Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Awareness

Overview

On July 2, 2020, SCAG’s Regional Council adopted Resolution 20‐623‐2, declaring systemic racism a human rights and public health crisis. The resolution affirms SCAG’s commitment to work in partnership with others to close the gap of racial injustice and meaningfully advance inclusion, diversity, equity, and awareness.

Special Committee on Equity & Social Justice

The Special Committee on Equity & Social Justice was formed to advise SCAG’s Regional Council on policies and practices to:

  • End racial and social disparities internal to the agency.
  • Strengthen the way it engages and convenes to protect and expand community voice and power.
  • Work in partnership with others to close the gap of racial injustice and better serve communities of color, and in so doing, serve all the people of the region.

Since September 2020, the Special Committee has focused on helping guide the development of:

  • An agency‐wide working definition of “equity.”
  • An Equity Inventory Report, which catalogues the existing equity‐related activities throughout SCAG’s planning departments.
  • An Equity Framework containing indicators of existing inequities and disparities.

Defining Equity

The Special Committee on Equity & Social Justice, SCAG staff, and stakeholder groups developed a working definition of racial equity to guide work moving forward. The goal is to lead with racial equity as a focal point in addressing the pervasive and deep inequities faced by black, indigenous, and peoples of color, as well as to support the overarching goal of the creation of a just and equitable society.

“As central to SCAG’s work, racial equity describes the actions, policies, and practices that eliminate bias and barriers that have historically and systemically marginalized communities of color, to ensure all people can be healthy, prosperous, and participate fully in civic life.”

Racial Equity Early Action Plan

The Racial Equity Early Action Plan (EAP) provides a framework for internal- and external-focused actions. It is a critical step in ensuring that SCAG’s equity-related work continues to advance and that it endures for years to come. The EAP is an iterative process, with opportunities to identify new actions and commitments going forward to ultimately improve regional conditions, through SCAG’s policies and programs and in partnership with other agencies and institutions, across sectors, putting community in the center of efforts. SCAG also completed an Equity Inventory to provide a snapshot of how the Planning Division currently integrates equity considerations into its work and identified additional areas where equity could be integrated.

The framework of the draft Racial Equity EAP was informed by Equity in the Center’s publication, Awake to Woke to Work: Building a Race Equity Culture, which provides insights, tactics, and best practices to shift organizational culture and operationalize equity, and by consultation with Adjunct Professor Charles Brown of Rutgers University.

The framework of the draft EAP includes four goals:

  • Shift the Organizational Culture – Focused on SCAG’s internal work and practices.
  • Center Racial Equity in Regional Policy & Planning – Refers to SCAG’s regional planning functions.
  • Encourage Racial Equity in Local Planning Practices – Refers to how SCAG can influence local elected officials and planning professionals.
  • Activate and Amplify – Communicating more broadly SCAG’s commitment to racial equity and joining with others in different fields and sectors to amplify impact.​

The framework of the draft EAP includes three strategies:

  • Listen & Learn – Develop a shared understanding of our history of discrimination and the structural barriers that continue to perpetuate the inequities experienced today.
  • Engage & Co-Power – Create an environment where everyone is included, able to share their experiences, and equipped to talk about racial equity and inequities.
  • Integrate & Institutionalize – Focus on systems change to improve racial equity. Center racial equity in all aspects of work. This involves internal and external systems change.​​

Resources

Government Alliance on Race & Equity
Othering and Belonging Institute
Race Forward