November 5, 2020

Tackling issues related to racial inequity in your city can seem like a daunting task, but here are six steps to get you started on the road to improving outcomes for all of your residents. Attached is our report detailing the steps to move your city towards equity.

Additionally, we’ve included below 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.

Local Government Infrastructure for Racial Equity

Creating A Home for Racial Equity Work In The City


Minneapolis: Race & Equity Division Ordinance

In 2017 the Minneapolis City Council codified previous efforts from the Mayor and City Council by passing an ordinance introduced by Councilmember Elizabeth Glidden to create a permanent Division of Race and Equity within the city coordinator’s office. The intent of this role is to integrate a racial equity framework citywide by working across departments to set and report on goals, training and capacity building, community engagement, racial equity action planning, and the development and collection of key metrics. This ordinance built on work in recent years to create two full-time staff positions dedicated to racial equity work and requires race equity criteria in plans and goal-setting.

In 2020, the office outlined seven strategic needs to continue Minneapolis’ fight for equity in the Strategic & Racial Equity Action Plan through 2022 that includes priorities such as diversifying spending, increasing racial representation in the workforce, using race-based data, engaging with diverse communities, and prioritizing issues related to housing, economic development, and public safety.


Austin: Development of Office of Equity

In response to decades of increasing segregation and simultaneous to city council efforts to develop an equity assessment, in 2015 Austin, Texas Mayor Steve Adler initiated the process to develop an Office of Equity using Austin’s pre-established African American, Asian and Hispanic/Latino Quality of Life Commissions to avoid undertaking excessive financial burden. The purpose of the office, which had five full-time employees by 2019, is to provide a racial lens on both function and access within city programs and services for all residents. Another goal includes evaluating the hiring of city staff and confirming adequate representation within government in the majority-minority city.

Since the establishment of the office, the group has released the Analysis of the Austin Police Department Racial Profiling Data in 2020 in partnership with the Office of Police Oversight and Innovation Office, manages the Equity Mini-Grant Fund, and has conducted an Equity Assessment Process that teaches City staff about institutional racism and includes training on how to be anti-racist.


Oakland: Race & Equity Ordinance

In June 2015 the City of Oakland, Calif. passed an ordinance to establish the Department of Race and Equity within its municipal government. This department, which had two full-time employees by 2019, gives the city a dedicated department and staff to address racial inequities within institutions and systems like education, government, and healthcare. The basic functions of the office include developing strategic plans and tools to help advance the city’s racial equity goals and outcomes, training staff to apply these tools, establishing baseline disparity data and benchmarks, tracking outcomes, and collaborating with community institutions.

The department released the 2018 Oakland Equity Indicators Report, creating a framework for the city to begin working towards measuring equity-related goals. The office also contributed to a project in which the city received a $6.5 million cannabis grant from the state of California in partnership with the Bureau of Cannabis Control by providing racial equity analysis. These funds are set to promote business ownership, as well as employment opportunities for communities that were heavily impacted by the War on Drugs.

San Francisco

San Francisco, CA: Office of Racial Equity

In 2019, Mayor London N. Breed signed an ordinance to create the San Francisco Office of Racial Equity (ORE) as a Division of the Human Rights Commission. This required city departments to designate employees as racial equity leaders acting as a liaison to the Office, and for the office to assess and prioritize racial equity within the city’s workforce. The office released a June 2020 Progress Report, which detailed the authority the office holds, as well as action steps that have been taken since the creation of the office.

ORE has the authority to establish a citywide Racial Equity Framework, direct departments to develop Racial Equity Action Plans, center racial equity within the budget process, and make recommendations on funding of departments when racial equity metrics are not met. The office has worked diligently to ensure the city’s COVID-19 response is rooted in equity by working with departments to establish culturally appropriate COVID testing sites, ensure transportation equity gaps in public San Francisco transportation is met, distribute health literacy resources, and increase PPE provision to vulnerable populations.


Denver, CO: Office of Social Equity and Innovation

In 2019, Mayor Michael Hancock announced the creation of the Office of Social Equity and Innovation through an executive order as part of the Mayor’s Equity Platform. The focus of the office is to build up Denver to become an inclusive employer, city, and government and to use nationally recognized research and data-driven practices to support the city. As part of the initiative, the new office will prioritize ensuring that every Denver resident has access to resources to get a job, have access to housing, and eliminate historical disparities and barriers for communities of color, women, and LGBTQ+ residents. Mayor Hancock also named Deputy Chief of Staff Erin Brown as Denver’s first Chief Equity Officer.


Philadelphia, PA: Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

In 2016, Mayor Jim Kenney signed Executive Order No. 1-16 establishing the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Mayor Kenney also appointed the City’s first Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Nefertiri Sickout. In early 2020, the Mayor signed Executive Order No. 1-20 that renamed the Office of Diversity and Inclusion to include “Equity”, established formal oversight of the Office of LGBT Affairs and Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, and mandated diversity, equity and inclusion training. This executive order also launched a city-wide Employment Diversity and Inclusion Initiative and introduced the City-wide Racial Equity Initiative.

Budgeting for Racial Equity


Charlottesville, VA: Equity Package and Business Equity Fund

Led by Council members Wes Bellamy and Kristin Szakos, Charlottesville City Council passed a $4 million equity package in 2017 specifically for marginalized communities to fund public housing redevelopment, GED training for public housing residents, scholarships for low-income and public housing residents, a park, a black male achievement staff person, and the African American Heritage Center. All targeted funds were aimed at bridging the gap between outcomes for residents of color and white residents.

In 2019, Charlottesville City Council also launched its Business Equity Fund.  This fund was established as a loan program for existing businesses within the city that come from communities of social disadvantage. City Council unanimously approved $109,000 for the establishment of this fund which provides low-interest loans to these businesses.


Dallas, TX: Housing & Development

In May 2018, the Dallas City Council unanimously passed a new comprehensive housing package to build 20,000 new homes in select neighborhoods to meet goals for revitalization while simultaneously addressing the challenges of displacement. In 2021, the Office of Equity and Inclusion developed the first-ever Racial Equity Plan, which adopted 11 recommendations of the Comprehensive Housing Policy Racial Equity Assessment to create a new housing policy based on the premise that the equity framework reduces disparities while improving outcomes for all.  This Racial Equity assessment equips leaders with tools to identify how budgeting and financial management impact groups.


Baltimore, MD: Racial Equity Funding Charter Amendment

In November 2018 voters in Baltimore passed a charter amendment by ballot referendum to create an equity assistance fund to support efforts embedded throughout city government to reduce inequities based on race, gender, and economic status. The charter amendment dedicates revenue specifically to support and augment programs and activities to advance equity. It ensures that the fund is of a continuous nature and authorizes funding to support dismantling structural and institutional racism and other forms of discrimination, promoting equity in housing, improving access to education, and redressing past inequities in the capital budget.

For more analysis, see this CitiesSpeak blog.

  • Local Authority & Intergovernmental Relations
  • Race & Equity

How Baltimore is Advancing Racial Equity: Policy, Practice & Procedure


Boston, MA: Boston Racial Equity Fund

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced the establishment of the Boston Racial Equity Fund in 2020. This fund will provide financial support to nonprofit groups focused on racial equity through economic development, education, and public health. Under the leadership of Chief of Equity Dr. Karilyn Crockett and the coordination by the newly-established Equity and Inclusion cabinet, the goal is to increase safety, wellbeing, equity, and prosperity of the Black and Brown community.


Iowa, IA: Social Justice and Racial Equity Fund

In 2017, the Iowa City Council created the Social Justice and Racial Equity fund to address racial equity through assisting Iowa City for-profit and nonprofit organizations. The grant program lists six priority service areas which include education, building community, housing, criminal justice, health and employment. The Iowa Human Rights Commission reviews applications then forwards its recommendations to the City Council for review and approval.

Data Collection (disaggregated data emphasis)


Arlington, TX: Equity Resolution

The Arlington County Board approved the Equity Resolution in 2019. This resolution commits the County to establishing equity targets and measures and developing an equity scorecard. This scorecard will allow Arlington to better understand how to factor racial equity in policy making and will also allow the County to better track their progress in centering racial equity work.


Baltimore, MD: Equity Assessment Program

Councilman Brandon Scott shepherded a bill to create an Equity Assessment program that was passed by the Baltimore City Council and signed into law in August 2018. The bill authorizes and charges the city of Baltimore with conducting a racial equity assessment, training for city agencies to conduct equity assessments, designating city staff responsible for conducting this work, and developing and utilizing a set of metrics to assess and review the outcomes and effectiveness of any policies and investments made.

For more analysis, see this CitiesSpeak blog.

  • Local Authority & Intergovernmental Relations
  • Race & Equity

How Baltimore is Advancing Racial Equity: Policy, Practice & Procedure

Saint Paul

Saint Paul, MN: Data Driven Analysis

In 2015, Mayor Coleman called on city departments to develop racial equity plans. This included a call to action to improve data collection and create ability to disaggregate data. The City has begun using a Racial Equity Assessment Tool to begin examining how key policies, procedures, services, and budget decisions affect communities of color.

Racial Equity Training for Elected Officials and Staff


Austin, TX: Development of Office of Equity

In response to decades of increasing segregation and simultaneous city council efforts to develop an equity assessment, in 2015, Austin, Texas, Mayor Steve Adler initiated the process to create an Office of Equity. The purpose of the office, which had five full-time employees by 2019, is to provide a racial lens on both function and access within city programs and services for all residents. Another goal includes evaluating the hiring of city staff and confirming adequate representation within government in the majority-minority city. By September 2020, the Racial Equity Learning cohort identified pilot projects demonstrating where to start achieving racial equity outcomes, a capacity-building plan and organizational structure to institutionalize equity, and a framework for a racial equity action plan. The plan provides guiding questions surrounding who benefits and is burdened by decisions, who is missing, and the evidence to support these claims.


Philadelphia, PA: Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

In 2016, Mayor Jim Kenney signed Executive Order No. 1-16 that created the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Four years later, the Mayor signed Executive Order No. 1-20 which mandated diversity, equity and inclusion training. One of the primary areas of focus of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is to train City officials on implicit and explicit bias.


Montgomery, AL: Racial Equity and Social Justice Act

In November 2019, Montgomery County Council unanimously passed an ordinance establishing the Racial Equity and Social Justice Act. This ordinance requires more than 8,000 full-time government employees to receive racial equity training.

Diversification of City Staff


Philadelphia, PA: Work to Diversify City Workforce

In 2016, Mayor Jim Kenney signed Executive Order No. 1-16 that created the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, which has the primary goal of training City officials on implicit and explicit bias. Four years later, the Mayor signed Executive Order No. 1-20, which mandated diversity, equity, and inclusion training. The office is also responsible for assessing the growth of diversity and inclusion in city departments, agencies, authorities, boards, and commissions and benchmarking progress toward inclusive practices. By the end of 2023, all city departments were required to conduct Racial Equity Assessments and create Racial Equity Plans. The executive order establishes mandated diversity, equity, and inclusion training for all City managers and supervisors every three years.


Boston, MA: Initiative of Office of Diversity

The Boston Office of Diversity, established, has been working to diversify inequities in the City’s workforce. The Office uses an established diversity dashboard to understand City employee demographic information. There are two ongoing projects to support this initiative. The first is the Workforce Profile Report, which provides benchmarks and action steps for how Mayor Martin Walsh’s administration will diversify the municipal workforce. The second is the Understanding Employee Demographics Dashboard. The dashboard, which is updated monthly, allows the Mayor and staff to regularly understand demographic information on city employees.

Local Government Policy

City ordinances and policies


Albuquerque, NM: Recognizing Tribal Sovereignty and Establishing Government-to-Government Relations

In April 2019, the Albuquerque and New Mexico City Council unanimously passed an ordinance recognizing tribal sovereignty and self-determination for tribal governments. This ordinance requires the city to establish a government-to-government relationship between the city and the surrounding Pueblos and Tribes. This ordinance amends the originating ordinance of the Commission on American Indian and Alaska Native Affairs.


Nashville, TN.: Creating Transparency for Surveillance Technologies

In June 2017, Nashville City Council passed an ordinance to create procedures for new surveillance technologies to be reviewed before their deployment. The legislation requires approval by both public meeting and council resolution for law enforcement to install new or significantly expanded surveillance technology, enter into new contracts around surveillance data, or receive funds for surveillance technology. The goals of this policy are to address privacy issues, lack of information about surveillance agreements, including non-disclosure agreements with technology companies or the federal government, as well as the disproportionate impact of surveillance on communities of color.


Sacramento, CA: Urban Agriculture Ordinance

Sacramento City Council Approved the Urban Agriculture Ordinance in 2015. This ordinance, aimed at expanding access to healthy and affordable foods to residents, legalized the sale of fresh produce on residential streets. This ordinance was followed by the Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone Ordinance in 2017, which provided tax incentives for people to convert vacant lots for agricultural use.

City Council Actions


Richmond, VA: Office of Community Wealth Building

In the spring of 2014, Mayor Dwight Jones established the Office of Community Wealth Building. In December 2015, Richmond City Council passed an ordinance institutionalizing the Office. This Office is tasked with providing policy advice to the Mayor regarding anti-poverty strategies, as well as the implementation of the City’s poverty reduction initiative.  The Office connects residents to employment opportunities, provides intensive family-based support services for working parents, helps connect high school students to career and college planning resources, and collaborates with community organizations to support its residents.

Long beach

Long Beach, CA: Racial Equity and Reconciliation Initiative

In June 2020, Long Beach City Council called upon City staff to prepare a report of racial equity recommendations. The City Council then voted in August to approve initial report of the Racial Equity and Reconciliation Initiative. This report includes the acknowledgement of the impacts of systemic racism in Long Beach and the country, accounts and experiences of racial injustice from community members, and feedback from stakeholders in the community for recommendations of initiatives to shape policy, budgetary, charter, and programmatic reform. This report includes immediate, short-term, medium-term, and long-term recommendations for the City Council’s consideration on how to establish racial equity.


Portland, ME: Proclamation Condemning Racism and Honoring Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd

In June 2020, the Mayor Portland City Council and Kate Snyder issued a proclamation condemning racism and honoring Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. The purpose of this proclamation is to bring attention and urgency to uprooting institutional racism, honoring the lives of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, and making clear that the city condemns all forms of racism and police brutality.



Eureka, CA: Land Transfer Vote

In December 2018, after a four-year process, the Eureka City Council voted to pass a resolution to return Duluwat, a Wiyot village site on 202 acres of land on Indian Island, back to the Wiyot tribe by declaring the land surplus property. Before the resolution leaders of the tribe made a specific request to the City of Eureka for the remainder of the island, land sacred to the tribe and the site of an 1860 massacre by white settlers. A smaller portion of land on the island was returned in 2014. This land return represents an important opportunity to follow the lead of an Indigenous community. Considering the U.S. history of genocide of Indigenous nations, this land transfer is an example of a small step towards reparation. It will be the first such transfer of land ownership in U.S. history that was not prompted by litigation.


Asheville, NC: Community Reparations for Black Asheville

In July 2020, the Asheville City Council passed a resolution that formally acknowledged the city’s role in slavery, and apologized to its Black residents for past discriminatory housing practices and other racist policies. The resolution also calls for a plan to provide reparations to its Black residents in the form of investments in their community, as well as the creation of a Community Reparations Commission to issue recommendations for reparations in the short and long term. This plan includes funding to programs geared toward increasing homeownership and business and career opportunities.


Providence, RI: Truth-Telling, Reconciliation and Municipal Reparations Process

Mayor Jorge Elorza signed an executive order in July 2020 to pursue a truth-telling and reparations process for Providence residents. This is said to be the first step in exploring the form of reparations to address the historic harm done to the City’s Black, Indigenous People, and People of Color. The City will first work to identify the role of the State of Rhode Island and the City of Providence in supporting the institution of slavery and the genocide, forced assimilation, and seizure of land against Indigenous People. These findings will be used to identify methods of reconciliation.


Evanston, IL: Reparations Fund

The City of Evanston began planning a process for reparations for its’ Black residents in June 2019 following the Evanston City Council’s passage of a resolution affirming the City’s commitment to ending structural racism and achieving racial equity. In November 2019, the city adopted a resolution as part of the City’s 2020 Budget and created a Reparations Fund. The City Council committed to utilizing tax revenue collected from the sale of recreational cannabis to support reparations in Evanston.


Brookline, MA: Economic-Equity Advancement Fund

In December 2019, the Economic-Equity Advancement Fund was established through a vote by Town Meeting members, petitioned by Town Meeting Member Donelle O’Neal. This Fund will go toward community programs benefiting communities of color. Through a 3% tax on sales of marijuana in Brookline and a $1.5 million initial donation, this Fund will focus on supporting women, LGBTQIA+, and entrepreneurs of color.


Chicago, IL: Chicago Descendants of Enslaved Africans Reparations Committee

In July 2020, the Chicago City Council approved a resolution to create a subcommittee to study ways the City could pay reparations to residents who are descendants of enslaved people. The subcommittee, which falls within the council’s Health Committee, is tasked with analyzing the historic harms of slavery and segregation, along with the present harms of institutional discrimination and mass incarceration.

Washington, DC

Washington, DC: Introduction of the Reparations Task Force Establishment Act

DC Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie proposed a bill in October 2020 to establish a task force to study reparations. If passed, this bill will create a 9-member task force to investigate the economic impact of slavery and a plan for economic atonement for Black Washingtonians. It is expected that the Council will hold a public hearing in the near future.


Maryland: Initiative to establishing Maryland Reparations Commission

In February 2020, Wanika Fisher, a member of the Maryland House of Delegates, introduced a bill establishing the Maryland Reparations Commission to look into the possibility of distributing reparations to descendants of enslaved Africans. While this was not passed, it has successfully sparked the conversation regarding reparations in Maryland.



Albany, NY: Police Officer Information Ordinance

Albany Common Council passed an ordinance in September 2017 that required police officers to present a business card with identifying information when stopping residents, as well as information for the city’s Citizens’ Police Review Board, an independent body that handles police misconduct complaints. While the police initiated this practice prior to the ordinance being introduced by Councilmember Dorcey Applyrs, codification in law will allow the process to continue regardless of any change in leadership.

Washington, DC

Washington, DC: Comprehensive Policing and Justice Emergency Reform Act

After the murders of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Breonna Taylor in Louisville, and the historic violence Black communities have experienced by the police, DC Council member Charles Allen introduced the Comprehensive Policing and Justice Reform Emergency Act. The DC City Council voted on this emergency legislation in June. This act limits the use of force by police, requires body-camera footage to be made public more quickly after a police shooting, and bans the Metropolitan Police Department from purchasing military-style equipment from the federal government.


Asheville, NC: Affirmative Consent for Police Searches Policy

In 2018 the Asheville City Council authorized the interim city manager and police chief to create a city policy requiring affirmative written consent for consent searches by a police officer, in cases where there is no reasonable suspicion of a crime. With a goal of lessening racial disparities in policing activity evidenced by city traffic stop data, the law intends to reduce disagreements on whether consent was given verbally and to reduce discriminatory stops and searches with insufficient probable cause. Two more new regulations on searches include reducing the reasons for which officers can deploy a consent search and eliminating a past criminal activity or “suspicious behavior” as sufficient causes. In 2018 and 2019, the policy was under development with the city manager’s office and police chief.


Austin, TX: Police Union Contract Reforms

In 2018 the Austin City Council approved a new police union contract and an ordinance establishing a new Office of Police Oversight (OPO). OPO will replace the Office of the Police Monitor and expand its ability to operate independently.

In 2017 the Council rejected a proposed police union contract in order to allow for more time for a process involving community members. The resulting union contract adjusted the schedule of automatic raises for police officers and made significant changes to civilian oversight. It allows the public to submit complaints anonymously and allows the new OPO to publish recommendations with case details for critical incidents and sustained misconduct. It also offers a close-out meeting with results to anyone issuing a complaint and requires the police chief to respond publicly when a civilian oversight recommendation or policy change will not be implemented.

The union contract grants civilian oversight the opportunity to conduct a preliminary investigation with full direct access to police files. Further, the new contract includes a provision preventing the reduction of officer suspensions and requiring that suspensions are considered in future promotion and discipline decisions. The changes to the contract expand the authority of the city under Texas local government code to provide stronger oversight as a means to address public concerns about racial disparities in police conduct.


Philadelphia, PA: Ban on Chokeholds and Public Hearing on City’s Priorities for Contract Negotiations with Police Union

The Philadelphia City Council passed two ordinances regarding police reform in September 2020. The first ordinance, ‘Let Philly Breathe’ was introduced by Council member Kenyatta Johnson in response to the murder of George Floyd. The measure prohibits the use of restraints or other physical contact that presents a significant risk of asphyxiation, including chokeholds and the placement of body weight on the head, face, neck, or back.

The second ordinance requires public hearings to be held on the City’s initial contract proposal going into contract negotiations with the police union. The public hearing is required 30 days before Philadelphia sends its contract offer to the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, which represents the local police. While residents will be unable to comment on the final contract proposals, the purpose of this measure is to mandate public accountability and transparency in a process that has often been hidden from the public.

Public Health


Minneapolis, MN: Declaring Racism as a Public Health Emergency

The Minneapolis City Council passed a resolution declaring racism as a public health emergency in July 2020. This resolution not only acknowledges this, but also calls for city leadership to take action steps and dedicate resources to racial equity work in the city. Actions from the resolution includes addressing and putting an end to the profiling and harm done to BIPOC through the criminal justice system, implementing a comprehensive and safe public safety system, and measuring the effectiveness of City programming toward racial equity. The resolution also calls for an allocation of funds in the City budget in small business development, housing, community-based infrastructure, and other amenities to repair the harm experienced by BIPOC. An annual report with racially disaggregated data and recommendations concerning the health of BIPOC is also to be included.


Columbus, OH: Declaring Racism as a Public Health Crisis

In June 2020, the Columbus City Council passed a resolution declaring racism as a public health crisis. This resolution acknowledges the impact slavery continues to have on Black communities, the health disparities worsened by COVID-19, and the systemic inequity that continues to intensify racial health outcomes. The City Council reasserted its commitment to addressing racial health inequities through data-driven analyses.

New York City

New York City, NY: COVID Funding Tracker Bill

The New York City Council unanimously passed an ordinance in June 2020 to create a public database that will track spending on COVID-19 relief. This ordinance requires the Office of the Mayor to establish and upkeep a public interactive database within 90 days to track expenditures exceeding $100,000 to combat the COVID-19. The purpose of this database is to ensure that any funds used for COVID-19 are distributed fairly across racial and socio-economic lines.



Seattle, WA: Fair Chance Housing

Seattle City Council passed a fair chance housing ordinance in 2017 that prevents housing providers from unfairly denying applicants for housing and evicting tenants based on a criminal record. Like the Fair Chance Employment ordinance, the goal of the housing law is to address bias against people who have finished serving their time and yet still face barriers to accessing stable housing. These biases disproportionately impact people of color, specifically Black and indigenous communities. The ordinance prevents housing providers from evicting tenants or denying an applicant based on a criminal record and prohibits the automatic or categorical exclusion of people with arrest or conviction records in housing advertisements.


Minneapolis, MN: Eliminating Single Family Zoning

In August 2018, Minneapolis City Council passed Minneapolis 2040, a comprehensive plan to permit three-family homes and expand high-density buildings to address a long history of segregation and abolish restrictive zoning. One goal of this effort is to remove the barrier that existing single-family zoning codes present to Black residents and other residents of color trying to move into certain neighborhoods. Zoning laws have functioned in this capacity since the Supreme Court struck down race-based zoning. In effect, these laws perpetuate segregation by permitting suburbs to ban apartment buildings.


Portland, OR: Fair Access in Renting

In June 2019,  Portland City Council passed the Fair Access in Renting ordinance. This ordinance effectively changes the criteria that is used to screen potential tenants and regulate the security process. The passage of this ordinance limits the use of credit and criminal histories, changes income requirements, and no longer requires the need for a government ID.


Oregon: Rent Control Bill

In February 2019, the nation’s first rent control ordinance was signed by Governor Kate Brown. This ordinance provides protections for renters related to no-cause evictions, as well as rent increases. Specifically, after tenants live in units for one year, landlords cannot terminate month-to-month rental agreements without cause. These policies are meant to protect renters from a market that continues to aggressively increase in price.

Community Stakeholders Initiatives on Racial Equity

City Commisions


Arlington, TX: Unity Council

In June 2020, the Arlington City Council created the Unity Council, with the mission to gather community input regarding measures to build racial equity, through the report of recommendations and findings. The Council is made of 15 members of the City’s Community Relations Committee and 15 additional members appointed by the City Council and Mayor. The group will work to create an equity plan with strategies to eliminate racism and other forms of discrimination in Arlington.

Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City, UT: Commission on Racial Equity in Policing

The creation of the Salt Lake City Commission on Racial Equity in Policing was announced by Mayor Jenny Wilson and the City Council in June 2020. This Commission was created to examine the practices, culture, and budget of the SLC Police Department, as well as any City policies that influence the SLCPD’s culture or policies. The core members of the Commission are selected by the Mayor and City Council to lead and encouraged to invite others to participate. The purpose of this is to create a space for both productive and inclusive discourse with Commissioners who are selected, as well as get a sense of broader thoughts through invitation. The primary objective of the Commission is to recommend more ways to meaningfully work with community members, review the role and policies of the Civilian Review Board, and identify ways to increase diversity in the police department. It is required that the Commission provide monthly reports, as well as a final report with recommendations by July 2021.

Baton Rouge

Baton Rouge, LO: Commission on Racial Equity and Inclusion

In June 2020, Mayor Sharon Weston Broome announced the creation of the Commission on Racial Equity and Inclusion. This Commission is focused on promoting accountability and coordinating community-wide initiatives and efforts to achieve racial equity. The Commission is asked to analyze policies and produce recommendations in the areas of Economic Development, Health and Human Services, Government Agencies, and Arts, Cultures and Community Engagement. Along with this, the Commission will provide an annual report to the Mayor-President’s Office and Metropolitan Council regarding recommendations and ongoing work.


Lexington, KY: Commission for Racial Justice and Equity

The Lexington Commission for Racial Justice and Equity was announced by Mayor Linda Gorton in July 2020. The purpose is to create space for community members to discuss and create solutions to dismantle systemic racism in Fayette County. Within this commission, subcommittees include Racial Equity, Education & Economic Opportunity, Health Disparities, Law Enforcement, Justice & Accountability, and Housing & Gentrification. These committees are tasked with identifying practices that have forced systemic inequities, assess the historic marginalization of African American community members, and recommend policies to promote racial equity.

South San Francisco

South San Francisco, CA: Commission on Racial and Social Equity

The South San Francisco Mayor’s Commission on Racial and Social Equity was created by Mayor Richard Garbarino in July 2020. The mission of the Commission is to explore ways to overcome institutional inequities in education, public safety and policing, healthcare, and other social services. This Commission is charged with identifying recommendations for action in each of these areas.

San Gabriel

San Gabriel, CA: Human Equity, Access and Relations (HEAR) Commission

In August 2020, the San Gabriel City Council adopted a resolution committing to a process of community engagement and examination into the City’s current policies and practices with the purpose of eliminating racism and discrimination. The Council has drafted an ordinance to create the Commission on Human Equity, Access and Relations (HEAR) to review the policies and practices of the City.

Youth Advisory Boards


Denver, CO: Youth Prevention Action Table

The Youth Prevention Action Table brings city agencies, community organizations and youth together to address gaps and opportunities in youth violence prevention and intervention efforts. The Table was created in 2019, and the executive committee meets bi-weekly under the leadership of City Attorney Kristin M. Bronson, Public Safety Officer Michael Sapp, and Chief Equity Officer Erin Brown.


Louisville, KY: Racial Equity Youth Council

In 2018, in partnership with the Louisville Mayor’s SummerWorks and YouthBuild Louisville programs, the Center for Health Equity at the University of Louisville announced the Racial Equity Youth Council, also known as the Despite Oppression Pursue Excellence Youth Council. This Youth Council, made of 10 individuals august 16-19, is dedicated to addressing racial inequities that exist for youth living in Louisville. The group is planning to engage in Youth Participatory Action Research to elevate the voices of youth in detention services and will conduct racial equity trainings with community youth members.

Battle Creek

Battle Creek, MI: The Hate You Give Showcase

The Battle Creek Youth Advisory Board looks to amplify youth voices and provide youth with a voice in their community. The group organized an event in June 2020 to raise awareness about bullying and racism in schools called ‘The Hate You Give Showcase.’ This was similar to one held in December, a talent showcase to combat hate, racism, and bullying. Members must be between the ages of 14 and 20 to get involved in local government policy development and administrative procedures that will improve the leadership development of the community’s youth.


Issaquah, WA: Racism – A Virtual Youth Awareness Showcase

The Issaquah Youth Advisory Board to the Issaquah School District exists to create leadership and service opportunities and to encourage leadership skills, highlight youth ideas, and unite students. The group presented a Virtual Youth Awareness Showcase in July aimed at starting a conversation about the subtle racism that exists in day-to-day life. The showcase addressed questions regarding what systemic racism is, the influence of media on racism, and the urgency of demanding social change.

Links to National Organizations and Programs