The City of Lowell is thrilled to announce an improvement on the Municipal Equality Index 2023 (MEI) scorecard as evaluated by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). The MEI is a nationwide evaluation of municipal law employed by the HRC to evaluate the inclusivity of municipal laws, policies, and services in support of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer plus (LGBTQ+) community residing and working in the City. Lowell has scored 91 points out of a possible 100, marking a significant leap from its 2022 MEI score of 50. Today's nationwide announcement reflects the City's ongoing commitment to supporting and advancing the rights of the LGBTQ+ community. Access the scorecard here: https://www.hrc.org/MEI
"This represents a huge win for the City of Lowell in support of the LGBTQ+ community," said Thomas A. Golden, Jr., City Manager. "The Council and Administration recognize the importance of the work done by the Human Rights Campaign. Lowell has always been supportive of the diversity within our City, and the improvement of this score represents Lowell's commitment to supporting all people living, working, and visiting. We are committed to putting in the work to improve our score in 2024 to bring even further support and protection to our LGBTQ+ residents."
The 2023 MEI, in its twelfth annual edition, evaluates 506 cities from every state in the nation on 49 different criteria. The five largest cities in each state are evaluated, which puts Lowell in a position to be reviewed annually. Municipalities are scrutinized on five key areas: non-discrimination laws, municipal employment practices, delivery of municipal services, law enforcement policies, and leadership in promoting LGBTQ+ equality. This is a vital step for protecting and assisting LGBTQ+ residents, visitors, and employees within the City of Lowell.
Responding to the City Council's recommendation, the City Manager's Office has worked in conjunction with the Chief DEI Officer, Human Relations Office, Office of Procurement, the Lowell School Department, and the Law Department to reassess existing policies in place across City departments. A pivotal initiative involved revising the Human Relations packet for all new hires to include gender-neutral language, an updated non-discrimination policy, and LGBTQ+-friendly definitions.
"As a Latina woman, I know the importance of feeling welcome," said Ineabelle Dominguez, Lowell's Chief DEI Officer. "Lowell is a diverse city, and it is important for us to highlight the growth we have made over the years towards a more welcoming and nurturing environment. With the full support of this administration, we will continue our collaborative efforts to foster equity and inclusivity for all."