Racial Equity Toolkit: An Opportunity To Operationalize Equity

Julie Nelson, Director, Government Alliance On Race And Equity And Lisa Brooks, University Of Washington School Of Social Work For Government Alliance On Race & Equity
12/01/16, https://climateadvocacylab.org/system/files/GARE-Racial_Equity_Toolkit.pdf

Racial equity tools are designed to integrate explicit consideration of racial equity in decisions, including policies, practices, programs, and budgets. It is both a product and a process. Use of a racial equity tool can help to develop strategies and actions that reduce racial inequities and improve success for all groups.

Too often, policies and programs are developed and implemented without thoughtful consideration of racial equity. When racial equity is not explicitly brought into operations and decision-making, racial inequities are likely to be perpetuated. Racial equity tools provide a structure for institutionalizing the consideration of racial equity. A racial equity tool:

  • proactively seeks to eliminate racial inequities and advance equity;
  • identifies clear goals, objectives and measurable outcomes;
  • engages community in decision-making processes;
  • identifies who will benefit or be burdened by a given decision, examines potential unintended consequences of a decision, and develops strategies to advance racial equity and mitigate unintended negative consequences; and,
  • develops mechanisms for successful implementation and evaluation of impact.

The Racial Equity Tool is a simple set of questions:

  1. Proposal: What is the policy, program, practice or budget decision under consideration? What are the desired results and outcomes?
  2. Data: What’s the data? What does the data tell us?
  3. Community engagement: How have communities been engaged? Are there opportunities to expand engagement?
  4. Analysis and strategies: Who will benefit from or be burdened by your proposal? What are your strategies for advancing racial equity or mitigating unintended consequences?
  5. Implementation: What is your plan for implementation?
  6. Accountability and communication: How will you ensure accountability, communicate, and evaluate results?

This toolkit is written for a government audience, but nonprofits, community-based organizations, and foundations can use the toolkit as well since the methodology is applicable across all sectors. In addition to the tool, the document also provides an explanation of what a racial equity tool is, who and when it should be used, what to do if you don’t have enough time, and how to address barriers to successful implementation. The appendices include an example, the City of Seattle’s Racial Equity Toolkit, and a Racial Equity Toolk worksheet for your use!