Or what should it tell us? The council is working on a resolution to declare their intent to . . . do something that sounds good, but what is it?
The link has various materials related to this item. The council referred it back to several committees and most who have looked at it have questions. What do you think of what this does?
Title: Declaring the City of Madison’s intention to adopt an Equity Impact Model.
WHEREAS, a healthy Madison starts in our homes, schools and neighborhoods; and,
WHEREAS, equity exists when everyone has access to opportunities necessary to satisfy essential needs, advance their well-being, participate in and contribute to civic life and achieve their full potential; and,
WHEREAS, equity is both the means to healthy and thriving communities and an end that benefits us all; and,
WHEREAS, evidence shows that more equitable societies have better long-term economic, health, and social outcomes; and,
WHEREAS, Madison and Dane County’s increasing demographic diversity presents new opportunities for growth as well as challenges in fostering connections to resources; and,
WHEREAS, the City of Madison recognizes that good health requires individuals to make responsible personal choices, it also recognizes that the journey to a healthier community requires a societal commitment to remove the obstacles preventing residents from making healthy decisions; and,
WHEREAS, promoting equal opportunity for all residents is a core social, moral and economic responsibility and a priority for the City of Madison; and,
WHEREAS, city leaders, departments and staff are committed to providing excellent services for every Madison resident; and,
WHEREAS, the Common Council’s Legislative Agenda Work Group on Demographic Change is endeavoring to determine if the City of Madison is meeting the needs of communities of color, immigrants, and low-income families and individuals; and,
WHEREAS, the equity impact model described below will be taken on in pursuit of a vision of Madison where:
· A high-quality education, living wage jobs, safe neighborhoods, a healthy natural environment, efficient public transit, parks and green spaces, affordable and safe housing and healthy food are afforded to all residents;
· The benefits of growth and change are equitably shared across our communities; and
· Madison is a place where one’s future is not limited by race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, income, place of birth or place of residence.
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Common Council requests Public Health Madison & Dane County, together with the following agencies and committees: Planning & Community & Economic Development; Civil Rights; Human Resources; Community Services Committee; Board of Health; Common Council Organizational Committee (Council Legislative Agenda Work Group on Demographic Change); and others shall work with the executive branch towards developing and implementing an equity impact model to inform policies and practices that consider equity impacts in city government plans and decisions.
The process to develop the equity impact model will be supported by the following activities:
1. Better understand and report on inequities in Madison
- collect and summarize key indicators in multiple sectors
- share information with the Common Council, Mayor’s Office, city agencies and the public
- work with the existing efforts to coordinate City data and to focus those efforts on equity indicators
2. Establish an interdepartmental city equity workgroup;
- research equity initiatives and policies from other cities and regions
- explore the use of equity impact assessment tools for use in policy and project decisions
- report on progress to Common Council and the Mayor’s Office by April 2014
3. Train city staff at all levels in equity and social justice concepts, frameworks and skills
- gather information from all city departments to best accommodate learning and skill needs
- identify and develop training content and formats, collaborating with community partners and other cities and regions
- require representatives from all city departments to participate in trainings
4. Make recommendations for the parameters of a City of Madison equity impact model
- summarize equity initiatives and policies from other cities and regions
- recommend a City of Madison equity impact model based on best practices and considering the unique characteristics of Madison
5. Ensure accountability and implementation of the equity initiative;
- improve city service delivery to underserved populations
- explore and further develop strategic partnerships with other agencies and groups
- prioritize public participation and community engagement in decision making and processes
- prioritize increasing diversity of city government bodies and department staff
These words all sound good, but I’m a bit confused. In the end, what will we have?
Will there be equity impact statements for all legislation and policies the council passes? If so, who will do it? I can imagine it being completely different if done by the Economic Development staff or the Civil Rights Department staff.
Will it include all of the protected classes in the City of Madison, or just the ones listed in the resolution?
Some of the questions are answered here.
One of the ironies of this is that it calls for increased participation in government processes, but the process isn’t being done by a public committee process, but by an internal staff process where there is less transparency and by the time the public sees the end product, the staff have decided what they will and won’t do and changing that is near impossible. And the public input won’t matter.
While I am enjoying hearing about social justice and I rather enjoy the economic imperative argument, I have to admit I’m a little suspicious.
Bottom line, what is this? If we want it to be effective, how do you even begin to change the wishy-washy language above to get what we want? Wait, what do we want? How do we get it out of this? I want to like this, I”m just not sure what I like and I’d hate to see it make us all feel like we did something and end with nothing.
Honestly struggling with this one, looking for concrete ideas about what we would like to see as results.
Categories: | Madison | Media