Joint Commission on Racial Justice and Equity

The first Commission members were appointed in May 2021 through votes of the Peoria City Council and Peoria County Board. Now that the Steering Committee has been established, members of the Steering Committee will make appointments to vacancies on all committees.

Residents of Peoria County interested in serving on one of the many committees under the Commission are encouraged to apply using the link below. Please note that openings are limited, and your application may be held for consideration at a later date. Applications are forwarded to the Steering Committee on a monthly basis for review. 

Commission Application Form

Not able to access the form, or know someone who would like to be involved that does not have Internet access? Please call the County Board Office/County Administration at (309) 672-6056.

Steering Committee

  • Timothy Bertschy (Co-Chair)
  • Mary Peterson (Co-Chair)
  • Angela Bolden
  • Charles Brown
  • Mary Chapai
  • Robert Dunigan
  • Raeann Garza Whitby
  • Angela Green
  • Joshua Gunn
  • Julia Issa-Ghantous
  • Jim Johnson
  • Micah Lavender
  • Chuck Mitchell
  • Mike Murphy
  • Rasheedah Na'Allah
  • Pam Orear
  • Abrain Robinson
  • Jonathan Wright
  • Bradley Wright-Hulett
  • Angela Young
  • Ex-Officio members: Patrick Urich, Scott Sorrel
  • City Liason: Andre Allen
  • County Liason: Brandy Bryant

Justice Sub-Committee

  • Susan O'Neal (Co-Chair)
  • Derrick Parker (Co-Chair)
  • LaVetta Aguilera
  • Corey Allen
  • Pachaunce’ Allen-Walker
  • Peter Barclay
  • Sandra Crow
  • Donna Crowder
  • Sandra Dudley
  • Talisha Evans
  • Emily Gill
  • M. Catherine Godhigh
  • Barb Katz
  • Jennifer Keffler
  • Omar Malcolm
  • Jennifer Morris
  • William Ordaz
  • Marcola Owens
  • Rebecca Runyon
  • Jennifer Welch-Farrell
  • City Liason: Beth Jenson

Transportation and Mobility Sub-Committee

  • Peter Kobak (Co-chair)
  • Ronald Rasberry (co-Chair)
  • Antwaun Banks
  • Jamie Bell
  • Aaron Chess
  • Gloria Clark
  • Daniel Elliott
  • Tina Foley
  • George Ghareeb
  • Lorene King
  • Anshuman Reddy
  • Ursula Towne
  • Douglas Troop

Information Technology Sub-Committee

  • Jamiel Shelton (Co-Chair)
  • Syamala Srinivasan (Co-Chair)
  • Jessica Bastian
  • Sean Garrett
  • Thomas Higgins
  • Robert Ramoska
  • Lisamarie Schultz
  • Sean Couch
  • Brooke Sommerville
  • Aishi Tulasaku
  • Nyrobi Wheeler

Environment and Climate Sub-Committee

  • Jamila Wilson (Chair)
  • Jason Beverlin
  • Edward Barry
  • Camille Coates
  • Thomas Drea
  • Joyce Harant
  • Dawn Harris Jeffries
  • Ryan Hidden
  • Barbara Kaptanian-Ruth
  • Ashley Maybanks
  • Barbara Pierce
  • Mara Romeo
  • Jonathan Thomas

Economic Development and Jobs Sub-Committee

  • Nia McFarland-Drye (Co-Chair)
  • Brent Oest (Co-Chair)
  • Shawn Allen
  • Erik Christian
  • Patricia K Ellis
  • Doris Griffin
  • Brian Gruber
  • Destiny Hayes
  • Jonathan Jenkins
  • James McCoy
  • Paula Nachtrieb
  • Tom Pelger
  • Ronald Ruffin
  • Michael Seghetti
  • Chris Setti
  • Jacqueline Watkins
  • Kenten Watkins
  • Marilyn Woods
  • Janice Zagardo
  • Ken Zika

Child and Youth Development Sub-Committee

  • Gigi Gibson (Co-Chair)
  • Anupama Uddavolu (Co-Chair)
  • May Abouhouli
  • Krishan Bedi
  • Stephanie Bragg
  • Bianca Brown
  • Bernard Bryant
  • Shalandra Burch
  • Tonya Fant
  • Nikole Henry
  • Courtney Lee
  • Christian Lee
  • Charles Miner
  • Dearl E. "Skip" Morris
  • Dawn Parker-Frakes
  • Teri Rainey
  • Anni Reinking
  • Nikki Romain
  • Kristie Stockham
  • Ashley Whitlatch

Quality Housing Sub-Committee

  • Andres Diaz (Co-Chair)
  • Marcus Peoples (Co-Chair)
  • Debra Avery
  • Latoya Brown
  • Alicia Harris
  • Donny Henry
  • Adam Hopkins
  • Irene Lewis-Wimbley
  • Benny Little
  • Fai Lowe
  • Roberta Parks
  • Shataqua Poindexter
  • Jerricka Rencher
  • DezMoniquie Robertson
  • Valerie Timmes
  • Brian Uhlenhopp
  • Kiran Velpula
  • Krista Wresinski

Health and Human Services Sub-Committee

  • Francesca Armmer (Co-Chair)
  • Nicole Robertson (Co-Chair)
  • Tamia Banks
  • Ethan Carnes
  • La'Shay Carter
  • Terry Cassidy
  • Shacorrah Evans
  • Mariama Ford
  • Bernice Gordon-Young
  • Rachel Hearn
  • Mike Kennedy
  • Kamlesh Macwan
  • Anne Morrow
  • Shanta Murthy
  • Carla Sewell
  • Jaclyn Shallat
  • Crystal Slaughter
  • Barbara Smith
  • Chris Wade
  • Linda Wilson

Commission Formation

On Thursday, October 29, 2020, the Peoria County Board and the Peoria City Council voted to form a Joint Commission on Racial Justice and Equity at a special virtual joint meeting of both bodies.

View the meeting on the City of Peoria's YouTube page:

View the presentation given by the City Manager and County Administrator: PowerPoint Presentation in PDF form


Following the Civil unrest in Peoria after the killing of George Floyd, Mayor Ardis and Councilwoman Ali convened a Racial Justice and equity coalition that included Chairman Rand, the County Administrator, interested citizens, business leaders and public officials. The purpose of the coalition was to identify recommendations to improve areas of racial justice and equity within our community, to identify some quick wins and establish a structure that could transition into a collective impact model that will engage the community and address issues for racial justice and equity.

In September, the Board had a committee of the whole to discuss systemic racism in our community. As part of that discussion, staff proposed a draft of a charter to create a Peoria City-County Commission on Racial Justice and Equity. Since that time, Chairman Rand, Councilwoman Ali, the City Manager, and the County Administrator have worked to improve the language in the Charter. The goals of the Joint Commission on Racial Justice and Equity are:

  1. To establish racially inclusive leadership
  2. Promotion of focused discussions on racial equity
  3. Creation of a racial justice and equity strategic plan
  4. Formation of focused work groups that advance pro-equity policies, procedures, and systems in various areas where racial inequities exist (including, but not limited to, the justice system, housing,economic development and jobs, child and youth development, health and human services,information technology, mobility and transportation, environment and climate)
  5. Delivery of annual and periodic progress reports.

The mission of the Joint Commission on Racial Justice and Equity is to:

Accelerate Efforts to Institutionalize Racial Justice and Equity within County and City Government and to Advance its Adoption Throughout the Region.

The vision of the Joint Commission on Racial Justice and Equity is:

To End Racism in City and County Government and To Achieve Racial Equity and Justice Across Our Community.

The responsibilities of the Joint Commission on Racial Justice and Equity's are to:

  1. Develop and distribute information about racial justice and equity in the City and County
  2. Promote educational activities that increase the understanding of racial justice and equity in the City and County
  3. Recommend coordinated strategies for reducing inequity in racial justice and equity in the City and County
  4. Develop a performance management platform for communicating progress towards achieving racial justice and equity
  5. Advise the Peoria City Council and Peoria County Board, their executives, and City and County agencies about racial justice and equity in the County, and recommend policies, programs, legislation, or regulations necessary to reduce racial and social justice inequity
  6. Subject Matter Experts: Engage select subject matter experts to obtain the best possible data and obtain the best possible evaluations of racial justice and equity impact
  7. Citizen Engagement: Engage a variety of citizen groups for the purpose of soliciting community feedback using a variety of techniques including, but not limited to, surveying, town hall meetings and public forums
  8. Submit an annual report by December 1 of each year to the Peoria City Council and Peoria County Board on the activities of the Committee.

The City Council and County Board may each appoint Ex Officio Members of the Joint Commission on Racial Justice and Equity. The size of the Joint Commission shall be no less than 15 members and no more than 20 members. At least half and at most three-quarters of the members are racially diverse. All members shall reside in Peoria County. At least half and at most three-quarters of the members will reside in the City of Peoria. To represent the youth of the community, at least two members shall be between the ages of 17 and 25 at the time of their appointment.

A Nominating Committees shall be established to make the appointments to the Commission. The County Board and the City Council shall appoint one member from each body. The Nominating Committee will make recommendations to the respective entities about appointments to the Joint Commission. Co-Chairs of the Commission would be established and made by the Peoria County Board Chairman and by the Mayor with the advice and consent of the respective legislative bodies as may be required.

The City's Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer shall provide administrative support to the Committee and participate in the Commission deliberations. Legal support shall be provided by the City Corporation Counsel. Clerical support shall be provided by the Peoria County Administration. The Commission shall establish committees to examine the condition of the County and City with respect to inequity and institutional and structural racism and to determine strategies for advancing racial justice and equity. The Committees shall develop a policy agenda pertaining to their defined area to advance racial justice and equity. The Committees shall recommend coordinated strategies for reducing inequity in racial justice and equity to the full Commission. The Committees include:

  1. Child & youth development
  2. Economic development & jobs
  3. Environment & climate
  4. Health & human services
  5. Housing
  6. Information & technology
  7. Justice system
  8. Transportation & mobility