Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and Government Alliance on Race and Equity Launch Initiative to Advance Racial Equity

Washington, D.C. (September 26, 2019) – Today, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) in partnership with the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE) launched the first-ever regional learning cohort of local government staff to advance racial equity and opportunities for all.

More than 100 managers and staff from 11 jurisdictions, comprising the District of Columbia, Fairfax County, Arlington County, City of Alexandria, Loudoun County, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, Charles County, City of Takoma Park, City of Gaithersburg, and City of College Park will participate in the year-long program.

In cities across the United States, people of color and immigrants are more likely to live in neighborhoods with fewer resources and disproportionately lack opportunities from education to employment. For example in metropolitan Washington, health varies starkly by race and ethnicity and is shaped by factors, such as income, education, transportation, and housing, according to the report – Uneven Opportunities: How Conditions for Wellness Vary Across the Metropolitan Washington Region.

To address these issues, the new program will help local governments advance racial equity in four main areas:

  1. Public safety and court services
  2. Community development, planning, zoning, and housing
  3. Transportation and mobility
  4. Governing and business, procurement, human resources, and leadership and workforce development

“Through this program, local governments have the opportunity to make changes toward improving racial equity in our region,” said COG Executive Director Chuck Bean. “COG is helping to bring local governments together to address racial equity on a regional level, so that more equitable policies and practices can reach every resident in our region.”

By the end of the program, participants will develop a racial equity action plan that will help normalize conversations about race and implement new policies and practices that advance racial equity in their jurisdictions.

“We are excited that the metropolitan Washington region is joining a national network of local governments committed to advancing racial equity,” said GARE Co-Director Julie Nelson. “Racial equity is important for everyone in the community and this program will give local government leaders the tools to make real changes.”

CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, Consumer Health Foundation, and Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation provided support for the program.

Media contact: Laura Ambrosio lambrosio@mwcog.org, (202) 962-3278

The Council of Governments is an independent, nonprofit association where area leaders address regional issues affecting the District of Columbia, suburban Maryland, and Northern Virginia.

The Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE), is a joint project of Race Forward and the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at the University of California, Berkeley. GARE is a national network of local governments working to achieve racial equity and advance opportunities for all.