Developing and implementing institutional change strategies to operationalize structural racial equity.
Currently across the country, regardless of region, racial inequities exist across every indicator for success—including health, criminal justice, education, jobs, housing, and beyond. Our goal goes beyond closing the gaps; we must improve overall outcomes, focusing efforts on those who are faring worst. Deeply racialized systems are costly for us collectively and depress outcomes and life chances for communities of color; to advance racial equity, government and other institutions must focus not only on individual programs, but also on policy and institutional strategies that create and maintain inequities.
CSI has catalyzed institutional change processes with advocacy organizations, philanthropic institutions, and local government. Our core program, the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE), is a national network of government working to achieve racial equity and advance opportunities for all.
GARE uses a six-part strategic approach, geared to address all levels of institutional change. We have found that this approach is widely applicable to other institutions.
- Use a racial equity framework: Jurisdictions must use a racial equity framework that clearly articulates our vision for racial equity and the differences between individual, institutional, and structural racism—as well as implicit and explicit bias.
- Operate with urgency and accountability: While it is often believed that change is hard and takes time, we have seen repeatedly that when we prioritize change and act with urgency, change is embraced and can occur quickly. The most effective path to accountability comes by creating clear action plans with built-in institutional accountability mechanisms. Collectively, we must create greater urgency and public will to in order to achieve racial equity.
- Build organizational capacity: Jurisdictions need to be committed to the breadth and depth of institutional transformation so that impacts are sustainable. While the leadership of electeds and top officials is critical, change takes place on the ground, and it is necessary to build infrastructure that creates racial equity experts and teams throughout local and regional government.
- Partner with other institutions and communities: The work of government on racial equity is necessary, but not sufficient. To achieve racial equity, government must work in partnership with communities and other institutions to achieve meaningful results.
- Implement racial equity tools: Racial inequities are not random; they have been created and sustained over time. Inequities will not disappear on their own; tools must be used to change the policies, programs, and practices that perpetuate inequities. Using GARE’s Racial Equity Tool facilitates the integration of racial equity into routine decision-making.
- Be data-driven: Measurement must take place at two levels—first, to measure the success of specific programmatic and policy changes, and second, to develop baselines, set goals, and measure progress towards goals. Use of data in this manner is necessary for accountability.
Explore our other three strategies: