What is the Role of Chief Resilience Officers in Responding to COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter Protests?

By Jessie Feller Hahn, Executive Director, Meeting of the Minds

Jessie Feller Hahn is the Executive Director of Meeting of the Minds. She is an experienced urban planner, specializing in urban-regional policy with a particular focus on sustainability and clean energy. Previously, Jessie launched the successful Regional Energy Policy Program at Regional Plan Association in New York City. She has written numerous articles which have been featured in RPA’s Spotlight on the Region, The Hartford Courant, Urban Age Magazine, The Record, NPR, among others.

I spoke recently with Stewart Sarkozy-Banoczy about his work with Resiliency Officers around the world through the Global Resilient Cities Network. My four takeaways from this 9-minute video:

  1. As Stewart says, COVID-19 “ripped the bandaid off” to show the weaknesses and frailties of our cities and towns. Chief Resiliency Officers (CROs) around the world are well positioned to assist Mayors in mitigating/recovering from Covid-19 and responding to the protests and civil unrest across our cities.
  2. Their interdisciplinary, holistic role is exactly what’s needed right now as we tackle the enormous task(s) currently at play in cities throughout the world. Not surprisingly, cities, and even states, are creating more resiliency officer positions. Louisiana, for example, has recently created a State Resiliency Officer position.
  3. Resiliency’s baked-in focus on equity and racial justice sets up resiliency officers to quickly engage and assist Mayors offices as they respond to the protests and call for racial justice.
  4. Resiliency officers are seeking to expand their network to engage with leaders (across sectors) focused on this work through the new Cities for Resiliency Recovery network. More information is here.

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