January 27, 2021
Statement from the Boulder County Commissioners in support of the President’s executive order on Advancing Racial Equity
On Jan. 20, 2021, President Biden signed an Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government. The order aims at increasing racial equity across the U.S. by strengthening anti-discrimination housing policies, halting new Justice Department contracts with private prisons, increasing the sovereignty of Native American tribes, and combatting violence and xenophobia against Asian Americans and Pacific islanders.
As the order further states, Affirmatively advancing equity, civil rights, racial justice, and equal opportunity is the responsibility of the whole of our Government.
We support this action by the Biden administration in advancing racial equity and concur with responding civil rights groups that the administration needs to continue this important work and advocate for racial equity in all levels of government. Importantly, Boulder County supports the executive order’s mandate to provide the necessary federal resources to advance fairness and opportunity. Boulder County centers race in our own approach to increasing equity at in the county. We look forward to addressing necessary changes to comply with this Executive Order as it relates to the many federal programs Boulder County administers.
As a public organization serving more than 326,000 county residents, we have identified five key strategic priority areas (particular to this matter, our Equity & Justice strategic priority) that help guide our public efforts. Additionally, we have established an internal Cultural Responsiveness and Inclusion Road Map* that directs Boulder County employees to incorporate racial equity into all aspects of county work.
Together, in partnership with the community we serve, we endeavor to create a more accessible, transparent, and equity-based model of government. There is always room for improvement, and we strive to make those improvements daily.
-Boulder County Board of County Commissioners
Matt Jones, Claire Levy, and Marta Loachamin
Boulder County’s working definitions on Race and Racial Equity
What is racial equity? Racial equity means eliminating disproportionalities based on race by using a racial equity framework which improves outcomes for all groups (Government Alliance on Race & Equity (GARE)** 2020)
What is a working definition of race? Race is the socially constructed meaning attached to a variety of physical attributes including but not limited to skin and eye color, hair texture and bone structure. Race is color, culture, consciousness. (Glenn E. Singleton, Courageous Conversations About Race, 2015)
Why lead with race? Boulder County has taken its que from GARE to lead with race “with the recognition that the creation and perpetuation of racial inequities has been baked into government, and that racial inequities across all indicators for success are deep and pervasive. We also know that … groups of people are still marginalized, including based on gender, sexual orientation, ability, and age, to name but a few. Focusing on racial equity provides the opportunity to introduce a framework, tools and resources that can also be applied to other areas of marginalization.” (source: https://www.racialequityalliance.org/about/our-approach/race/)
*The Cultural Responsiveness and Inclusion (CRI) Road Map outlines plans to further imbed CRI within five priority areas: Accountability, Leadership, Policy and Sustainability, Recruitment, Hiring, Retention, and Training.
**Boulder County is a core member of GARE (Government Alliance on Race & Equity) and is in a partnership with Pacific Educational Group for individual, institutional and structural transformation to achieve racial equity and eradicate all inequities for marginalized groups.