With resident involvement, Equity Office reviewing progress, setting goals

County of Marin logoThe County of Marin is taking meaningful steps to build an anti-racist and multicultural organization by actively working with community to shift longstanding inequities. The effort will be informed by a new committee of residents whose lived experiences and perspectives will help shape a new race equity plan.

On December 15, the newly formed Marin County Office of Equity will discuss the new committee and present updates to the Marin County Board of Supervisors on the current and future equity projects. Residents are encouraged to participate in the online meeting and offer feedback. The agenda item will be part of the Board’s afternoon session that begins at 1:30 p.m., and more information is to be posted on the Board’s webpage when the agenda is released December 10.

In April 2019, Anyania I. Muse was hired as the County’s first Equity Director and began assessing projects, needs, and opportunity gaps within the system. In her update to the Board, Muse plans to discuss internal and external equity initiatives that support the County’s equity goals. Updates will include staff employee training and resources and opportunities for Marin residents to get involved in promoting diversity and cultural understanding.

Muse’s work is a direct result of the County’s commitment to the launch and implementation of the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE) work that led to the County’s initial Racial Equity Action Plan[PDF]. Muse and an internal equity team will revamp that 2017 plan and address issues specific to County employment, employee relations, training, and opportunity for the advancement of racial equity within the County system.

The County is appointing 15-20 community members to serve on its new Race Equity Planning Committee, which will revise the community-facing elements of the 2017 Racial Equity Action Plan. Convened by the County  Administrator’s Office, the diverse committee will provide  recommendations to the County on how to build an anti-racist organization while advancing equity within the entire county.

Many of the initiatives laid out in the 2017 Racial Equity Action Plan have been initiated, but there is more work ahead. The committee will review the plan and recommend changes in light of urgent calls for civil rights, social justice, inclusivity, diversity, and equity in Marin. The committee application period closed on November 30.

By creating updated racial equity plans that are inclusive of employees and community, the County formally recognized that that inequities, racism, and disparities persisted within the government structure through the years. The Marin County Office of Equity along with the County Administrators Office has vowed to use new tools to address and rectify longstanding biases, structural, and institutional racism.

“The next year is critical to our collective approach to equity work in the county,” Muse said. “We have a responsibility to our employees and the county at large to ensure that the equity work takes root and grows to the point of reaching Diversity Equity Inclusion and Belonging[External] in Marin County. Our relationships with the most marginalized populations in Marin must be healed to move this work forward in dynamic ways. That healing comes from changing the model of how we engage, support, and create connection with community.”

Equity is one of the Board of Supervisors’ top-priority “Four E’s” of ongoing focus: Equity, Education, Economy, and Environment. The County’s 5 Year Business Plan[PDF] focused 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. For more data about equity measures in Marin, check the County’s Equity Dashboard.

Learn about how to participate in or watch the December 15 meeting, which will be archived for future viewing. Comcast subscribers may watch the meeting live on Channel 27 and on later replays.