LA County Adopts Racial Equity Strategic Plan
By Daniella Masterson
Structural racism is not dissimilar to systematic racism except now it has been validated, or elevated, as a health crisis. In a bold and innovative move, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has adopted a progressive Countywide Racial Equity Strategic Plan with five goals intended to improve the lives of residents and communities throughout Los Angeles.
The motion was introduced by Supervisors Holly J. Mitchell and Hilda Solis and approved unanimously by the Board with hopes of fostering meaningful and lasting change.
“This is the first time in LA County’s history that there is a coordinated plan to actualize our commitment to racial equity,” said Mitchell.
“I am proud that the Board of Supervisors approved my motion to accept this unifying call-to-action that the county’s Anti-Racism, Diversity and Inclusion Initiative created with input from departments and community members. With this plan, every department will be assessing its role in helping to achieve measurable goals that help remove barriers and improve life outcomes for communities that have been disproportionately impacted by systemic racism,” she said.
The creation of the Countywide Racial Equity Strategic Plan was a directive of the Board when a motion was unanimously adopted on July 21, 2020, to establish an Anti-Racist County Policy Agenda, declaring racism a matter of public health in the County.
It isn’t clear that Los Angeles is the first, but it is breaking new ground to increase recognition that racism contributes to poorer health and economic outcomes for racial and ethnic minorities and other populations that limit opportunities, resources, power, and well-being of individuals and populations. The Countywide Racial Equity Strategic Plan was developed by the Chief Executive Office’s Anti-Racism, Diversity, and Inclusion (ARDI) Initiative.
“This groundbreaking declaration acknowledged that racism, especially against Black people, was a matter of public health in Los Angeles County,” said Chief Executive Officer of Los Angeles County Fesia Davenport.
“It’s important to recognize that the pandemic revealed what we already knew to be true—that significant disparities in family stability, health, education, employment, public safety, criminal justice, and housing disproportionately affect communities of color,” added Davenport.
The plan presents a 10-year roadmap to foster a more equitable and inclusive County. The plan highlights five strategic goals to be achieved through multiple initiatives over the next decade:
- Increase attainment of Postsecondary Credentials with Significant Labor Market Value
- Reduce Adult First-Time Felony Convictions
- Increase Stable Full-Time Employment Among Individual Adults
- Increase the Percentage of Families with Incomes Above 250% Federal Poverty Level
- Reduce Infant Mortality
The plan recognizes several historic factors that have helped exacerbate racial disparities and inequality across the County such as gaps in high school graduation, in year round full-time employment, and much larger gaps in college enrollment, college graduation, family incomes and homeownership rates.
Structural racism refers to conditions that limit opportunities, resources, power, and well-being of individuals and populations based on race/ethnicity and other statuses, including but not limited to gender, sexual orientation, disability status, immigration status, national origin or race and more.
Five areas of focus were arrived at through an extensive process of community engagement, data analysis, and strategic planning, said Davenport.
“While not the first to do so, Los Angeles County’s broad plan to address structural racism through the Countywide Racial Equity Strategic Plan can be seen as a pioneering effort,” said Davenport.
“The plan represents a commitment to dismantling structural racism and has positioned Los Angeles County as a trailblazer in acknowledging the role of racism as a public health issue. By taking this bold step, the County hopes to become a model for other jurisdictions seeking to confront racial disparities and foster racial equity in their communities.”
For more information, visit the ARDI Racial Equity Strategic Plan page to learn more.