Racial Equity (n): a state in which outcomes can no longer be predicted by race.
From extensive community input and Steering Committee guidance, we heard the need to ensure our process is representative of the community in which we are working, especially on the basis of race, age, and socioeconomic status. In order to help accomplish this goal, we partnered with Forward through Ferguson to apply a Racial Equity Lens to our outreach and plan development processes.
This process is encapsulated in the following call to action from the Ferguson Commission Report:
Broadly Apply a Racial Equity Framework Intentionally apply a racial equity framework to existing and new regional policies, initiatives, programs and projects in order to address and eliminate existing disparities for racial and ethnic populations. The following focus questions should be included at a minimum:
- Whom does this benefit?
- Does this differentially impact racial and ethnic groups?
- What is missing that will decrease or eliminate racial disparities?
So, how are we doing this?
With guidance from staff and consultants of Forward through Ferguson, we have set out several strategies for working toward a racially equitable engagement process for the Gravois-Jefferson Plan. These strategies include:
- Tracking demographic information (including race, age, SES, and more) for all individuals engaged. This allows us to dis-aggregate data and input collected in our public process by factors like race to see how different identities experience their community, and how the future vision of one’s neighborhood may vary based on the identities they hold. It also helps us understood whose voices we have heard and whose are missing from the conversation, which in turn helps inform our outreach strategies.
- Considering how different methods engage different parts of our community, and conducting additional engagement outside of the traditional evening public meetings to reach out specifically to people of color, young people, and people experiencing poverty). This outreach has included meeting with Vietnamese elders, the Amigas Latinas group, a spring break camp at Cherokee Rec, students at Roosevelt and Carnahan High Schools, and talking with folks at bus stops and corner stores.
- Emphasizing racial equity as a key community and plan value in conversations with residents, potential partners, and others involved in this process.
- We are working hard on this, and always appreciate help and guidance from others. If you know of groups or individuals we should talk to, or have ideas to improve out outreach, please contact us.
Beyond the engagement process, we look forward to understanding how a racial equity lens can be applied to the development and prioritization of plan content. How do the community-developed recommendations and strategies contribute toward “a state in which outcomes are no longer predicted by race?” In the coming months, we will be working with the Steering Committee, Forward through Ferguson, and others to explore this concept and put it into action.
We look forward to sharing our experiences with other communities seeking to pursue neighborhood planning and development using a racial equity lens.