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 2

Invest in an ongoing and continually developing racial equity learning program, including understanding the distinction between institutional, structural, interpersonal, and individual racism, for County leadership and staff by end of 2021.
On Track 90%

Updated: January 2024

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

In the Spring of 2021, the OOE established a racial equity Core Team, made up of 76 members initially representing 25 County Departments  who participated in the Office of Equity’s Racial Equity Learning Program.

The Racial Equity Learning Program, which has been first of its kind in the County organization, included the creation of affinity and learning spaces, as well as trainings for members of the Core Team to develop technical expertise in Anti-Racist Results-Based Accountability (AR RBA) and to develop facilitation expertise in conversations about race equity.

Beginning the Fall of 2021, facilitated Race Affinity Groups created spaces in which participants were able to listen, support, and build trust around each other grounded in their shared experiences as employees of the County of Sonoma and received Racial Equity foundational training. All 76 members of the Core Team were invited to participate in this training which was held in facilitated affinity spaces for Black, White, and Non-Black staff of color. As part of the Racial Equity Foundations Training, Core Team members developed an understanding of the four levels of racism and well as our role and responsibility as public servants to mitigate and stop institutional harm, with particular regard to clients and communities of color.

Following the end of the Racial Equity Foundation Series, the OOE launched three professional development offerings for Core Team members: an intensive facilitators training, an Anti-Racist Results-Based Accountability training series, and a leadership development opportunity as part of the OOE Steering Committee. Core Team members were invited to sign up for the opportunity or opportunities that were of most interest to them, according to their own experiences and departmental support.

In June 2022, 20 Core Team members representing 9 departments completed the intensive facilitation training. Participating departments and agencies include: Agriculture/Weights & Measures, Board of Supervisors (District 3), County Administrator’s Office, Community Development Commission, Health Services, Human Services, Permit Sonoma, Sonoma Water, and the Office of Equity.

Core Team facilitators spent the summer of 2023 developing a Racial Equity Training for County Department Heads, which was delivered in October 2023. 19 Department Heads attended the day-long training in which newly trained facilitators showcased their skills and continued to expand their comfort in leading conversations and teaching concepts about race.

Key milestone update (include relevant metrics, if applicable)

After delivering the Racial Equity Training for County leadership, the Office of Equity launched a survey to receive feedback on the experience of Department Heads taking the training.  87.5% of Department Heads responding to our post-training survey found the content of the training “very relevant,” and 75% reported being “very” (5 -max score) satisfied with the overall training.

Since then, County Core Team facilitators have continued to work together on the development of a Countywide Racial Equity Training, which will expand the foundational learnings to additional County staff and managers (RESJ Goal 1, Objective 4).

The content of the Racial Equity 101 Training is scheduled to be complete by the end of December 2023 and will be rolled out in late January 2024 through hybrid sessions facilitated by Core Team trainers.

Coordination and partnership update

The Office of Equity has been working closely with the Human Resources department and with the group of Core Team facilitators and its department leadership as we prepare for and launch the Racial Equity 101 Training for all county employees in calendar year 2024.

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.)

The Equity Learning Program has been funded with General Fund dollars through FY 22-23. The OOE has received an ongoing Strategic Plan funding award of $50,000 to maintain the Core Team (RESJ Goal 1, Objective 1). However, there is no additional funding to support ongoing Racial Equity learning offerings across the County.  The OOE needs to continue to have the support of consultants and trainers who bring a regional, state-wide, and national perspective to our work in Sonoma County. Thus, there is a need for funding throughout the entirety of the Strategic Plan, which goes beyond FY 22-23 and through FY 25-26.