Repository of City Racial Equity Policies and Decisions

The following pages include examples of concrete policy and budgetary changes local elected officials have made to prioritize racial equity in their cities, towns, and villages.
The following pages include examples of concrete policy and budgetary changes local elected officials have made to prioritize racial equity in their cities, towns, and villages.

The following pages include examples of concrete policy and budgetary changes local elected officials have made to prioritize racial equity in their cities, towns, and villages. These actions cut across the multiple functions of local government including budget decisions, ordinances and other high-level decisions that are shaped by cities’ commitments and investment of political will and resources. These examples will be useful to city, town and village leaders who are working to advance racial equity through structural changes to local government. For more context on the strategy of using policy to embed racial equity in local government, see our Municipal Action Guide; this strategy is included as Step 5: Commit to Policy and System Change.

Building Dedicated Governance Infrastructure for Racial Equity

Many jurisdictions are creating offices or personnel dedicated to managing the municipality’s racial equity efforts and coordinating across arms of local government. Cities can make policies to develop this infrastructure or to build racial equity assessment processes into regular government functions. Here are a few examples. Read more.

City Ordinances Rooted in Racial Equity

Municipalities have an obligation to use policy, practice, and procedure to advance racial equity and undo the inequities baked into the law. Here are several ordinances that cities have passed with the express understanding of the racial inequities they are designed to address, ranging across the housing, employment, policing and zoning areas. Read more.

City Council Decision Making to Address Racial Inequities & Repair Harm

City councils can apply a racial equity lens to key decision points outside of formal legislation. The operations of city departments can be tailored to address the structural causes of racial inequities. In many municipalities, city councils have authority over other decisions like those related to zoning, land ownership, purchasing, and hiring. Read more.

Budget Decisions for Racial Equity Impact

City budgets are important places to prioritize racial equity through targeted investment. Acknowledging inequities and race-based root causes allows cities to make revenue, procurement, and contract decisions intended for improving local governance. Cities are both conducting regular racial equity assessments of budget decisions and making decisions driven by a desire to address inequities and systemic racism. Read more.