Behind-the-scenes work carried out by County leadership in partnership with the community is about to blossom into a series of equity-driven public initiatives designed to ensure minority communities can share in the well-being and prosperity promised to all county residents by the Countywide Vision.

“There is enough room for everybody to succeed,” Fifth District Supervisor Joe Baca, Jr. said during a June 22 update provided to more than 100 Black community leaders on the County’s equity efforts.

These efforts, inspired by action taken by the Board of Supervisors three years ago declaring racism as a public health crisis, resulted in the creation of a Countywide Vision Equity Element Group made up of 16 Black community organizations and the inclusion of equity as a guiding force within other vision element groups addressing public safety, education, wellness, housing, jobs and the economy, the environment, infrastructure, and water.

“We have an opportunity in this space unlike any other,” said County Chief Executive Officer Leonard X. Hernandez. “I believe in this county the best things can grow… We are poised right now as an organization to push forward in a bold way, to push forward in a new way, and to push forward in a sustainable way to do things we’ve never done before.”

County Assistant Executive Officer Diana Alexander, who heads the County’s equity efforts, said groundwork carried out by the Equity Element Group and the County will soon result in:

  • Workshops to teach minority-run businesses and community organizations how to effectively compete for County contracts.
  • Building capacity within community organizations with the assistance of skilled young people supported by County funding.
  • Establishment of a County Equity Office led by a County Equity Officer.
  • Prioritization of investments in minority communities.
  • An Equity Cohort program within the County to ensure County departments think in terms of equity as they provide services to residents and businesses.
  • Contracting with a Black-owned communications firm to ensure minority communities are aware of the Equity Element Group and County’s efforts and has the opportunity to participate in programs and decision-making. 

“We’ve been doing things behind the scenes and now we’re bringing it out,” Alexander said. “Please believe me when I say you will see change.”

The County’s declaration of racism as a public health crisis, the addition of equity as a Countywide Vision element and the creation of the Equity Element Group came in the wake of the May 25, 2020, murder of George Floyd, a Black man, by a Minneapolis police officer, which is why efforts have initially focused on the Black community.

Alexander said the lessons learned and successes will be applied to eventually address the equity needs of all minority communities of color, gender, age, and disabilities.

Additional County Update News – June 30, 2023

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *