Mayor London Breed, Supervisors Sandra Lee Fewer and Vallie Brown Create Office of Racial Equity
Office of Racial Equity will work to repair harms from policies that previously created, upheld, or exacerbated racial disparities
San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed, along with Supervisors Sandra Lee Fewer and Vallie Brown, today celebrated the creation of the Office of Racial Equity. The new office will promote racial equity in San Francisco and will be under the jurisdiction of the Human Rights Commission.
“This office will help us address racial inequities across the City and advance toward equitable outcomes for all our communities,” said Mayor Breed. “We know that in the past our City has enacted policies that disproportionately harm communities of color. With this new Office of Racial Equity, we will work to right those past wrongs and ensure that our City’s policies going forward are equitable and just.”
Supervisors Lee Fewer and Brown introduced legislation to create the new Office on May 14, 2019. The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to approve the legislation on July 30, and Mayor Breed signed the legislation on August 9.
“This legislation will hold us accountable to moving the needle for racial equity in our city and addressing the disparities facing communities of color with regards to economic stability, housing, health outcomes or policing,” said Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer. “It is long past due that San Francisco makes real our commitment to racial equity, and this Office of Racial Equity will make sure that everyone in San Francisco has an equitable opportunity to thrive.”
“The Office of Racial Equity will build upon the work and legacy of the Human Rights Commission, and is a powerful tool to begin to break down years and years of structural and institutional racism in San Francisco,” said Supervisor Vallie Brown. “We need better policies and funding to combat deep racial disparities in housing, healthcare, education, transportation, and employment. This will take continued organizing and work on behalf of our Board, working in hand and hand with our local community. There’s no simple solution to undo pain experienced by our communities of color, but we need to acknowledge and address our past harm, for a more hopeful future.”
The Office of Racial Equity seeks to advance racial equity in San Francisco and repair harms done by policies that have previously created, upheld, or exacerbated racial disparities. The Office of Racial Equity will analyze City policies for their potential impact on various racial groups, and consult with City departments to establish tailored plans to address racial disparities both within individual departments and within the communities they serve.
The City budget for Fiscal Years 2019-20 and 2020-21 includes approximately $1 million over two years to staff the Office of Racial Equity. The Office will have the authority to create a citywide Racial Equity Framework, a document outlining the City’s vision, goals and overarching strategies to address racism and racial disparities and advance racial equity in the City, with a focus on the work of City government. The framework will include metrics by which departments, through Racial Equity Action Plans, can measure performance to address racial disparities. The framework will be submitted to the Board of Supervisors no later than June 30, 2020.
Mayor Breed has worked to advance equitable policies in San Francisco. As President of the Board of Supervisors, she authored legislation to eliminate $32 million in debt in criminal justice fees for 21,000 people. Mayor Breed worked with the Financial Justice Project in the Treasurer’s Office to eliminate library overdue fees, and to lift approximately 88,000 existing holds on driver’s licenses that were suspended due to the license holder’s failure to appear in court to pay traffic citations. In June, Mayor Breed and Sheriff Vicki Hennessy announced that San Francisco would become the first county in the nation to make all call from jail free and end commissary markups in jail stores by June 2020.
Mayor Breed’s signature program, Opportunities for All, is an initiative focused on creating opportunities for youth in San Francisco to gain employment experience, build networks, and address inequities represented in income and wealth gaps by giving them access to paid internships.