(Washington, DC)—Today, on the first day of Black History Month, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced the forthcoming search for a Chief Equity Officer for the government of the District of Columbia. The officer will be responsible for developing and leading the District’s equity team, convening the District’s ongoing equity initiatives, and advancing the District’s goal of achieving racial equity.
“As we continue our recovery into 2021, we have a unique opportunity to double down on our efforts to put racial equity at the forefront and revitalize systems to ensure a more inclusive and prosperous future for all Washingtonians,” said Mayor Bowser. “We know that when more Washingtonians are given a fair shot, we are a stronger and more resilient city. I look forward to our search for a director who will uphold our shared values for a more equitable and diverse DC.”
The Office of Equity will focus on developing an infrastructure to ensure policy decisions and District programs are evaluated through an equity lens and will be housed in the Office of the City Administrator. The Equity Officer will collaborate with District agencies, residents, and external stakeholders to make meaning progress toward a more equitable city. The hiring of the Chief Equity Officer will serve as the District’s first step toward the establishment of the office put forward in the Racial Equity Achieves Results “REACH Act” (D.C. Act 23-521) – legislation introduced by Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDufffie and passed by the Council of the District of Columbia to legislatively support a citywide focus on racial equity.
“Only by building systems that are intentional in their design to account for our city’s legacy of racism and discrimination and are targeted to expand access will every District resident truly have the same opportunities to prosper in our society,” said Councilmember McDuffie. “The Chief Equity Officer will be instrumental in our local government’s efforts to eliminate racial disparities and advance the goal of achieving equity in the Nation’s Capital.”
The Bowser Administration has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to equity and in 2019 launched ResilientDC. A key focus area in this plan was Equity in Governance, a priority now reflected in District programs and services. ResilientDC initiated a comprehensive review of the District’s equity portfolio and put into motion the first of many equity-focused evaluations of agency programs and services. Most recently, The Lab @ DC hosted a week-long workshop series focused on reimaging police stops where participants from law enforcement, advocate organizations, researchers and residents challenged what creates an equitable experience with the police. Throughout the District’s Public Health Emergency, the Bowser Administration has closely monitored residents’ needs to ensure a robust and equitable response and recovery.
Last year, Mayor Bowser launched “EquityRFP,” an initiative to enhance equity in the District’s development projects. Through this initiative, the District will include an equity inclusion prioritization in forthcoming RFP’s that will increase access to development opportunities for entities or organizations that are owned or majority controlled by individuals determined to be part of a socially disadvantaged population.
The position will be posted at mota.dc.gov this week.