Democratizing Power: Moving a Racial Equity Agenda through Local and Regional Boards and Commissions

Saturday, 11/10
9:15 am to 10:45 am

Boards and commissions are a great exercise in democracy. However, oftentimes commissioners lack a racial equity lens to make the decisions that will benefit vulnerable communities. The lived experiences of people of color and low-income people are not reflected on these decision-making bodies, leaving out large swaths of our communities. In this session, participants will learn about the Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute (BCLI), a strategy started by Urban Habitat to advance an equity agenda in the Bay Area (California). The BCLI recruits, trains, and supports people of color and low-income people to serve on boards and commissions. BCLI alumni gain a deeper understanding of racial systemic inequities, and have access to a toolkit of equitable policies, as well as resource experts to turn to, and a tight network of other advocate commissioners. The strategy has been replicated in nine other cities across the country. Participants will hear from replication partners on how they have utilized the BCLI to advance their campaign goals, address racial inequity, and how they have applied the BCLI to build out their leadership pipeline. Participants will hear case studies of successful campaigns or of regions that are beginning to integrate racially equitable policies where the BCLI was instrumental in advancing an issue, and they will walk away with tools to help them assess if the BCLI is the right strategy for their organization.