Today we are celebrating an unprecedented accomplishment in Oakland. After a unanimous vote of approval by your City Council, last night the funding was approved for a Department of Race and Equity in Oakland. It is official, Oakland now has a designated office and mandated effort tasked with making equity in Oakland a reality for all our residents!
Never before in Oakland, and mostly non-existent in any other city across this country, has there been a city government effort to address inequity overtly, on an institutional level. Oakland has always trailblazed at the forefront of addressing social issues, and this achievement is another pillar in that legacy.
In the wake of national and local unrest and mourning at the beginning of 2015 from the repeated killing of unarmed American citizens, I found myself in a space of deep reflection. I stood on picket lines and walked with peaceful protestors who were demanding justice and safe communities for themselves and their families. Upon my re-election to represent District 6 and Oakland residents as a whole- I wanted to be sure to use the power entrusted in me by voters and our community at large to do what I could from my seat as a council member.
It was in that space of reflection that I decided that a department within Oakland's city government was the answer to resolve the vast inequities so many of our residents are struggling with.
I reached out to community members to get their thoughts on the idea of a department of race and equity, and with their enthusiasm and commitment our campaign to make the department a reality was born.
This was not an easy victory. It took hours of meeting, organizing, phone calling, debate, rallying, innovation, political collaboration, and community outreach.
But we have won! Oakland has won!