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Race to Equity Releases List of Racial Equity Initiatives

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Today, Race to Equity is releasing its preliminary compilation of over 125 racial equity initiatives that have been implemented throughout Dane County since the release of the Race to Equity Baseline Report. The list is comprised of initiatives developed by the Madison and Dane County governments, non-profit organizations, schools, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the private sector, the arts community, faith-based organizations, foundations, and the media.

Race to Equity compiled this inventory in order to acknowledge, affirm and applaud our community’s expanding efforts to improve conditions in Dane County for children and families of color. The hope is that it will serve as a useful resource to: track progress as a community; identify areas that need further attention; and, most importantly, hold the community accountable for making sustained progress toward real racial equity in the county.

Representative examples of initiatives included on the list are:
◆ The adoption of ordinances by both the Madison Common Council and the Dane County Board of Supervisors to require Equity Impact Assessments of proposed policy, legislative, and budget decisions.

◆ The launch of an African-American–led coalition, “Justified Anger”, to advocate for strong actions to address racial disparities.

◆ The revival and launch of a new countywide NAACP chapter, explicitly formed to address the racial disparities described in the Race to Equity Baseline Report.

◆ Centro Hispano’s announcement of a new strategic plan to address disparities facing Dane County’s Latino/a community.

◆ After leading community opposition to the building of a new jail, the Young, Gifted and Black Coalition (YGB) worked with county supervisors and a number of community organizations on an alternative resolution.

◆ The adoption of a new Behavior Education Plan by the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) with the aim of reducing racial disparities in suspension and expulsion rates.

◆ The creation of diversity “coordinator” positions among many local businesses. For example, CUNA Mutual Group created a new position to develop initiatives that promote a diverse workforce, foster a culture where all employees can contribute, and hold leaders and employees accountable for promoting diversity and inclusion.

“To me, this list is a powerful demonstration of what can materialize when all facets of the community strive toward a shared goal. It is a reminder to be hopeful even when the challenges may seem to be overwhelming. It is also evidence given the capacity it reflects that we have no excuses not to make real and meaningful progress toward greater social justice in Dane County,” said Erica Nelson, Race to Equity Project Director.

In its current form, the list emphasizes efforts aimed at reducing disparities faced by African-American families in Dane County, as this population was the focus the report. However, the project is asking for the community to help improve the list. Additional racial equity initiatives can be submitted by visiting the Race to Equity website (www.racetoequity.net) and submitting any initiatives or policy reforms that aren’t included in this list.

With the help of the community, a fuller and more accurate measure of the community’s growing commitment to make Dane County a more equitable place to live, work, and grow can be obtained.

Race to Equity is a project of the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families (WCCF) to reduce racial disparities in Dane County. More information about the project and the initiatives list can be found here.