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Expansion of Equity Training in the City of Sacramento

What's this piece all about?

Sacramento City's Racial Equity Committee met on 4/11 and discussed a Resolution on DEIB (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging) trainings for elected officials, council staff, and appointed officers. First, let’s take a look at some context for this resolution, as well as some background about the Committee itself!

Back in February we wrote a piece about the formation of the Committee as well as its members - check it out for a deeper dive into the Committee itself! In short, the Racial Equity Committee was formed out of what was previously a Racial Equity Ad Hoc Committee - and despite the membership of some elected officials with a less-than-stellar history when it comes to social justice (lookin' at you Councilmember Maple), we have been overall optimistic about the mission of the Committee, and their goals for 2023.

Pictured above: Racial Equity Committee Co-Chair

Councilmember Mai Vang

For this resolution, it is important to note that Sacramento is part of the Sacramento Centered on Race and Equity (SCORE) Initiative, which requires that we as a city enact DEIB training.

The SCORE initiative is: the City's explicit decision to address racial equity within the City of Sacramento and is in the early stages of priorities development.

This resolution is focused on targeting this training and implementing it for elected officials, council staff, and appointed officers, with the goal of increasing our racial equity standards for Sacramento and adhering to the goals of the SCORE Initiative. This resolution will hopefully pave the way for more like it, and allow for our city officials to be better trained to facilitate racial equity for all Sacramento city folx.

The resolution was brought to the Committee by Aimée Zenzele Barnes, the Diversity and Equity director for the City of Sacramento (pictured left).

She presented the resolution briefly by going over its purpose, the context of it in regards to SCORE, and what the training would mean for Sacramento City officials. After Barnes’ brief presentation, Councilmember Jennings had a comment about the Resolution - in which he suggested that there be DEIB training for City workers on the lower levels and not just “upper level” departments. He noted that this would potentially look like providing the training to the heads of city departments as well as their staff.

Barnes agreed that this would be a welcome addition to the resolution, and also made note that the resolution is meant to lead to further required trainings throughout all City departments - not just the current DEIB training. This includes “middle-managers, senior managers” and those at the “executive level”. Overall, the goal of the resolution is to facilitate this training firstly in the positions outlined in it, and later on expanding it throughout all City departments.

In the video below, Barnes explains the importance of understanding that white supremacy legacy culture is about systems rather than individuals, and that it is crucial that government officials all have a common understanding of these concepts

Barnes emphasized that an important goal of this training is to incorporate “shared terminology” to make sure concepts like white supremacy and systemic racism are clearly defined for trainees.

Was there a vote?

The Committee unanimously voted to approve the resolution! However, the vote was not confirming implementation of the resolution, it was instead approving the resolution to be sent before the full City Council for review and final approval.

Why is this important for Social Justice?

This resolution will hopefully lay the groundwork for more comprehensive racial equity training throughout all city departments. However, it's important to note that right now the resolution is a recommendation for the Council to review, and implementation of the training program is dependent on their votes. The City Council needs to stand by their goal of utilizing the Racial Equity Committee for its express purpose. If this resolution passes it could provide the opportunity to advance racially equitable policy & practice throughout Sacramento City government, furthering our fight against white supremacy and systemic racism within our city and county.

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