Creating a Racial Equity & Social Justice Policy

Councilmember Navarro speaks during the bill signing ceremony on December 2, 2019

Racial equity and social justice are what we strive to achieve in Montgomery County. The Government Alliance on Racial Equity (GARE) defines racial equity as “when race can no longer be used to predict life outcomes and outcomes for all groups are improved.” Racial equity and social justice are urgent moral and socioeconomic endeavors for our community. Our county’s population has changed, both in numbers and in diversity, and this did not happen overnight. Addressing issues of racial equity is not only an ethical obligation; it is essential to ensure the continued economic vitality of our community.

County leaders have created and adopted a Racial Equity and Social Justice Policy for Montgomery County. This process began in 2018 with a Montgomery County Council resolution, which was spearheaded by Council President Nancy Navarro and co-sponsored by County Executive Marc Elrich. Since that time Council President Navarro, Councilmembers and County Executive Elrich have met with community members throughout the county on racial equity and social justice issues.  The Bill was adopted on December 2, 2019.

Community engagement was essential in this process. Engaging in conversations about racial equity and social justice can be uncomfortable, but leaders gathered the input of residents to create a Racial Equity and Social Justice Policy that is truly impactful. County leaders gathered residents thoughts about how we can build an even better and stronger Montgomery County that meets the needs of all.

This robust community engagement process took place with well-attended community conversations and the guidance of a toolkit. Formal community conversations on racial equity and social justice, which were co-hosted by Council President Navarro and County Executive Elrich, began in March of 2019.  These conversations in Silver Spring, Germantown and White Oak, and a youth meeting at Gaithersburg High School, were attended by more than 750 community members.

If you would like to provide additional feedback, you can do so by emailing County.Council@MontgomeryCountyMd.Gov. Community members and organizations were encouraged to host community conversations on racial equity with their friends, neighbors and colleagues and to report their findings back using a survey tool. These structured conversations could take place in homes, community centers, houses of worship, coffee shops, parks, online or any place you feel comfortable. Some guiding questions for the conversation included:

  • Why does racial equity matter?
  • Are you impacted by racial inequity?
  • What changes do you want to see to promote racial equity and social justice?

Ms. Tiffany Ward, County’s Chief Equity Officer

See press release on her Feb. 25 confirmation


Below are some resources to further explain these efforts.

Background

Racial Equity & Social Justice Act

Racial Equity & Social Justice Toolkit

Calendar of Events

  • December 2, 2019, Bill 27-19 on Racial Equity and Social Justice signed into law
  • November 19, 2019, Final Council Vote on Bill 27-19 on Racial Equity and Social Justice
  • October 29,2019, Public Hearing - Bill 27-19, Administration - Human Rights - Office of Racial Equity and Social Justice - Racial Equity and Social Justice Advisory Committee - Established
  • July 10, 2019, Community Conversation on Racial Equity and Social Justice at White Oak Community Recreation Center
  • June 26, 2019, Community Conversation on Racial Equity and Social Justice at BlackRock Arts Center
  • June 11, 2019, Council meeting on Racial Equity and Social Justice
  • April 8, 2019, Youth Forum on Racial Equity and Social Justice
  • April 1, 2019, Launch of Community Survey and Community Conversations and Racial Equity and Social Justice
  • March 13, 2019, Kick off Racial Equity and Social Justice Community Engagement Campaign with press conference and community conversation at the Silver Spring Civic Building

Community Resources

Recommended Reading

Community Surveys

Español

Video Resource Library

Through the Racial Equity Lens - Series

Press

Racial Equity and Social Justice Institute Timeline

  • Resolution 18-1095 adopted affirming the Council’s commitment to creating a Racial Equity and Social Justice Policy for Montgomery County
  • Release of Office of Legislative Oversight Report 2018-8, Racial Equity in Government Decision-Making: Lessons from the Field
  • Racial Equity Training for County Leadership
  • Racial Equity Training Debrief for County Leadership
  • Kick off Racial Equity and Social Justice Community Engagement Campaign with press conference and community conversation at the Silver Spring Civic Building
  • Launch of Community Equity Survey and Community Conversations
  • Council meeting on Racial Equity and Social Justice
  • Racial Equity & Social Justice Community Conversation hosted by County Council President Nancy Navarro and County Executive Marc Elrich at BlackRock Center for the Arts
    • Community Conversations through July 15, 2019
    • Release of baseline report describing disparities by race and ethnicity in education, employment, housing, health, criminal justice and other measures of opportunity
    • County Council starts work on developing Racial Equity and Social Justice Policy legislation
    • Introduction
    • 1:30 & 7 p.m. Public Hearings, Council Office Building
    • Government Operations and Fiscal Policy Committee Meeting
    • End of Nov. 2019, Final Council vote
    • Final Council Vote
    • Legislation signed into law