For Immediate ReleaseFebruary 09, 2022
Supervisors approve report, thank community and staff contributors
San Rafael, CA – In a groundbreaking collaboration, 20 Marin County residents from various socioeconomic backgrounds are helping to shape the County’s efforts to advance racial equity.
With guidance from the County’s Office of Equity, the Race Equity Planning Committee contributed recommendations and worked the past year – through the COVID-19 pandemic – with staff to update the County’s Race Equity Action Plan, which was presented to the Marin County Board of Supervisors on February 8.
The original plan, created in 2017, identified priorities to address internal equity improvements, resulting in positive changes to hiring practices and workforce development. With the new 2022 update, the committee concentrated on high-leverage areas to catalyze racial equity in Marin’s neighborhoods. The priority strategies in the new Race Equity Action Plan focus on economic opportunity, housing, and mental health.
As several Board members said on February 8, there is much work left to do. Marin is widely known as a beautiful place to live, with a healthy and wealthy population. However, it has deeply-rooted pockets of poverty where residents – particularly people of color – struggle with income inequality, housing affordability, and lack of access to mental health services. Across many indicators, including life expectancy, health, housing, wealth, graduation rates, and incarceration rates, people of color have disproportionate negative outcomes. At the time of the first Racial Equity Action Plan in 2017, Marin ranked No. 1 among California counties in racial disparity according to the Race Counts survey. It has since moved to No. 2.
Progress has been notable since equity became one of the Supervisors’ top-priority “Four E’s” of ongoing focus: Equity, Education, Economy, and Environment. The County’s 5 Year Business Plan and the successor 2 Year Action Plan both placed a primary focus on equity and inclusion, and the Board adopted a resolution in 2016 that affirmed those priorities and took a stand against all forms of discrimination and intolerance.
Board President Katie Rice commended the new plan’s contributors, especially for prioritizing housing, mental health, economic opportunity, and developing partnerships.
“You’re off to a really great start,” Rice said February 8. “It’s going to be a lot of work. I think it’s going to be key building the relationships between partners and doing the deep dive in terms of discovering what is ultimately actionable and/or whether your metrics, in terms of goals, are set at the right place. We’re here to support you.”
Volunteer public members of the Race Equity Planning Committee are Curtis Aikens Sr., Cinthia Angelicola, Jasmine Bravo, Kessa Early, Ben Finley, Erika Fuentes Fuyo, Nicole Gardner-Lewis, Maria Gramajo, Sharika Gregory, Travis Haskin, Christina James, Xitlalli Lechuga, Sophie Liu, Salamah Locks, Ricardo Moncrief, Mahalia Morgan, Paul Ryplewski, Suzanne Sadowsky, Monica Umana, and Sean Williams.
The 2022 Race Equity Action Plan weaves together data and the lived experiences of local residents into a set of focused goals and actions to address racial disparities. Recommendations from the committee include establishing a mental health access fund, a housing security loan program, a minimum wage ordinance setting the hourly earning at $18, efforts that address mental health for traditionally marginalized racial/ethnic and social groups, and new professional development programs specifically for youth and young adults.
County Equity Director Jamillah Jordan and her staff will coordinate an Implementation Team to accomplish the priority actions and share updates with the community. The team will include residents, County employees, town and city staff members, and representatives from local organizations. Updates on the application process for the Implementation Team will be shared in March 2022.
“Working in close partnership with community, and city and county leaders, we can build trust and spark change to address long-standing racial inequities,” Jordan said. “Our goal is to create pathways that allow everyone to thrive and reach their full potential, regardless of race, ethnicity, income, ZIP code, disability, gender, immigration status, sexual orientation, or age.”
Some of the County’s equity efforts are supported by funding allocated from the Sheriff-Coroner Office budget and federal stimulus packages.
For more information about the County’s equity efforts, check the Office of Equity website.
Jamillah JordanEquity DirectorCounty Administrator's Office
1600 Los Gamos DriveSuite 370San Rafael, CA 94903(415) 473-6166Email: Jamillah JordanCounty Administrator website