Since taking office a year ago, I have called on citizens to join me in dreaming big and making Tulsa a world-class city. As we begin to renew that spirit of high expectations, we cannot overlook the glaring disparities that exist in Tulsa and the need to address them.
In Tulsa, a child born in one zip code of Tulsa should have the same life expectancy as a child born in a different zip code in Tulsa. Unfortunately, this is currently not the case. We have a responsibility to ensure that regardless of the area of town you live in, everyone has equal access to safety, education and healthcare features that are vital to the quality of life in our city.
To work on addressing our City’s persistent disparities, we are using Equality Indicators to focus on economic opportunity, education, public health, housing, justice and services. Each of these issue areas have their own unique challenges. Together, the City of Tulsa, alongside partners in the nonprofit and private sectors, will address these challenges directly.
I’m thankful for the Rockefeller Foundation and the City University of New York Institute for State and Local Governance (CUNY ISLG) for selecting the City of Tulsa to participate in the Equality Indicators project. I’m thankful for our partner, Community Service Council, for bringing the disparities that exist in our city to the forefront. It has been an honor to work with these partners throughout this process. I am glad Equality Indicators creates a baseline from which we can work and allows us to monitor change over time so that we can develop solution-oriented approaches based on data, improving our entire community.
However, we cannot do this alone. In order to continue successfully improving our city we need to have input from you. One of the most important ways we can improve as a community is to better understand what people hope for and expect from living in our city. The issues we want to address do not have easy solutions, but quantifying the problem is a strong starting point as we work to create solutions and policies that solve the problems we face as a modern, world-class city.
We will make long-term investments based on data and, together, we will solve our greatest challenges.