San Francisco’s New Equity Office Will Aim to Fight Systemic Racism

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The City of San Francisco (15.1% Latino) unanimously approved legislation to create an Office of Racial Equity on Tuesday.

The position will oversee a citywide race-equality plan, according to city officials as reported by NBC Bay Area.

“This legislation will hold us accountable to moving the needle for racial equity in our city and addressing the disparities facing communities of color with regards to economic stability, housing, health outcomes or policing,” said City Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer, who proposed the legislation along with Supervisor Vallie Brown.

“It is long past due that San Francisco makes real our commitment to racial equity, and this Office of Racial Equity will make sure that everyone in San Francisco has equitable opportunity to survive.”

Racial Equity & San Francisco

Supervisor Vallie Brown, seen here during a hearing on discriminatory hiring practices in city government in September last year, on Tuesday introduced legislation with Supervisor Sandra Fewer (right) to create an Office of Racial Equity. (Photo by Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Latinos, Blacks, and other minorities throughout the U.S. are plagued by inequality — especially in education, health, life expectancy, employment, income, arrest rates, homelessness, and more.

San Fransisco’s Office of Racial Equity will aim to lessen that gap in their city.

The Office of Racial Equity will operate under the Human Rights Commission and will join roughly 32 other American cities who have similar offices.

A racial disparity, as defined in the legislation, is one racial group that systematically and disproportionately experiences worse outcomes in comparison to another racial group or groups.

City agencies and lawmakers will receive assistance in analyzing how their decisions—such as hiring practices and policy proposals—impact communities of color.

Additionally, the office must prepare a biannual report on how communities of color compared to others concerning wealth, employment, and economic security.

The office also plans to create a Racial Equity Framework, which outlines San Francisco’s “vision, goals, and strategies to address racial equity and racial disparities in the city” according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The Center is likely to be created by the end of the year.

“This office calls out racial inequities and will effect systemic change,” Shamann Walton told the SF Chronicle. 

The Need for Agencies Like These

The goal of the San Francisco Racial Equity Center, like many others, aims to bridge the gap by collecting data in areas such as wealth, employment, transportation, homelessness, health, education, and policing.

This is great news for Latinos and minorities who lag behind in the above areas compared to their white counterparts.

Moreover, San Francisco is already combating racial disparities wither their implicit bias program. The program plans to enable prosecutors to make charging decisions in some criminal cases without knowing the race or background of the suspects and victims, a move aimed at reducing the potential for implicit bias in prosecutions.

“As public servants, we must shine a light on these disparities, reconcile past harms, and identify solutions so that all San Franciscans may achieve their greatest potential without being undermined by structural obstacles to success,” Sheryl Davis, the Human Rights Commission Director, told NBC. 

“Creating this office is a great first step toward justice and inclusion for the most marginalized residents.”

Cover Photo: Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer was one of the sponsor’s of the legislation (Photo by Paul Chinn / The Chronicle). 

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