The City of Saint Paul joined GARE in 2015, under the leadership of Mayor Chris Coleman. Focusing on its internal operations, the Saint Paul began developing a city-wide equity framework. Mayor Coleman directed every department to develop an annual Equity Work Plan to tackle racial disparities. Each City department began forming an Equity Change Team to lead this work. This network of Department Change Teams became the City-Wide Equity Change Team. The Director of Human Rights and Equal Economic Opportunity (HREEO) convened the city-wide team on a quarterly basis to share best practices and discuss their progress towards meeting goals. Mayor Coleman also set a goal for all 3,000 employees to participate in the foundational racial equity training by the end of his term, December 31, 2017. The goal was met.
In 2017, Saint Paul became a “majority minority” City as its percentage of residents of color reached over 50%. The City also elected its first African-American Mayor, Melvin Carter. As Mayor Carter set out to Build a City that Works for All, he established three pillars of his administration 1) Equity, 2) Resiliency and 3) Innovation. In January 2018, Mayor Carter appointed Toni Newborn as the Chief Equity Officer to lead the City’s racial equity work. In her role as the Chief Equity Officer, Newborn leads the Equity Steering Committee, Equity Design Team and Department Equity Change Teams to provide support and guidance in integrating equity into the City’s services, engagement, policies and practices. Chief Newborn works in partnership with Departments to develop educational opportunities for City staff and residents to advance city-wide equity initiatives.
Saint Paul’s City-wide Equity Change Team continues to meet quarterly. Departments continue to develop annual Equity Work Plans, outlining the actions they will take to meet the City’s four strategic objectives 1) Equity in the Workforce, 2) Equity in Supplier Diversity, 3) Equity in the Design of Goods & Services and 4) Equity in Community Engagement. City staff are also currently creating their own version of GARE’s Racial Equity Toolkit to assist departments in examining their policies, practices, procedures and budget decisions for racial disparities.
It is the mission of the City of Saint Paul to integrate equity and inclusion into how they approach all their work. They are committed to building an equitable and inclusive city that will shift culture in city processes and policies, eliminate structural inequities, and ensure timely and relevant access to services, resources, support, and opportunity to every person in Saint Paul.