How do I get my local government to incorporate racial equity across all departments? Where should the initiative be housed? There is frequently resistance to new initiatives and sometimes racial equity work is treated like an extraneous “add on.” Shrinking budgets, increasing mandates, and broad service areas add to the challenge of doing racial equity work systemically.
When the County of Monterey’s public works division faced a state review for compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, they turned to the County’s Equal Opportunity Officer for assistance. Utilizing racial equity principles, an inside/outside approach, and existing County structure, the team took advantage of the “open window” to develop a Title VI Plan for all of Monterey County, revise nondiscrimination policies, and rename the Equal Opportunity Office to the Civil Rights Office. The new identity gave us reason to work collaboratively with the community and an opportunity to work with all 26 County departments on some basic racial equity principles. The community gained a plan that they can lean on when they do not think we are working to engage them equitably and that helped developed new relationships with County staff.
In this session, we will work with participants to develop a wish list related to racial equity in their community. Utilizing our experience in Monterey County and broad knowledge of County functions plus the expertise of those gathered, we will identify potential windows of opportunity to incorporate wish list items into existing programs, plans, and compliance structures.