Undoing centuries of segregation, discrimination, and structural racism takes intentional acts and collective will from all sectors of our society.

Progressive policy solutions can break down barriers instead of unwittingly perpetuating disparities. The DC Initiative on Racial Equity and Local Government seeks to raise awareness about the role of the DC government in advancing racial equity in partnership with community members, nonprofit organizations, foundations, and businesses. This Initiative supports and adapts lessons from specific DC agencies and other cities and counties across the country which use a racial equity lens in their work.

The DC Initiative engages DC policymakers, as well as administration officials and staff, to promote adopting a Racial Equity Impact Assessment (REIA) process in their work. A REIA process can evaluate policy solutions for potential adverse impact on people of color, as well as to avoid furthering structural inequities. It will use measurement frameworks to establish baseline data on indicators of disparities and evaluate the success of efforts to advance racial equity. Building the REIA into the work of government will help operationalize the application of a racial equity lens in decision-making processes, regulations, programs, and budgets. 

The DC Initiative was formed as a result of the 2015 Roundtable Discussion on Racial Equity and the Role of Local Governments, which brought together DC government officials and staff, nonprofit organizations, academic institutions, and foundations. The Initiative has successfully pushed government officials to engage in this work with greater urgency; Council training, a resolution, cross-administration collaborations, and more have been spurred by the Initiative’s work.

The Initiative believes that the District of Columbia government has an essential responsibility to advance policies, regulations, and programs that address racial inequities to create better outcomes for city residents. We promote the importance and use of a racial equity lens with DC policymakers and administration staff in their decision-making processes in order to provide opportunities and improve the lives of low-income communities and communities of color in the District. 

The REACH Act will provide the following:

(1) An Office of Racial EquityA Commission on Racial Equity, Social Justice, and Economic Inclusion.

(2) Establish a Racial Equity ProgramRequire racial equity training for DC employees, boards, and commission.

(3) Require the Office of Racial Equity to design and implement racial equity tools.

(4) Require the Mayor to include racial equity-related performance measures in the development of annual performance plans and evaluate the use of such tools beginning in 2022.

(5) Defines “Racial Equity” as the elimination of racial disparities so race no longer predicts opportunities, outcomes, or distribution of resources for residents of DC.

Read more about the REACH Act Here

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