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Equity Office

The City of Austin’s Equity Office provides leadership, guidance, and insight on equity to improve the quality of life for Austinites and achieve the vision of making Austin the most livable city in the nation for all.

The Office strives to build and sustain a culture of equity across the city by tackling tough issues within City government such as institutional racism and implicit bias.

Creating a culture of equity will ensure we are  engaged with all residents, meeting their needs effectively, and minimizing unintended consequences.

Equity Framework

The Equity Office has built its approach through partnerships with the Government Alliance on Race and Equity and Racial Equity Here. We believe racial equity requires a cycle of Normalizing, Organizing, and Operationalizing.

Normalizing

Institutional racism is like water to a fish: a fundamental reality of their existence, but invisible until it's been pointed out. Normalizing works to point this out to City staff, establishing a set of shared definitions and normalizing the use of them. Working with race is uncomfortable, so providing support and repeatedly exposing City Staff to the language of racial equity is one of the most important steps for the Equity Office.

Organizing

No individual department or organization can create a racially equitable City on its own.  Dismantling something so universal requires building relationships across the spectrum. The City of Austin has an rich, diverse advocacy and community organizing culture. By Organizing with these groups, the Office stays grounded in the lived experience of Austin's institutional racism, and reflects the voice of those most direclty impacted by the inequity of the City of Austin's programs and services. Join the Office in working for racial equity here.

Operationalizing

This step brings the other steps together, and feeds back into them. In Operationalizing, the Office works to advance racial equity. With City departments, this means understanding where their work drives or addresses inequity. For special projects, such as the Bond Election Advisory Task Force, this means analyzing the proposals before approval to advise on what has the potential to advance or hold back racial equity. Read more about the Equity Office's Programs here.