Equity, Economy, Environment and Education (the 4 E’s) have been a top priority for Marin County since 2007. GARE has helped the County accelerate their equity initiatives over the last year. Prior to participating in the GARE Northern California cohort in 2016, Marin had engaged in a number of key equity initiatives. In 2014, five County departments launched equity pilots. These pilots included analyzing impediments to fair housing (Community Development Agency), reducing childhood obesity (Health and Human Services), improving third grade reading level (Marin County Free Library), increasing access to lands and park programs (Marin County Parks), and reducing disproportionate minority contact in Juvenile Hall (Probation). The pilot departments, along with members of Human Resources and the County Administrator’s Office, as well as Supervisor Steve Kinsey (a champion for equity), became the initial core members of Marin County’s GARE cohort team.
The County’s work with GARE aligns with their 5 Year Business Plan 2015-2020. In particular, diversity and inclusion is one of the four focus areas in the Plan and serves as the foundation and lens for the entire plan. The 5 Year Business Plan initiatives align with the County’s Racial Equity Action Plan; ensuring that equity, diversity and inclusion continue to be at the forefront of the County’s strategic planning initiatives.
Joining GARE in 2016 helped the County be more strategic in developing relationships and strengthening their allies. They gathered staff across different departments who had been working on various equity initiatives, but may have been in silos. In May, they held an equity collaboration meeting with over 60 people in attendance and introduced the different working groups to one another – GARE, equity pilot departments, health equity team that’s been partnering with the Bay Area Regional Health Inequities Initiative (BARHII), and employee affinity groups to name a few. As a result of this meeting, they came up with shared definitions for equity, racial equity, bias, diversity, and inclusion. On November 10th, members of the County’s GARE cohort partnered with Community Action Marin to host an equity summit in Marin that had over 350 people in attendance. Post-election and with support from GARE, their Board adopted a resolution of equality and inclusion. In next year’s budget development, they are inviting every department to include an equity initiative in their performance metrics.
Marin County’s immediate next step is to adopt their Racial Equity Action Plan, which lists three goals:
- Marin County staff understands and is committed to achieving racial equity
- Marin County is an effective and inclusive government that engages community
- Marin County is an equity employer and the workforce demographics reflect the demographics of the community across the breadth and depth of positions
They’ll be sending a second group to participate in the 2017 GARE California cohort to expand on the Plan that the first group created. Marin County looks forward to working with GARE to advance racial equity in their County and beyond.
Jacalyn Mah has been working in the Marin County Administrator’s Office as an Analyst since 2009. She graduated from UC Berkeley with a major in Business and minor in Asian American Studies and has received ana MPA from Golden Gate University. Her primary work revolves around budget, legislative program and the County’s 5 Year Business Plan. Serving as the GARE equity liaison is one of her special projects that she’s very passionate about. The County’s true lead is our Assistant County Administrator, Angela Nicholson.