Zulma Maciel to helm new Office responsible for advancing citywide equity framework to address systemic racism

Previously the City’s Director of the Office of Immigrant Affairs, Maciel brings over 20 years of public policy and local government administration experience.

City of San JoseAfter a nationwide search and extensive community involvement, Zulma Maciel has been appointed Director of the City of San José’s newly created Office of Racial Equity by City Manager David Sykes.

In June 2020, the San José City Council approved the creation of a new Office of Racial Equity in the City Manager’s Office. Addressing racial inequities in government is long overdue, and this is an intentional, concrete step towards equity for all in our City.

This Office is responsible for advancing systems change through a citywide racial equity framework that will examine and improve San José’s internal policies, programs, and practices to eradicate any structural and/or institutional racism in the City of San José. This includes a focus on enabling the organization, at all levels and in all departments, to identify ways to improve outcomes for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. The Office of Racial Equity will achieve this goal through trainings, data collection, policy analysis and development, stronger accountability measures for City departments, as well as authentic community engagement.

“Zulma is a fierce champion for San Jose’s immigrant and refugee community and she will continue to be a powerful voice in the fight for institutional change,” said Mayor Sam Liccardo. “She will serve San José’s diverse population in her new role in the Office of Racial Equity with her immense passion for equality and dedication to all our residents.”

Zulma Maciel

Zulma has over 20 years’ public administration experience and is a versatile leader with expertise in public policy development, local government administration, and legislative work. Most of her public service career was dedicated to establishing violence prevention and intervention strategies and managing a $15M grant portfolio; investing in and evaluating essential community programs from early care education to senior nutrition programs.

“Throughout her tenure with the City, Zulma has demonstrated time and time again her commitment to our communities and ability to drive results,” said City Manager Dave Sykes. “The stakes are high with this very important new role and I have full confidence in her ability to make an immediate impact.”

In July 2015, Zulma was appointed to the position of Assistant to the City Manager and established the Office of Immigrant Affairs (OIA). While serving as the Office Director, Zulma led the development of the City’s first Welcoming San José Plan and her team implemented strategies that would create a more welcoming environment to improve the quality of life of immigrants and refugees. Through this work, Zulma recognized the need for an institutional and systemic approach that would result in better outcomes for immigrants, specifically the undocumented, limited or non-English speakers, and the underserved. This led to her initiating racial equity work in the Fall of 2017 and, since then, she has played a dual role in both leading the OIA and advancing a racial equity framework. Zulma’s diverse leadership experiences with the City, track record of authentic community partnerships, and results-driven approach make her uniquely qualified for the Director of the Office of Racial Equity.

A daughter of immigrants from Mexico, Zulma is bilingual, bicultural, and binational. In her spare time, Zulma serves as Vice President of Grail Family Services, and is on the Advisory Boards for HOPE Leadership Institute (Hispanas Organized for Political Equality) and Latina Coalition of Silicon Valley. She earned a B.A in Sociology from the University of California, Santa Cruz.