About the Office of Racial Equity
Established by Mayor Bowser in 2021, the Office of Racial Equity, focuses on developing an infrastructure to ensure policy decisions and District programs are evaluated through a racial equity lens; the office also carries forward the implementation of the Racial Equity Achieves Results “REACH Act” (D.C. Act 23-521). The Chief Equity Officer reports to the City Administrator is responsible for collaborating with District agencies, residents, and external stakeholders to make meaningful progress toward a more equitable city.
Bowser Administration’s Commitment to Racial Equity
The Bowser Administration has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to equity and in 2019 launched ResilientDC. A key focus area in this plan was Equity in Governance, a priority now reflected in District programs and services. ResilientDC initiated a comprehensive review of the District’s equity portfolio and put into motion the first of many equity-focused evaluations of agency programs and services. Most recently, The Lab @ DC hosted a week-long workshop series focused on reimaging police stops where participants from law enforcement, advocate organizations, researchers and residents challenged what creates an equitable experience with the police. Throughout the District’s Public Health Emergency, the Bowser Administration has closely monitored residents’ needs to ensure a robust and equitable response and recovery.
In 2020, Mayor Bowser launched “EquityRFP,” an initiative to enhance equity in the District’s development projects. Through this initiative, the District will include an equity inclusion prioritization in forthcoming RFP’s that will increase access to development opportunities for entities or organizations that are owned or majority controlled by individuals determined to be part of a socially disadvantaged population. In 2019, Mayor Bowser also issued an order requiring agencies looking for additional office space over the next five years to prioritize locations in Wards 7 and 8 in an effort to utilize the purchasing power of government to spur investment in underserved neighborhoods in the District.
Dr. Amber Hewitt
Chief Equity Officer
Dr. Hewitt is a passionate and committed public servant who most recently served as the Director of Health Equity at Families USA, a national, nonpartisan consumer health advocacy organization. As Director of Health Equity, she was responsible for developing strategic policy priorities to advance health equity and reduce disparities in health outcomes, health care access, and health care quality. Prior to her work at Families USA, Dr. Hewitt was a Manager of Policy and Advocacy at Nemours Children’s Health System where she managed the mental health, nutrition, and children’s health care coverage portfolios. She also served as an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellow at the National Institute of Mental Health and an American Psychological Association (APA) Congressional Fellow in the Office of U.S. Senator Cory Booker. Dr. Hewitt began her career as a tenure-track professor teaching undergraduate and doctorate-level courses in psychology, social justice, multicultural counseling, and diversity issues at the University of Akron. And she currently holds adjunct faculty appointments at American University, Catholic University, and Simmons University.