SACOG Board of Directors Adopt Racial Equity Statement of Change and Commitment
On February 17, 2022, the SACOG Board of Directors adopted the SACOG Racial Equity Statement of Change and Commitment. The statement sets the foundation for the agency’s racial equity work in the years ahead and kicks off the development of a racial equity action plan which the SACOG Racial Equity and Inclusion (REI) working group will have a prominent role in guiding and shaping over the coming months.
The key elements of this statement are:
- Acknowledgement of government’s and SACOG’s role in creating and perpetuating racial disparities in health, wealth, education, transportation, housing, and other aspects of life, and are evident today.
- A vision and commitment by SACOG to work to rectify those racial disparities for the benefit of everyone in the region.
- A list of specific actions SACOG will take to follow through on its commitment.
The journey began in 2020, in the wake of social and racial justice protests. The SACOG board did not adopt a statement of commitment at the time for a variety of reasons, but one important reason was the need to be thoughtful about what a statement would mean. Since the formation of the REI working group, public members with expertise in racial equity and public policy, and led by Chair Rick Jennings, have been working to develop the statement and will continue advising SACOG and the board as REI work is implemented.
During the adoption item, SACOG’s executive director, James Corless, acknowledged that the statement is the start and not the end of this journey where many disparities exist in the region. He described SACOG’s vision to build a region where race and ethnicity are no longer predictors of health and economic outcomes as the start of a long and intentional pursuit to a more equitable community.
You can read SACOG’s Racial Equity Statement of Change and Commitment below or watch the February 17 board meeting.
Sacramento Area Council of Governments
Racial Equity Statement of Change and Commitment
Adopted February 17, 2022
The Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) acknowledges that residents living in the greater six-county Sacramento region face significant inequities, resulting in disparities and divides that exist by race and ethnicity, by income, and by urban and rural areas. SACOG is committed to tackling inequities and disparities in all forms. This statement marks a commitment to advancing racial equity in order to build a thriving economy and healthy environment for all residents of the Sacramento region, particularly for Black, Indigenous, Asian, Pacific Islander, Hispanic/Latino, and other communities of color, that have been historically disenfranchised and excluded. SACOG envisions a Sacramento region where race is no longer a predictor of life outcomes, and outcomes for all groups are improved.
As the greater Sacramento region has grown, its residents have not shared equally in the benefits of that growth. Federal, state, and local policies played a significant role in racial disparities in health, wealth, education, transportation, housing, and other aspects of life that continue today. “Redlining” lending practices denied home ownership and prevented the creation of generational wealth for people of color, and Black communities in particular. Racially restrictive housing covenants and exclusionary zoning intentionally, artificially, and persistently segregated non-white from white communities. Redevelopment targeted these communities of color in the name of progress and economic development, but often served to displace and further disadvantage them. Similarly, transportation policies and programs—such as the construction of our region’s freeways and interstate highways—divided and displaced once-thriving communities of color. The cumulative effect of these policies and programs adds up to a legacy of structural racism, the impacts of which are still visible in communities throughout our region today.
As a government entity, SACOG has perpetuated and sustained these long-standing policies and programs that have resulted in significant racial disparities in transportation, housing, and land use in the region. SACOG has an obligation to reduce these inequities through our work to ensure that safe, healthy, accessible, and inclusive opportunities are available to all residents of the six-county region.
To work toward a just and equitable region that addresses the historic wrongs and where health and economic outcomes for all groups are improved, SACOG commits to:
• LISTEN and LEARN: Work to build and strengthen relationships with organizations representing historically marginalized communities in both urban and rural areas, to integrate their perspectives and priorities, and to give voice to these communities.
• PLAN: Develop a racial equity action plan for SACOG’s programs and operations, that includes measurable activities, and regularly review the plan to ensure the integration of policies, procedures and programs to advance racial equity.
• SUPPORT: Provide continuous support to our member and partner agencies to integrate the agency’s racial equity action into local plans, build and strengthen relationships with community-based organizations, non-profits, advocacy organizations, and other equity experts and practitioners.
• ACT: Continue to build the capacity of the SACOG staff and board to fully implement SACOG’s racial equity action plan, and carefully consider how our decision-making processes address historic inequities in transportation and housing.
• MEASURE: Establish, regularly monitor, and report publicly on 1) regional equity indicators associated with housing, transportation, and economic opportunity; 2) organizational equity indicators of employee and stakeholder (community members, public agencies, non-governmental partners) experience of existing policies, practices, and procedures; and 3) indicators of authentic project sponsor engagement in the planning and design of regionally significant projects.