How can you ensure government that governs for racial equity?

Racial inequities are not random; they have been created and recreated over time, including through legislation, public policy, and ongoing governance mechanisms. Inequities will not disappear on their own. A growing field is emerging to support local and regional government in working to eliminate inequities and increase success for all. Watch this video about the King County Equity and Social Justice Strategic Plan. Are there similar conversations/efforts happening in your community? How might you bring this to the attention of your town/city/campus/state/region, especially around conversations and decisions pertaining to food systems? Look at the list of tools and resources on the Government Alliance for Racial Equity (GARE) website (including guides to creating racial equity action plans and resources to transform government).

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10 thoughts on “How can you ensure government that governs for racial equity?”

  1. This is a conversation in NYC. The Health Department is making moves to integrate a racial equity lens into its work. Overall, I’ll just say that the pace of local government’s growth in this area is slower than I would like to see. A lot of the conversation feels superficial to me. Just yesterday I was at a panel discussion on the regional food economy and the facilitator brought up the equity question and, specifically, how it could look for NYC/NYS to have a good food purchasing policy. I wouldn’t say there was a resoundingly affirmative response (not necessarily due to lack of interest). I would like for my program to support this work and contribute to the discussion but it doesn’t feel in reach yet.

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    1. Taisy, thank you for this! Continue to raise the question(s) in the spaces where you are; engage others and build your tribe (a side note: Ken Robinson speaks about this in his book, The Element: http://www.leadershipnow.com/leadingblog/2009/05/find_your_tribe_find_your_pass.html) to support your collaborative movement forward. Know that it takes time, and tenacious persistence to maintain the focus and illuminate the issue! I thank you again for stepping into this and for being on this journey with us!

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  2. In my Community Nutrition class at UNH we have talked a lot about how local, state, and federal government policies play a role in racial inequities. It seems like there has been racial inequities at every level of government. To ensure that our government governs for racial equity, citizens can contact their state representative and let their voices be heard. Citizens can dictate changes in policy and have to power to vote. Even though someone may not think that contacting your local representative would change anything, it can get the ball rolling on issues that affect your city.

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    1. Brianna, thank you for this! You are so right and encouraging others to use that power is so critical! Can you imagine what it would look like if wherever we are, we stood in solidarity against acts of racism? One becomes two, two becomes three and so on! That one voice becomes magnified hundreds times over! Continue to amplify your voice and bring others along with you, with us. Thank you for being on this journey with us and the Challenge.

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  3. I think everyone can take part in making sure that the government governs for racial equity and social justice. As citizens of the United States, we all must stand up for these human rights and take action, whether its writing to the government or leading a protest, so that they are pushed to address these important issues.

    I feel that this challenge is a great way to bring attention to these conversations on campus. My classmates and I often discuss these questions before class begins, and I think being aware and educated on these topics is the first step toward change. We all know that racial inequity exists, but being more heavily educated on these issues bring further discussion, and in turn, further action.

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  4. I was very inspired by the video, “King County Equity and Social Justice Strategic Plan. As the Director of the Office of Equity and Social Justice, Matias Valenzuela, stated, the strategic plan was really an opportunity to be more comprehensive, to continue to do and put more resources and attention to the things that yielded success and the things that did not yield such success. As the King County Executive Dow Constantine stated, “the strategic plan is geared to be more innovative and strategic in addressing acceptance and equal opportunity for all.” We must implement the plan’s strategies on all levels, continuously renew them, and ensure that they are spread throughout all areas of the nation. The Advancing Racial Equity and Transforming Government Resource Guide named many ways in which we can ensure racial equity on various levels. A way to bring this to the attention of our own community, especially in regards to food systems might be to pay special attention to sources of implicit and explicit bias that can affect our judgments. On a higher level, decreasing racial disparity in the unemployment rate, ensuring greater access to technology by communities of color, and improving access to community center programs for immigrants, refugees and communities of color are also ways to increase racial equity.

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    1. Christiana, thank you for sharing your reflections. You point out that there are a number of ways to address and ensure racial equity! Continue to explore ways this can be achieved. Find the area of this work that brings you much angst and as you delve deeper, build your own relationships and networks for action, you will know much joy. Thank you again for stepping into this boldly and joining us on this journey.

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  5. I was very happy to see an equity and social justice strategic plan being implemented in Seattle. We definitely see these injustices in major cities, including Cleveland, Chicago, and Philadelphia. I just finished reading, “$2 a Day” by Kathryn Edin and Luke Shaefer, and this book opened my eyes to how inequities are especially prominent in the low-income population. My hometown does not have any movement like this, but we are taught in community nutrition that as eager college students, the government wants to hear our voices on how to better society. I think bringing awareness about this type of movement to my town hall might actually have an impact, for I live in a very diverse town. Inequities can be seen in stores and just by walking downtown, so something should be done about it.

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    1. Jessica, thanks for this! Continue to amplify your voice and share your thoughts- your strategies with legislators and others in your town. There is such power in collaboration. You have much to contribute to this journey, our journey towards equity! Thank you for stepping in and for your continued commitment to stand up!

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