CSAC Holds Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Forum on Inclusive Leadership: Embracing the Challenge to Advance Diversity and Equity Across California Communities
April 8, 2021
Counties play a critical role in the daily lives of all Californians. Diversity, equity, and inclusion in county government are vital for counties to provide exceptional services to their most vulnerable communities. Creating an inclusive workplace, understanding the complexity of providing culturally competent services, and building coalitions to increase equity can have a great impact in California communities. However, this is hard work and no one can do it alone.
CSAC and the California Counties Foundation hosted a forum today where more than 100 leaders from dozens of counties, including 24 County Supervisors, were able to learn more about local and state trends that create barriers to improved outcomes for disadvantaged communities. CSAC President and Sonoma County Supervisor James Gore urged participants to share ideas and develop shared goals and strategies for future diversity, equity, and inclusion work in local government.
Dr. Jai Africa, director of the Bay Health Recovery Systems kicked the forum off with a presentation on Moving Towards Equity: Understanding the Impact of Racism in Communities to establish some baseline knowledge and awareness of the topic among participants. Contra Costa County Supervisor and Vice Chair of the CSAC Foundation John Gioia moderated a panel on the Impact of Structural Inequality in Disadvantaged Communities with California with Natural Resources Agency Secretary Wade Crowfoot, Public Advocates Managing Attorney Sam Tepperman-Gelfant, and Bay Area Regional Health Inequities Initiative Executive Director Melissa Jones.
Following incredibly productive and informative breakout groups, CSAC 2nd Vice President and Riverside County Supervisor Chuck Washington moderated the panel, Tackling the Challenge to Improve Diversity, Equity & Inclusion: What are counties doing now? Panelists included Contra Costa Supervisor Federal Glover, Mono County Supervisor Stacy Corless, Santa Cruz County Senior Administrative Analyst Sven Stafford and Sonoma County Equity Officer Alegria De La Cruz.
CSAC Executive Director Graham Knaus closed the forum by explaining that the session today is just the first step for CSAC on an important path to upset the systems created by bias. The CSAC Foundation will be taking the learnings and notes from the sessions today to inform its strategic planning process. While this is hard work that will take effort and time, CSAC and County government leaders must harness and leverage this opportunity to make substantial change.