The Together We Heal (TWH) initiative, spearheaded by the City of Chicago’s Office of Racial Justice and Equity, sought to promote civic unity and racial healing by encouraging Chicagoans to connect across lines of difference and support a collective conversation about the truth and promise of their city. The intention was to gather a large collection of real local voices to draft a more representative equity statement that spoke to the whole city.
The months-long TWH initiative culminated in the 2021 Virtual Healing Summit, which was a day-long event celebrating the ongoing work related to racial healing and to lift up community voices. The beginning of the day was open to the public, and drew hundreds of residents. The second half was focused on gathering a smaller group of community leaders to connect and share their thoughts on how the city could collaboratively develop a racial equity statement that would guide citywide programs and priorities.
The City already had their own conversation guides and facilitators, who hosted 46 small-group conversations with almost 150 voices. The conversations connected residents and community leaders from across the city and offered a space for sharing stories about racism, collaboration, class, and so much more. The daunting task of exploring and analyzing almost 50 conversations was the catalyst for the partnership, with the technology making a high volume of conversations into a legible, shareable narrative. Once the conversations were uploaded to Cortico’s platform, they were made available to participants and city staff.
While certainly one of our most high volume partnerships, TWH is also an excellent example of a growing body of work for us: leveraging our technology to help city agencies understand local concerns and engage residents in meaningful public process using their own engagement methods, dialogue models and facilitators. Cortico is excited to work with the City of Chicago as it continues to build out its portfolio of racial justice, resiliency, and reform.
With LVN, we have a pulse on what people are most interested in, all with the idea that we want to produce an Equity Statement of Principles that feels relevant and connected to people’s experiences. As we craft this, we have this rich set of information.