Racial Equity and Social Justice

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

Goal 3, Objective 1

Establish a racial equity analysis tool by 2022 for departments to use for internal decision-making, policy decisions and implementation, and service delivery.
On Track 90%

Updated: January 2024

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

In November 2020, the Board of Supervisors approved the use of the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE), Racial Equity Toolkit for significant Board Items. GARE states that a racial equity tool shall:

  • identify clear goals, objectives and measurable outcomes;
  • engage community in decision-making processes;
  • identify who will benefit or be burdened by a given decision, examine potential unintended consequences of a decision, and develop strategies to advance racial equity and mitigate unintended negative consequences; and
  • develop mechanisms for successful implementation and evaluation of impact.

The tool has been established, but what remains is the creation of a regular annual reporting mechanism in alignment with the Board’s directive to embed this race equity analysis into their decision-making processes.

Key milestone update (include relevant metrics, if applicable)

The OOE conducted training on the GARE Racial Equity Toolkit for Departments Heads and the Core Team in April 2023, the CAO’s Budget Analyst team in September 2023, and County Counsel in October 2023. The training objectives included shared understanding of anti-racism as a practice, the steps of the racial equity toolkit, and how to apply it to significant board items.

The Office of Equity was funded for a permanent, full time Strategic Plan Program Planning and Evaluation Analyst to support departments in the process and review of applying their Racial Equity Analysis to significant Board items. This position was filled in October 2023.

Over calendar year 2023, 11 Departments have reached out to the Office of Equity to apply the toolkit to their policies and programs.

Coordination and partnership update

The success of applying the racial equity toolkit is an inter-departmental effort, with clear roles and responsibilities for all:

The Board of Supervisors approved the use of the GARE Racial Equity toolkit in November 2021 and approves the Board calendar of significant items annually in January.

The County Administrator:

  • Reviews Departments/Agency proposed Board Significant Items through 12-month work plan submission process
  • Reviews Significant Items designated by Department/Agency heads for racial equity analysis in collaboration with the Office of Equity and arrives at final list
  • Communicates final list of Significant Items needing a racial equity analysis to Department/Agency Heads
  • Reinforces equity analysis necessity at DAHA (Department and Agency Head Association)

Department and Agency Head:

  • Identifies proposed Significant Items through 12-month work plan process including which items will include a racial equity analysis
  • Identifies person(s) responsible for the analysis, i.e., who will prepare the Board item and/or analysis
  • Ultimate accountability for finished product
  • Reinforces equity analysis within department

Department and Agency Staff:

  • Identified by Department/Agency Head as person(s) responsible for the racial equity analysis
  • Plans early for racial equity analysis
  • Uses Racial Equity Toolkit and Racial Equity Teams Channel resources to complete a first draft of the racial equity analysis
  • Shares initial draft and seeks support from Office of Equity, CAO Racial Equity Leadership, department Core Team Member(s) and, if necessary, County Counsel for initial input on draft analysis

Office of Equity:

  • Reviews and recommends Significant Items designated by Department/Agency heads for racial equity analysis in collaboration with CAO Racial Equity Leadership
  • Central resource for developing approach to racial equity analyses, i.e., identifying desired outcomes, data sources, community engagement opportunities, strategies to advance racial equity, knowledge gaps, and tools
  • Reviews and gives feedback to departments/agencies on racial equity analyses (prior to entering into Legistar)
  • Tracks how recommendations provided to department staff for equity analyses are incorporated and implemented
  • Builds on racial equity analysis resources available on the Racial Equity Analysis Teams Channel
  • Identifies and provides training opportunities for racial equity analyses
  • Updates and maintains document repository on Teams Channel, e.g., completed equity analysis, external examples, data resources, etc.

CAO Racial Equity Leadership:

  • Reviews and recommends Significant Items designated by Department/Agency heads for racial equity analysis in collaboration with OoE and CAO staff
  • Sends initial email with general instructions to Department/Agency staff person responsible for analysis, and copies CAO budget analysts and OoE
  • Participates in initial equity analysis planning discussions with department staff and OoE
  • Provides CAO equity analysis resource support
  • Reviews equity analysis for CAO Board items

CAO Operations and Budget:

  • For assigned Departments/Agencies, confirms person(s) responsible for the analysis
  • Participates in Department/Agency initial equity analysis planning discussion
  • Checks in with department staff on status of racial equity analysis prior to Legistar submission
  • Reviews equity analysis as part of regular Board item review

To the extent to which they are supported in their departments, County Equity Core Team members may track and participate in the development of Significant Board Items that require racial equity analysis for their own departments.

The Clerk of the Board maintains a list of Board Significant items needing equity analysis. As mentioned earlier, there is still a need to develop a better tracking and reporting system for departments required to submit equity analyses with their Board items.

Community, equity and climate update

By engaging anti-racist principles in data-driven decision making, we are embedding equity into the day to day work of the County of Sonoma.


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

In February 2023, The Office of Equity received funding to staff a permanent Strategic Plan Program Planning and Evaluation Analyst to support the Office’s response to the increasing number of County departments requesting guidance, assistance, and collaboration as they work to implement racial equity practices in their work and in significant Board agenda items.