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In October 2016, the City of Oakland launched the Department of Race and Equity.

Read the Oakland Municipal Code Derived from the Ordinance

Our Mission:

To create a city where our diversity has been maintained, racial disparities have been eliminated and racial equity has been achieved.

Our Goals:

  • Eliminate systemic causes of racial disparities in City Government.
  • Promote inclusion and full participation for all residents of the City.
  • Reduce race-based disparities in our communities.

Our Working Assumptions:

(adapted from Annie E. Casey Race Matters Toolkit)

  • Race matters; almost every indicator of well-being shows troubling disparities by race.
  • Disparities are created and maintained, often inadvertently, through institutionalized policies and practices that contain barriers to opportunity.
  • It’s possible, and only possible, to close equity gaps by using strategies determined through an intentional focus on racial disparities and their root causes.
  • If opportunities in all key areas of well-being are equitable, then equitable results will follow.
  • Given the right message, analysis and tools, people will work toward racial equity.

Our Change Process

Our focus is to cultivate advocates and their capacity to focus on equity, build infrastructure and political will to support the change, employ new skills/tools to make changes, track and recognize progress by:

  • Increase awareness of racial inequity, it’s root causes and how it is perpetuated by institutions and systems.
  • Mobilize advocates to organize support for furthering a shared vision of racial equity through institutional leadership, equity teams and staff engagement in change efforts.
  • Develop strategic plans and tools for analysis and resources for advancing racial equity goals, including specific racial equity outcomes.
  • Train staff to apply pro-equity tools to change structures, policies, practices and procedures to further institutional transformation.
  • Establish baseline disparity data, targets/benchmarks and processes to track and report outcomes.
  • Collaborate with community and other institutions/partners to identify and address cumulative impacts of institutional and structural inequity in Oakland.

Why do we want Equity?

Equality focuses on giving everyone the same thing, regardless of outcomes. Equality works when everyone starts from the same place.

Equity is fairness. It's ensuring that people have access to the same opportunities or services we administer or deliver, directly or by contract.