Developing a network of government focusing on racial equity is critically important to getting to different outcomes in our communities. The goal must be beyond closing the gaps; we must lift up overall outcomes, focusing efforts those who are faring worst. Deeply racialized systems are costly and depress outcomes and life chances for us collectively. To advance equity, government must focus not only on individual programs, but also on policy and institutional strategies that are driving the production of inequities.
The following six strategies are critical:
- Use a racial equity framework: Jurisdictions use a racial equity framework that clearly articulates racial equity, implicit and explicit bias, and individual, institutional and structural racism.
- Build organizational capacity: Jurisdictions need to be committed to the breadth and depth of institutional transformation so that impacts are sustainable. While the leadership of electeds 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: 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. New policies and programs must also be developed with a racial equity tool.
- Be data-driven: 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 goals. Use of data in this manner is necessary for accountability.
- Partner with other institutions and communities: 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 needs to work in partnership with communities and other institutions to achieve meaningful results.
- Operate with urgency and accountability: 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.