(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser and Amber Hewitt, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Racial Equity (ORE), released the District’s first-ever Racial Equity Action Plan, a three-year roadmap outlining actions that the District will take to close racial equity gaps and measure progress toward a more equitable DC. Residents can provide feedback on the plan starting today, Wednesday, November 16, by accessing the online submission form; comments can be submitted until January 2, 2023.
“It is our charge and our responsibility to put in place policies that are intentional about ending structural racism and reversing the legacies of policies that intentionally locked Black and Brown Washingtonians out of opportunity and the ability to build wealth,” said Mayor Bowser. “And every District agency is responsible for helping us build a more equitable DC. The Racial Equity Action Plan is critical in that it will help guide our work and ensure agencies are being more intentional about applying a racial equity lens to policies and investments.”
The Racial Equity Action Plan charts a path for the District to improve outcomes for all Washingtonians, particularly residents who have been the most impacted by structural racism. The goals of the plan are for DC Government to:
- Employ staff who understand and are committed to achieving racial equity.
- Commit to eliminating racial and ethnic inequities.
- Commit to meaningfully engaging community in government decision-making processes and strengthening community partnerships.
- Be an equitable employer and engage in racially equitable hiring, promotion, and retention practices.
The Racial Equity Action Plan was developed through the work of members from the Office of Racial Equity who led multiple community engagement forums during fall 2021 and held multiple internal stakeholder sessions with District agencies in July and August of 2022. In addition to the four goals listed above, the plan also includes racial equity indicators to measure ways in which residents experience racial equity gaps. The indicators span seven proposed categories: education, health, economic opportunity, safety, neighborhood life, civic engagement, and housing.
“We are committed to moving forward Mayor Bowser’s vision of creating a city where every Washingtonian has the opportunity to thrive. This work involves cross-agency collaboration and meaningful community engagement that has resulted in the District’s first action plan,” said ORE Director Amber Hewitt.
Established by Mayor Bowser in 2021, the Office of Racial Equity is charged with developing a system to ensure policy decisions and District programs are evaluated through a racial equity lens. ORE also collaborates with District agencies, residents, and external stakeholders to make meaningful progress toward a more racially equitable city. Central to the vision of racial equity in Washington, DC are the lived experiences of residents, and the perspectives and needs of residents have helped to shape the plan and will guide its implementation.
ORE also played an active role in the Fiscal Year 2023 budget review process to consider impacts specifically on Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities, and to identify programs and services that have the greatest capacity to move the needle on closing racial equity gaps. The team also worked with 12 District agencies to pilot racial equity tools, complete a departmental assessment of racial equity, and develop racial equity action plans. Through the racial equity data standards pilot, ORE is collaborating with four District agencies to develop guidance on race and ethnicity data collection and analysis. Continuing progress toward a racially equitable DC requires a whole-of-government approach where each District government agency and employee recognizes that they have a role to play.
To view the Racial Equity Action Plan, visit ore.dc.gov/actionplan.