this pandemic with significant disparities based on race and ethnicity – that is not a new story, unfortunately. But it’s deeply worrying at this point because we are also seeing food insecurity rates among Black and Latinx households nearly double those of white households.” 

11:00 A.M. – Stayin’ Alive: Addressing Racial Disparities in Access to Small Business Capital

“COVID-19 had a tremendous impact on our communities. But in a positive way, it has called attention to our consciousness and the implicit bias that exists in corporate America.”

“Businesses of color are simply not aware of programs or communities on the ground that offer support in business development.”