Race and Equity
In January 2020, Douglas County became a member of the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE), a national network of local, state and regional governments working to advance racial equity and increase opportunities for all. GARE members collaborate and share effective practices to advance policies and practices and develop solutions to racial equity challenges.
Douglas County’s four areas of focus will be:
- Organizational and employee development
- Criminal justice programs and services
- Open space preservation and planning
- Climate action and adaption planning
Although tensions or anxiety can sometimes be a part of conversations about race, we know it is necessary for us to name race head-on, both in the details of our work and how we work with each other.
People impacted by a decision should be engaged in the decision-making process.
While the institution of racism was created well before our time, we are dealing with both the historical legacy and current reality. Racism and racial inequities have resulted in trauma, both to individuals and to communities. A trauma-informed approach to our work is necessary for our collective humanity.
Transforming our systems towards greater racial equity requires consistent and courageous leadership. We recognize the importance of formal and informal leadership. We support formal leadership working to advance racial equity, as well as the development of emerging leadership.
Our institutions, systems and structures are complex. To transform our institutions and organizational cultures, it is critical that we develop a more nuanced understanding of that complexity. This includes moving beyond only quantitative approaches and incorporating qualitative and experiential ways of knowing.
Racial inequities have been intentionally created and maintained over an extended period of time. They will not disappear on their own. To advance racial equity, we must be organizing within our own institutions and across institutions, always putting community at the center. We believe that a racial equity movement must build and expand the engagement of governmental jurisdictions (and others) across the country.
Because power has so often been used to perpetuate inequities, we recognize that we can sometimes have an awkward relationship with power. We believe in intentionally examining, considering, negotiating and claiming power that advances racial equity.
Creating environments of learning within and between our organizations will help to replicate success, expand learning from each other’s experiences and leverage change. Our network and this movement will benefit from continuous, intentional learning and feedback. In the spirit of continuous learning, we will refine these statements on a routine basis