County Board Unanimous on Equity Initiative
May 05, 2014
County Board Chair Sharon Corrigan, 608.333.2285 County Supervisor Shelia Stubbs, 608.345.6961
A resolution introduced by Supervisor Shelia Stubbs and 17 cosponsors passed unanimously Thursday, focusing unprecedented County staff resources to focus on decreasing racial disparities and increasing equity in the County.
“It’s time that we decide to stop talking. We’ve read the reports. It’s time that we have action,” said Stubbs. “The status quo is no longer acceptable. We are past the tipping point. We are tipped over. It’s time to get good public servants together who want to move forward with an action plan. That’s what this resolution does. It moves us forward. Less talk, more action. It’s not creating any more commissions, any more committees. It’s not creating a task force, but it’s simply forming a staff team. That’s different than what we’ve ever done before. ”
The measure assembles a staff team of representatives from departments including but not limited to the Office of the County Board, the Office of Equal Opportunity, the Department of Administration, the Department of Human Services, the Department of Land and Water Resources, the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, the Department of Planning and Development, the Department of Public Works, Highway and Transportation, the Sheriff’s Office, and the Veteran’s Services Office.
The staff team is directed to:
- Address the root causes of racial inequity over the next 1, 3 and 5 years through development of a strategic action plan for county government, to include equity impacts in annual budget development.
- Enhance equity via effective and active engagement of the communities that are impacted by county policies. Engaging residents and forging partnerships towards equity in all decision making.
- Analyze and highlight the inequities in Dane County:
- collect and summarize key indicators in multiple sectors, using the Race to Equity report as a starting point;
- share information with the County Board, County Executive’s office, County agencies, and the public
- work with the existing efforts to coordinate data and to focus those efforts on equity indicators
- Develop and implement an equity impact model to inform policies and practices that consider equity impacts in county government plans and decisions.
- Determine how the services provided by each department might have an impact on equity.
The resolution is the second in what will likely be a series of proposals in response to last November’s Race to Equity report from the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families. Among the findings in the report:
- In Dane County, African Americans are 5.5 more likely to be unemployed than whites
- Five percent of Dane County’s white children live in poverty; 75% of African American children do
- Sixteen percent of Dane County’s white students don’t graduate on time; Half of African American children don’t
- African American juveniles are six times more likely to be arrested than white juveniles
The WCCF study mirrors previous studies that found African Americans make up six percent of the general Dane County population but 40 percent of its jail population, and that an African American resident was 97 times more likely to be incarcerated for a drug crime than a white resident. That is the widest disparity in the nation on that particular measurement.
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