Make Racial Equity a Core Part of Local Government

Imagine if every department in local government was regularly asking, “How can we advance racial equity in our work?”

The seeds of that vision are starting here in Washtenaw County.

As part of the One Community initiative, leaders in Washtenaw County government and the City of Ann Arbor have gone through an extensive training process to understand structural racism, to see how even race-neutral and well-intentioned efforts can result in racially disparate outcomes, and to practice using tools to develop sound equity-focused policies and practices. Check out the One Community video to learn more.

This first round of training was the foundation–now comes the hard work of implementing these new skills. Here are the next steps:

  • City of Ann Arbor: On Monday, July 16, Ann Arbor City Council will consider a resolution supporting the One Community initiative and ongoing equity work. This resolution calls for
    • Offering equity training to all staff
    • Dis-aggregating data based on race (e.g. do some racial groups feel more or less safe in Ann Arbor?)
    • Developing equity goals and outcome measures
    • Partnering with communities of color to develop, implement, and assess equity plans
    • Reporting quarterly on progress on this effort
  • Washtenaw County is scheduled to review an Equity Ordinance at their meeting on August 8. This ordinance would:
    • Create an Office of Racial Equity
    • Promote equity training for County staff, elected officials, and board and commission members
    • Require each County department to establish a Racial Equity Action Plan that reviews of “existing policies, procedures, and budget allocations for their impact on equity, particularly racial equity. “
    • Require a racial equity review of all Board of Commissioners decisions and resolutions.

How you can help: