Racial Equity and Social Justice

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

Goal 4, Objective 2

Collaborate with community members and stakeholder groups to develop racial equity strategies for County emergency response, economic recovery and resiliency planning efforts.
On Track 35%

Updated: January 2024

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

  • Identified community members and stakeholder groups and/or build on ARPA work group’s community partnerships.
  • Documented lessons learned from fires, COVID-19, winter storms and other projects.
  • Outlined a process for engagement, starting with emergency response. The initial goal of completing this by May, 2022 was shifted to include consideration of information collected during implementation of SB 160 with the Department of Emergency Management, as well as ARPA funding to support this effort.
  • The ARPA-funded Community Engagement Analyst was shifted away from the Community Resilience Program implementation to assist with the Community Engagement effort. The Office of Equity, using largely existing American Rescue Plan Act funds, was approved for an additional allocation of a limited-term Department Analyst to support the implementation of this project.

Initial timelines were pushed back by almost a year while the OoE was securing funding through the American Rescue Plan Act, as well as trying to secure staff capacity to conduct this work. Because earlier requests for staff were unfulfilled, initial timelines were not met. The OoE hired a full-time Department Analyst to manage this project in Spring of 2023.

  • In April 2023, a new Department Analyst was hired and started on a part-time (20%) basis and then began full-time in mid-June 2023. OOE was initially going to hire a consultant to analyze partner organization data and conduct client surveys, interviews and/or focus groups. Given the Department Analyst’s skills and expertise, a consultant is no longer needed.
  • Development of Racial Equity Training to support partner strategic planning in its ARPA-funded Culturally Response Disaster Response project.
  • Development of engagement strategy with 100 CURA (Community Urgent Response and Aid) clients to gather information about strengths and weaknesses in county disaster preparedness, response and recovery efforts to occur in CY2024.
  • Development of a Disaster Emergency Financial Assistance Request for Proposals (Disaster EFA RFP) to allow for CBO (community-based organization) contracts to be in place to ensure quick distribution of the remaining approximately $1 million in Emergency Financial Assistance during the next disaster.
  • Development of partnership and communication protocol with internal departments, the COAD, and Access and Functional Needs (AFN) lead in the EOC to coordinate equity and AFN efforts during disaster planning and response.

Key milestone update (include relevant metrics, if applicable)

  • Gathered existing data from the Department of Emergency Management (survey data from recent fires), COAD (Community Organizations Active in Disaster)/CAP (Community Action Partnership) from the January 2023 winter storms, United Way 2-1-1 and data from community based organizations on disaster response, disaster case management and emergency financial assistance.
  • In the Spring and Summer of 2023, analysis of data from the partners in the Culturally Response Disaster Response project (DEM, COAD and CURA) was done to determine disaster preparedness, response and recovery efforts county wide.
  • Nine interviews were done with 11 individuals from community based organizations to understand recent service delivery experiences to clients during disasters and emergencies, to aid in drafting the Disaster EFA RFP.
  • Asset Mapping was completed by COAD tracking member organizations Service Focus Areas, Disaster Services and Facilities and Leadership contacts.
  • Enlist community-based organizations and faith-based organizations to assist in gathering data where gaps exist.

Coordination and partnership update

  • Partnerships have been formed with community-based partners and faith-based organizations to leverage their contact with the public, especially in target communities. Many community-based partners focus their work in diverse geographic areas of the County, facilitating our need to reach all residents.
  • Currently the Office of Equity does not have any staff capacity to support processing Disaster EFA RFPs when/if they are activated. It is likely that the Board item culminating in the release of the RFP will include a request for staff or recommendation that another county department handle implementation of the contracts.

Community, equity and climate update

  • This goal and related objectives are focused on community and equity. The public will be engaged both virtually and in person through staff and community-based organizations.
  • The success and effectiveness of the emergency response project will be measured by subsequent community assessment surveys and by other methods including the Portrait of Sonoma, Clear Impact Scorecard, interviews/focus groups/surveys with CURA clients, etc.
  • An equity lens will be applied in the development and implementation of the goals by centering community throughout the process and by including community-based and faith-based organizations at all steps. Centering the community is essential at crucial steps of the process and the inclusion of community voices in the decision-making process.
  • Vitally important is to geographically identify partners in all areas so that the engagement and information is disseminated in the broadest manner possible.
  • Where possible, we will ensure that climate impacts are considered in meetings and information sharing, including holding virtual meetings, limiting printing of collateral, and offering other ways of providing useful information.

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

$300,000 received in Year 1 Strategic Plan funding to support all Goal 4 objectives, which includes funds to support translation and stipend costs in the development of the Community Engagement and Language Access Plans.

On September 20, 2022, the Board approved a contract with Equity First Consulting for a not‐to exceed amount of $450,000 for an 18‐month term ending in March 2024 to support the creation of a Community Engagement Plan.