Benjamin Duncan

Chief Equity and Diversity Officer
Multnomah County
Ben Duncan is the Chief Diversity and Equity Officer and Director of the Office of Diversity and Equity for Multnomah County. He is also a founding board member of OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon who organizes low income and people of color to build power for Environmental Justice and Civil Rights in the community. His work focuses on the relationships between our social, economic, and environmental conditions and racial and ethnic disparities. Ben is the Board Chair for the Oregon Public Health Institute and is a founding appointed member to the Oregon Governor’s Environmental Justice Task Force.

Presentations from Facing Race 2018

Advancing Workforce Equity by Centering Those Most Impacted

It is our uncomfortable truth that racial identity impacts the experiences and can impact the retention of employees. Workforce equity demands that we identify and address any barriers to equal employment opportunity faced by our employees and communities because of their race, ethnicity, national origin, disability, gender, sexual orientation and other protected classes.

The process of developing a Workforce Equity Strategic Plan, was initiated by Employees of Color (EOC)—an Employee Resource Group, in a partnership with labor and community based organizations organizing to bring attention to institutional racism, and inequities within the organization. The Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE), working with these groups, then developed a process that focused on lifting up and centering the voices and experiences of those most impacted by unequal employment opportunity. Utilizing this existing structure, ERGs hosted a series of facilitated discussions to uncover common themes and ideas for action around retention and support, professional development and promotion, and organizational culture. These same groups then coded and analyzed data, and drove a process of strategy development that reflected the needs and experiences of employees.

Reflecting a guiding framework of safety, trust and belonging, and designing strategies that reflected principles of equity and tactics of community organizing, Multnomah County, impacted and influenced by the organizing and power of front line staff, developed a Workforce Equity Strategic Plan that will guide the organization in addressing institutional inequities.

Speakers: Benjamin Duncan, Raymond De Silva, Natasha Smith, Andrea Archuleta, Aimeera Flint

Presentations from Facing Race 2016

Building an Inside/Outside Strategy: How to Advance Racial Equity in Governance beyond the City and Community Divide

As we do the work of deep institutional and structural change many of us exist in two distinct spaces, the inside and the outside. Some of us possess the decision making power to advance a racial equity agenda, but need external pressure and advocacy to push ideas to action. While others hold relationships and knowledge about what local residents need, but lack the mechanisms to move it forward. By coming together and understanding our unique roles we are able to magnify the power needed to dismantle historically rooted racial inequities. This workshop will discuss the critical characteristics of forwarding racial equity in governance through an "inside/outside strategy" by looking at community and governmental partnerships.. Key aspects will include identifying credible systems leaders, training up community residents and fostering intentional relationships to navigate levels of power and ensure commitment to a shared vision. We will outline how to strategically seize moments as catalytic opportunities for change, as well as highlight necessary infrastructure to bring about healing-informed racial equity. Using current examples from leading cities, participants will learn practical advice on how a racial equity and healing lens can build capacity, institute best practices and develop new relationships between government and community that best allow communities to share power and realize equitable outcomes and opportunities for all residents.

Speakers: Andrea Manzo, Benjamin Duncan