Councilmember Kenyan R. McDuffie Successfully Adds Language on Racial Equity to the Comprehensive Plan Framework
Councilmember McDuffie continues his work to advance racial equity as a policymaking principle in the District by ensuring the Comprehensive Plan Framework will be guided by the principles of racial equity
Washington, D.C. — Following the July 2, 2019 release of the ‘staff draft’ of the Comprehensive Plan Framework, Councilmember Kenyan R. McDuffie, drafted additional language to clearly state that racial equity is a critical part of the District’s Comprehensive Plan. The ‘committee print’ of the legislation, released by Council Chairman Phil Mendelson on Monday, July 8, and to be voted on by the Council today adopts this language defining and expressing racial equity as a guiding principle.
As the Council prepared to take the first vote on the Comprehensive Plan Framework, Councilmember McDuffie said:
“As I have stated consistently since this process began, more than a year ago, we must take this opportunity to be bold and codify our shared values into this document. The District must be committed to normalizing conversations about race and operationalizing strategies for advancing racial equity. Through the Comprehensive Plan, we have a unique opportunity to create a document that reflects the District’s commitment to eliminating racial inequities and explicitly expressing and reinforcing these values throughout the plan.”
Sections included at Councilmember McDuffie’s suggestion:
[213.6] The District seeks to create and support an equitable and inclusive city. Equitable growth must be managed in ways that support all District residents, including vulnerable communities and District protected classes. We must recognize that managing growth and change includes addressing the historic, structural, and systemic racial inequities and disenfranchisement of many District residents. And, we must recognize the importance of longtime businesses, as well as educational and cultural institutions, in defining our DC values. An equitable and inclusive city includes access to housing that is healthy, safe, and affordable for a range of household types, sizes, and incomes in all neighborhoods. A citywide problem requires citywide solutions – ones that overcome historical patterns of segregation, avoid concentrating poverty, and afford the opportunity to stay in one’s home and not be displaced.
[213.7] The District must also commit to normalizing conversations about race and operationalizing strategies for advancing racial equity. Racial equity is defined as the moment when “race can no longer be used to predict life outcomes and outcomes for all groups are improved.
[213.8] Like resilience, racial equity is both an outcome and a process. As an outcome, the District achieves racial equity when race no longer determines one’s socioeconomic outcomes; when everyone has what they need to thrive, no matter where they live or their socioeconomic status; and when racial divides no longer exists between people of color and their white counterparts. As a process, we apply a racial equity lens when those most impacted by structural racism are meaningfully involved in the creation and implementation of the institutional policies and practices that impact the lives, particularly, people of color. Applying this lens also reflects the targeted support to communities of color through policies and programs that are aimed at centering their needs and eliminating racial divides, all while taking into account historical trauma and racism.
[213.9] The District’s policies and investments should reflect a commitment to eliminating racial inequities. Addressing issues of equity in transportation, housing, employment, income, asset building, geographical change, and socioeconomic outcomes through a racial equity lens will allow the District to address systemic and underlying drivers of racial inequities.