“This analysis is direct about confronting the ineffectiveness of our current practices, our policies, and our procedure,” said Dane County District 23 Supervisor Shelia Stubbs. “It is a bold step to address the root causes that lead to racial disparities. The report is a blueprint for Dane County to move forward with racial equity.”

Stubbs spoke at a press conference this morning at Villager Mall on Madison’s south side as the Dane County Board unveiled a four-year plan to increase racial equity in Dane County.

“The recommendations that are in this detailed report really work around the framework of three items – to normalize racial equity thinking in our county, to operationalize looking at racial equity and make it part of our policy decisions, and to organize both internally within the County and externally in the community,” said Dane County Board Chair Sharon Corrigan.

Corrigan said the five recommendations, outlined in detail in the report, are for Dane County to:
• Develop infrastructure and tools to increase Dane County employees’ and residents’ understanding of and ability to advance racial equality.
• Implement strategies to ensure Dane County is an effective and inclusive government that engages the community and is responsive to its needs.
• Ensure Dane County’s communities of color share in the county’s economic prosperity.
• Ensure all neighborhoods and people are safe and racial disproportionalities in the criminal justice system are eliminated.
• Ensure that all residents have healthy life outcomes.

“These recommendations build on valuable initiatives that Dane County has already taken,” Corrigan said. “We’ve made important steps in the right direction and they will continue but the scope and the seriousness of the disproportionate numbers really require systematic change.”

Dane County Board Chair Sharon Corrigan
Dane County Board Chair Sharon Corrigan

The Dane County Board of Supervisors retained the New York-based Center for Social Inclusion (CSI), in partnership with the Government Alliance for Racial Equality (GARE), to complete the analysis. It is the culmination of a six-month process that assessed the current state of racial equity in Dane County internal government operations, programs, and policies.

“Change doesn’t come easy or without effort,” Corrigan said. “This is something that we as leaders in the County need to make sure we are making the right decisions and keep[ing] each other accountable in our efforts.”

The goal of the report is to make Dane County government “more inclusive and engaging, increase access to economic prosperity, ensure the safety of all neighborhoods and promote good health for all residents.”

“In my conclusion, it’s time for less talk from us at Dane County and it’s time for us to have more action,” Stubbs said. “If we keep doing things the same way we’ll keep getting the same result and that’s what has led us to these racial disparities. But here in Dane County, we are innovative. We do what it takes to move us in the right direction.”