Racial Equity and Social Justice

Achieve racial equity in County service provision and ensure a workforce reflective of the community we serve.

Goal 1, Objective 1

Establish an Equity Core Team by mid-2021 to advance equity initiatives across all departments in collaboration with the Office of Equity.
On Track 90%

Updated: January 2024

Summary of objective implementation status (achievements or progress over last year; significant delays or issues, etc.)

The OOE established the Sonoma County Equity Core Team in late Spring of 2021, with 76 members initially representing 25 County Departments. The Core Team became the first cohort of equity champions who have helped expand the Office’s capacity to begin its work in alignment with the Racial Equity and Social Justice pillar of the County’s 5-year Strategic Plan.

Since its creation, Core Team members have participated in several opportunities for professional development including:

  • Racial Equity Foundations Training: All Core Team members worked in racial affinity groups – White, Black, and Non-Black People of Color – to create the conditions for learning foundational equity principles and skills, including sharing concepts and definitions, learning about the history of racism in the United States and Sonoma County, and building relationships as employees of the County of Sonoma.
  • Facilitation training: 20 Core Team members representing 9 departments, participated in an intensive three-day workshop, in which they developed their facilitative expertise to navigate and lead conversations about race.
  • Anti-racist Results-Based Accountability training: 31 Core Team members representing 12 departments joined a year-long training in which they learned to develop technical expertise in Anti-Racist Results-Based Accountability (AR RBA) methodology.

As of December 2022, Core Team members reported more than 3,110 hours of training together. However, the Core Team has also lost some members. Some of the most common reasons for attrition in the Core Team include lack of capacity for participation, leaving the County for other employment, and retirement. Currently, the Core Team is made of 47 participants representing 17 County departments and agencies:

  1. Auditor-Controller-Treasurer- Tax Collector
  2. Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District
  3. Agriculture/Weights & Measures
  4. Board of Supervisors – District 3
  5. County Administrator’s Office
  6. Child Support Services
  7. Community Development Commission
  8. Clerk-Recorder-Assessor-Registrar of Voters
  9. County Counsel
  10. Department of Emergency Management
  11. Department of Health Services (DHS)
  12. Human Resources
  13. Human Services Department (HSD)
  14. Office of Equity
  15. Probation
  16. Public Defender
  17. Sonoma Water

While the OOE Core Team has been created and operating since 2021, the OOE is planning to engage in a Strategic Planning process in early 2024 to determine the following actions needed to maintain the existing cohort or to create additional opportunities for professional development in the County, potentially in the form of a new cohort.

The OOE received $50,000 in Strategic Plan funds on 2/7/2023, which will be used to support the development of the next action steps, which will help create a sustainable path to continue to nurture the professional development of existing (and new) Core Team members who are instrumental in expanding the capacity of the OOE to advance equity initiatives across all departments.

Key milestone update (include relevant metrics, if applicable)

  • Steering Committee: In addition to offering the professional development opportunities mentioned above, in February 2023, the OOE also established a Steering Committee (SC). The purpose of the SC has been to act as a group of strategic leaders who work with the OOE to co-develop the Racial Equity Action Plan (RESJ Goal 3; Objective 1 and 2) through an Anti-Racist framework. The Action Plan is a formal commitment to achieving racial equity by organizing an iterative road map of action items, goals, measurable outcomes, and accountability measures to implement institutional and structural changes within County government. The Action Plan is projected to be presented to the Board of Supervisors for final adoption and approval by the end of FY 2023-24.
  • Antiracist Expertise: Trained Core Team members continue to provide support to their departments in several areas, including in the development of equity analysis for significant board items in their departments, as well as various other processes in which an anti-racist expertise has been needed, such as supporting hiring panels, participating in focus groups, and/or sharing their expertise in different settings in support of their departmental operations.

Coordination and partnership update

The OOE has been working in partnership with the departments heads, who have supported the capacity of Core Team members to attend anti-racist professional development opportunities, including:

  • Auditor-Controller-Treasurer- Tax Collector
  • Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District
  • Agriculture/Weights & Measures
  • Board of Supervisors – District 3
  • County Administrator’s Office
  • Child Support Services
  • Community Development Commission
  • County Counsel
  • Clerk-Recorder-Assessor-Registrar of Voters
  • Emergency Management
  • Health Services (DHS)
  • Human Resources
  • Human Services (HSD)
  • Office of Equity
  • Probation
  • Public Defender
  • Sonoma Water

Community, equity and climate update

The Office of Equity operates using anti-racist and equitable principles in all of our work.

Funding narrative (If this objective received Strategic Plan funding in year 1 or year 2, please provide a status of expenditures to date.)

In Year 1, OOE received $240,000 in one-time Strategic Plan funds to get the Core Team work underway.

In Year 2, OOE received $50,000 in ongoing Strategic Plan funds to continue the work of the Core Team.  The OOE plans to use such funds in calendar year 2024 towards the creation of a sustainable path for the professional development of existing (and new) Core Team members.