• Racial and Social Justice

Racial Equity and Social Justice

Achieve racial equity in County service provision and ensure a workforce reflective of the community we serve.

Why is Racial Equity a Strategic Plan Pillar?

Sonoma County’s collective well-being and prosperity are impacted by significant racial inequities. By focusing on racial equity and social justice in the Strategic Plan, the Board of Supervisors can begin to institutionalize equity and address disparate impacts on people of color both internally as an organization and in the community.

Why Start with Racial Equity?

Data shows that the greatest disparities occur along racial and socio-economic lines. If Sonoma County wants to start closing those gaps, we have to start there. Research and best practices nationally show that successful equity programs begin with a focus on race. This allows you to develop a framework, with which you can then expand to broader equity issues, including sexual orientation,gender, and ability.

What do you mean by Equity?

Equity is an outcome whereby you can’t tell the difference in critical markers of health, well-being, and wealth by race or ethnicity, and a process whereby we explicitly value the voices of people of color, low income, and other underrepresented and underserved communities who identify solutions to achieve that outcome.

Racial Equity Work at the County

County staff have been working to address social and racial equity issues. In 2018, the County joined the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE), and participants from 12County departments created Sonoma County Racial Equity Alliance and Leadership (SoCoREAL).

Additionally, County Latinx employees have formed the Sonoma County Latinx Employee Resource Network (SoCoLERN). And in July 2020, the Board of Supervisors approved the creation of a new Office of Equity, and appointed a permanent Director of the Office of Equity in September 2020.

Pillar Goals and Objectives

Goal 1: Foster a County organizational culture that supports the commitment to achieving racial equity.

  • Objective 1:Develop a shared understanding of key racial equity concepts across the County and its leadership.
  • Objective 2: Conduct a baseline assessment of racial equity awareness and understanding among County staff and develop a process to assess progress annually.
  • Objective 3: Establish an ongoing racial equity learning program for employees.
  • Objective 4: Establish equity-focused work groups to advance equity initiatives across all departments in collaboration with the Office of Equity.

Goal 2: Implement strategies to make the County workforce reflect County demographic across all levels.

  • Objective 1: Identify opportunities to enhance recruitment, hiring, employee development, and promotional processes to reflect the value of having the perspectives of people of color represented at all levels in the County workforce.
  • Objective 2: Begin implementing strategies to recruit, hire, develop, promote and retain County employees of color, produce annual report card assessing progress, and update strategies as needed.

Goal 3: Assure racial equity throughout all County policy decisions and service delivery.

  • Objective 1: Establish a racial equity analysis tool for departments to use for internal decision-making, policy decisions and implementation, and service delivery.
  • Objective 2:Establish regular reporting practices on racial equity in County policies, programs, and services.

Goal 4: Engage key community and internal stakeholders to develop priorities and to advance racial equity.

  • Objective 1: Develop a community engagement plan with a focus on racial equity, and establish a process for engagement and collaboration.
  • Objective 2: Collaborate with community stakeholders to incorporate a racial equity lens into County emergency response, economic recovery and resiliency planning processes.
  • Objective 3: Begin implementing strategies for regular community engagement to guide racial equity efforts.

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