EL PASO, TX (KTSM) – On Wednesday, the City of El Paso Government made its pitch-presentation to the National Civic League, showcasing why El Paso is ‘A City that Elevates.” This is part of the 2022 Virtual All-America City (AAC) Competition.

The City is competing to be named an All-America City (AAC) for the sixth time. The City first won the award in 1969 and again in 2010, 2018, 2020 and 2021.

The 2022 spotlight for the AAC award is focused on the theme, “Housing as a Platform to Promote Early School Success and Equitable Learning Recovery.”

Link to vote for El Paso: Vote for El Paso!

Virtual presentations were given in front of the jury panel. The event was live-streamed via the City’s Facebook page just after 3 p.m. today where Mayor Oscar Leeser led off with a small monologue enforcing that El Paso is a city that elevates its people, rises through adversity, and that El Paso partners with its local organizations to help its most vulnerable population.

He passed the presentation over to the City of El Paso Public Library Department officials who described that the local libraries serve as a large source of empowerment for the community.

Staff explained that libraries have always been highly valued (in El Paso) in providing vital resources to the community such as educational programs for all age groups, public computer access, mobile hotspots, job assistance, and culturally relevant programming, among other lifelong learning and literacy skills.

Staff explained that the public libraries were forced to scale back during the pandemic and that it was difficult to see people lose out on resources due to the pandemic. They added the fact that El Paso was awarded a grant from Microsoft and the Public Library Association, which allowed El Paso to offer digital skills classes for those who lost those skills through the pandemic.

The library officials described that through partnerships with the likes of the Housing Opportunity Management Enterprises (HOME), El Paso Housing Authority, and other local non-profit housing agencies, they were able to identify 100 low-income families impacted by the pandemic. Staff said those families received refurbished laptops, adding that they gave 69 home tablets to residents because of the grant funds.

The presentation transitioned to the housing phase of the presentation where HOME CEO Gerald Cichon spoke. He explained the success that El Paso has had in turning old homes into learning centers for people with limited access to resources.

It was followed by transitioning to the YWCA, who explained the Banned Books Project and the fact that marginalized people get forgotten and can be considered invisible, which was highlighted by a demonstration from kids during the presentation.

It ended with City Manager Tommy Gonzalez capping off the presentation by encapsulating the collaboration that El Paso uses to elevate its people. ‘Every Story Matters’ is part of El Paso’s pitch-presentation theme to the jury.

The jury members asked questions after the presentation finished. One jury member expressed how impressed it was with the increased number of partnerships El Paso now has across the community.