Justice, fairness and equity for all is an important American ideal. But in the tumult of 2020, it became clear that our governments, communities and people needed to rededicate themselves and take actions toward creating a culture of belonging, equity and racial justice in our region. San Diego County is doing just that across our organization; from declaring systemic racism a public health crisis to building environmental justice into our land use process.
The Office of Equity and Racial Justice, created in June 2020, is up and running, with a director that local communities helped select, a mission statement co-created with the community and a charge to work across County departments to identify systemic and structural racism in its organization.
The Office will also work with the 31-member San Diego County Leon L. Williams Human Relations Commission to continue to fulfill the Office’s mission. The commission was recreated and renamed in 2020 to promote positive human relations, respect and the integrity of every person regardless of gender, religion, culture, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age or citizenship status.
The County is working to establish its newly approved initiative, “Uplift Boys and Men of Color,” which will work with education officials and community organizations to address systemic barriers of this group. In addition, education officials and community organizations will work together to enhance and connect wraparound services to support the personal and professional development of the youths and their legal guardians.
The Office of Equity and Racial Justice is developing the Social Equity Program for commercial cannabis. It will address the disproportionate impacts of the war on drugs in marginalized communities and promote equitable ownership and employment opportunities in the cannabis industry.
The office is also working on a Budget Equity tool. The tool will help County Departments assess how their budgets benefit and/or burden communities, specifically communities of color and low-income communities, to determine impacts and ensure equitable resource allocation.
The County Citizens’ Law Enforcement Review Board, has moved forward with expanded authority and increased law enforcement oversight capabilities to provide independent accountability and increase public confidence in the County’s Sheriff and Probation departments.
"Finally! Environmental Justice is being included! Thank you very much for amending the plan to include this. It will make for a better San Diego."
- Susan K.
The County adopted its first-ever Environmental Justice Element for the County general plan that guides development in unincorporated communities and sets the long-term vision for housing, jobs, infrastructure and public services. The new element will help ensure the general plan promotes fair treatment for people of all races, cultures and incomes when it comes to having access to safe and livable communities, and opportunities for civic engagement.
County employees have established 10 thriving, diverse Employee Resource Groups, including one of the longest standing in the nation, the San Diego County Latino Association. These ERGs, open to all 18,000 County employees, give members opportunities to network, interact, address common issues, help recruit and retain new talent, and promote cultural awareness and understanding.
Diversity and Inclusion Related Employee Trainings