Co-authored by Center for Social Inclusion (CSI) and Government Alliance on Race & Equity (GARE), this report is a four-year comprehensive plan to increase racial equity in Dane County, Wisconsin. The report is a roadmap to increase racial equity in the county, encompassing five recommendations to deepen understanding of and commitment to racial equity. The goal is to make Dane County government more inclusive and engaging, increase access to economic prosperity, ensure the safety of all neighborhoods, and promote good health for all residents.
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Like counties across the United States, Dane County experiences deep race-based disparities across all indicators of health and wellbeing, which impacts the quality of life for all residents. The report states that these racial inequities are not random; they have been created and sustained over time. With the right strategy and clear focus, government can be a leader in advancing racial equity. Unlike many other counties, Dane has taken strides to better understand and address inequities.
Building on existing work and national best practices, Dane County can work toward normalizing, operationalizing, and organizing toward racial equity by transforming the underlying culture of government.
The recommendations, outlined in detail in the report, are for Dane County to:
- Develop infrastructure and tools to increase Dane County employees’ and residents’ understanding of and ability to advance racial equity.
- Implement strategies to ensure Dane County is an effective and inclusive government that engages community and is responsive to its needs.
- Ensure that Dane County’s communities of color share in the County’s economic prosperity.
- Ensure that all neighborhoods and people are safe and racial disproportionalities in the criminal justice system are eliminated.
- Ensure that all residents have healthy life outcomes.
The recommendations, described in greater detail in the full report, provide community indicators, performance measures, and specific actions that Dane County leadership and employees can take to ensure that the organization’s values move from
intent to outcome.
The analysis and recommendations provide concrete next steps that, if adopted, would establish Dane County as a national leader in government’s role in addressing race and equity.
To ensure the the recommendations of the racial equity analysis are implemented, it is necessary for:
- The County Board to pass a resolution that adopts the recommendations of this analysis.
- The County Board, County Executive and Constitutional Officers to collaboratively convene an expanded Racial Equity Strategic Leadership Team.
- The County Board, County Executive, and departments to prioritize funding for implementation and expansion of infrastructure as outlined in the report.
- Departments and the Executive to develop the 2017 budget incorporating use of the Racial Equity Tool.
Government has often been a leader in addressing society’s collective concern. From efforts to promote recycling to reducing smoking among teens, government has played a central role in shaping and incentivizing behavior that benefits the community as a whole. Racial equity is possible if the leadership, reach, and scope of government are leveraged toward that end. Dane County is taking the steps necessary to end racial inequity and is positioned to continue on this path to ensure all residents have the opportunity to live full, healthy lives.