For Immediate Release
February 24, 2022
Media Contact: Maya Boddie
New York, NY – Today, Race Forward released a third tool in as many weeks to aid the federal government in advancing racial equity. Organizing for Racial Equity Within the Federal Government lays out how to organize and build capacity at the federal level. It is deeply informed by the experiences and insights of racial equity leaders and practitioners who are part of Race Forward’s Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE), a local, state, and regional government network of more than 400 members working to advance racial equity within their agencies and departments.
“The federal government has a duty to actively address and dismantle the racial inequities it has created rather than to sustain them,” said Carlton Eley, Senior Director for Federal Strategies at Race Forward. “Organizing is an essential means to this end. But successful organizing requires a clear strategy, a common vision, and most importantly, it takes a community. This tool is for federal employees who seek to build this community and make a deep and sustained commitment to racial equity across the whole of government.”
"The Biden-Harris Administration’s landmark order on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government issued a powerful, whole-of-government call to action to establish racial equity as the north star for governing,” said Michael McAfee, president and CEO at PolicyLink. “Building upon the legacy of federal employees who have championed racial equity in their respective roles, this new tool from Race Forward offers concrete strategies by which federal employees can help organize and advance structural change inside and across the institutions where they serve. Beyond the momentum of political moments, it will be the legacy of this internal organizing that charts the course for a flourishing multiracial democracy and the accompanying governing structures."
As a response to Executive Order 13985, last year, Race Forward and PolicyLink announced the launch of The Federal Initiative to Govern for Racial Equity in September of 2021 with the goal of creating sustainable change for racial equity in federal government structure, policy and practice. As a part of that launch, the organizations built on the initiative by releasing two other federal tools this month to ensure the administration carries out its commitment:
- Advancing Equity in Year 2 of The Biden Administration, a brief by PolicyLink, which outlines how the Biden Administration can hold itself accountable to its equity commitments and ensure the federal government finally serves all people.
- Advancing Racial Equity: A Framework for Federal Agencies, a report by Race Forward, which describes the components of a racial equity approach and walks practitioners and leaders in the federal government through key actions they must take and challenges they will face as they plan to implement racial equity strategies.
Earlier this month, the two organizations also co-hosted a virtual event, “Racial Equity: “The Whole of Government Responsibility," featuring discussions with Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and New Georgia Project CEO, Nsé Ufot, on the importance of the federal government working with communities of color to advance racial equity, and how these tools can help the federal government effectively do so.
The tool released today, Organizing for Racial Equity Within the Federal Government, is designed to help racial equity practitioners organize from within government to continually bring more people together toward a common vision of racial equity.
The report incorporates what working towards racial equity requires, including:
- Racial equity values embodied in processes, outcomes, and products of the racial equity initiative.
- Growth in the number and influence of racial equity practitioners across agencies and offices and up and down the hierarchy.
- Strong relationships among racial equity practitioners to develop and share skills, lessons and approaches to strengthen racial equity work.
- A culture of learning that makes the disruption of the status quo an opportunity for innovation and building of trust.
- Structural changes that generate accountable government relationships with communities most impacted by racial inequities as the norm, as well as the use of tools to change policies, practices, and procedures.
Race Forward and PolicyLink are releasing these tools so public servants at the federal level can step confidently into roles as normalizers, organizers, and operationalizers for racial equity. Centering racial equity as a core value will improve the skills development of public servants as well as the service delivery of public organizations. Organizing for racial equity won’t distract from good governance. Instead, it is the pathway to good governance in a multiracial democracy.
About Race Forward:
Race Forward, catalyzes movement building for racial justice. In partnership with communities, organizations, and sectors, we bring systemic analysis and innovative approaches to complex race issues to build strategies and help people take effective action to advance racial justice in our policies, institutions, and culture.
PolicyLink is a national research and action institute advancing racial and economic equity by Lifting Up What Works®.