GARE is happy to share the “Advancing Racial Equity and Transforming Government: A Resource Guide for Putting Ideas into Action.” Over the past decade, a growing field of practice has emerged. This Resource Guide is based on the lessons learned from practitioners, as well as experts from academia and advocacy organizations.
Across the country, more and more cities, counties, and states are making commitments to achieve racial equity. When government focuses on the power and influence of their own institution and works in partnership with others, significant leverage and expansion opportunities emerge, setting the stage for the achievement of racial equity in our communities.
Across the country, we have seen the introduction of many policies and programmatic efforts to advance racial equity. These individual approaches are important, but are not sufficient. To achieve racial equity, government needs a comprehensive strategy to normalize conversations about race, operationalize new policies and organizational cultures, and organize to achieve racial equity.
Check out the entire guide, or focus on the sections that are most responsive to your current work.
We have seen success with advancing racial equity and government transformation with the following six strategies:
- Use a racial equity framework. (Download Step)
Jurisdictions need to use a racial equity framework that clearly names the history of government and envisions and operationalizes a new role; and utilizes clear and easily understood definitions of racial equity and inequity, implicit and explicit bias, and individual, institutional, and structural racism.
- Build organizational capacity. (Download Step)
Jurisdictions need to be committed to the breadth (all functions) and depth (throughout hierarchy) of institutional transformation. While the leadership of elected members and top officials is critical, changes take place on the ground, and infrastructure that creates racial equity experts and teams throughout local and regional government is necessary.
- Implement racial equity tools. (Download Step)
Racial inequities are not random—they have been created and sustained over time. Inequities will not disappear on their own. Tools must be used to change the policies, programs, and practices that are perpetuating inequities, as well as used in the development of new policies and programs.
- Be data-driven. (Download Step)
Measurement must take place at two levels—first, to measure the success of specific programmatic and policy changes, and second, to develop baselines, set goals, and measure progress towards community goals.
- Partner with other institutions and communities. (Download Step)
The work of local and regional government on racial equity is necessary, but it is not sufficient. To achieve racial equity in the community, local and regional government must be working in partnership with communities and other institutions.
- Communicate and act with urgency. (Download Step)
While there is often a belief that change is hard and takes time, we have seen repeatedly, that when change is a priority and urgency is felt, change is embraced and can take place quickly. Building in institutional accountability mechanisms via a clear plan of action will allow accountability.
Collectively, we must create greater urgency and public will to achieve racial equity.
The Resource Guide provides additional information about each of these strategies. Why are they important? What is the theory? What is the practice? How does change happen? How can government normalize conversations about race, operationalize new behaviors, and organize to achieve racially equitable outcomes? The Resource Guide shares the stories and lessons learned from local government leaders across the country who have built (and continue to build) racial equity strategies. We hope that by learning from others’ experiences, we can all strengthen our ability to achieve racial equity.
NOW IS THE TIME TO TAKE ACTION
- If your jurisdiction has already initiated work to achieve racial equity, join with others from across the country. Sharing best practices, peer-to-peer learning, and academic resources helps to strengthen our collective work.
- If your jurisdiction is just getting started, GARE provides customized assistance. We are also launching year-long learning cohorts in 2016. The cohorts are supported by a body of practice including racial equity training curricula, infrastructure models, tools, and sample policies. We have racial equity training, racial equity tools, model policies, communications coaching, and assistance with particular topic areas, such as criminal justice, jobs, housing, development, health or education.
- If you are in a region where there are opportunities to build cross-jurisdictional partnerships with other institutions and communities, GARE helps build regional infrastructure for racial equity.
For more information, contact Government Alliance on Race and Equity Director, Julie Nelson – (206) 816-5104, firstname.lastname@example.org.