California Cabinet Secretaries Pass Racial Equity Resolution
Action is the first of its kind by a multi-agency State body
On August 26th, 2020, a Council of seven California cabinet members and three public appointees unanimously approved a landmark Racial Equity Resolution committing their California state agencies to action to advance racial equity. The group is called the California Strategic Growth Council (SGC), and includes Secretaries of Housing, Health and Human Services, Food and Agriculture, Transportation, the Environment, Natural Resources, and Land Use Planning.
Commitments include integrating racial equity into agency operations, identifying and implementing measurable actions, working towards alignment across agencies, and reporting out to the public at least twice yearly. This resolution comes a year after SGC’s 2019 adoption of a Racial Equity Action Plan and grew out of work with the Capitol Collaborative on Race and Equity (CCORE).
“This resolution builds on the SGC’s commitment to address and eradicate structural racism across California,” said Council Chair Kate Gordon, who is the Director of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research and the Governor’s Senior Advisor on Climate. “All people in California deserve to live in healthy, thriving, and resilient communities regardless of race. They also deserve to have their State agencies put racial equity front and center within our operations, programs, policies, and practices.”
David Kim, Secretary of the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA), shared that “The principles of racial equity, inclusion, and diversity are foundational to achieving our vision of a cleaner, safer, more accessible, and more connected transportation future for California.” Earlier in August, Caltrans, a department of CalSTA, established a ten-person Office of Race & Equity.
The California resolution is a direct outcome of the Capitol Collaborative on Race and Equity (CCORE), which is a partnership between the Public Health Institute (PHI), Race Forward, the California Strategic Growth Council, philanthropic partners, and the agencies involved. In this unique partnership, PHI works as an on-the-ground partner to the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE), an initiative of Race Forward, and assists government with application of GARE lessons through implementation and systems change work. While agencies pay an enrollment fee for the trainings, philanthropic partners support additional services including cross-agency coordination and long-term strategy work. All the agencies represented on the Council are participating – either agency-wide or at the department level – in CCORE.
Karen Ross, Secretary of the California Department of Food & Agriculture (CDFA), shared, “I am very excited to have the first CDFA cohort participating in CCORE. This inaugural CDFA class will lead our efforts to engage our employees and stakeholders to develop a Racial Equity Action Plan to continually improve our programs, outreach, and support for California agriculture and the millions of consumers who depend upon it.”
While GARE has seen significant commitments across a wide range of local U.S. jurisdictions, this is the first action of its kind by a multi-agency body at a state-government level.
Holly Nickel, Racial Equity Strategist at PHI, added, “Let’s not forget to give credit to the local jurisdictions in California and nationally that are leading the way with racial equity work. State government has an obligation to support local communities in their efforts for justice. We stand on their shoulders and follow in their footsteps.”
The Capitol Collaborative on Race and Equity (CCORE) is a program of the Public Health Institute, in partnership with Race Forward and the California Strategic Growth Council. For questions contact firstname.lastname@example.org.