“Only by building systems that are intentional in their design to account for implicit bias and systemic inequities, will every District resident truly have the same opportunities to prosper in our society.”
– Kenyan R. McDuffie
The REACH Act, The Racial Equity Achieves Results Act of 2020:
Establishes the Office of Racial Equity, led by the District’s new Chief Equity Officer:
- The office will be responsible establishing a structure to develop, provide oversight of, and advance the District’s goals towards achieving racial equity.
- With the Office of Human Rights, the new office will produce racial equity training materials for District employees.
- The office will coordinate with agencies in development of Racial Equity Action Plans.
Creates a new Racial Equity Impact Assessment for Council legislation
- A new office within the Council will produce a Racial Equity Impact Assessment, similar to the current Financial Impact Statement, but solely for viewing the proposed legislation through the lens of racial equity.
- The office will also produce racial equity training materials and provide ongoing racial equity training for Council staff.
Trains all DC government employees on racial equity
- The REACH Act requires racial equity training for all employees of the District of Columbia Government and for members of District boards and commissions.
- Trainings must include equipping personnel to better identify and address issues of racial equity.
Creates a Racial Equity Tool to ensure the District government is accountable
- By March 2021, District government must design and implement a racial equity tool to help District agencies incorporate racial equity into their operations, performance-based budgets, programs, policies, rules, and regulations.
- At a minimum, the Racial Equity Tool must identify clear strategic initiatives, objectives, and measurable outcomes and develop metrics to measure progress in redressing disparate social and economic outcomes in the District based on race, sex, and ethnicity.
- Further, the Racial Equity Tool must examine potential unintended consequences of a policy or programmatic decision and develop a strategy to advance racial equity and mitigate unintended negative consequences.
Establishes a Commission to advance racial equity into the future
- At the request of the racial justice advocates who support the bill, the REACH Act establishes Commission on Racial Equity, Social Justice, and Economic Inclusion to continue to oversee the District’s efforts.
- The nine-member commission will be appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the Council for 3-year terms.
- Members shall be District residents and appointed with due consideration from established public, nonprofit, and volunteer community organizations; community leaders; and individuals who have shown dedication and knowledge of advancing racial equity or social justice.
On Thursday, June 25, 2020 the Council Committee on Business and Economic Development passed a budget report that included the REACH Act (as described above). It is expected to undergo the first of two required votes by the full Council on July 7, 2020.
Councilmember McDuffie has been working to advance racial equity as a policy in the District of Columbia in a meaningful way for years, his work includes:
- Introduced and championed the REACH Act, the Racial Equity Achieves Results Act [B23-0038].
- In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, he implored his colleagues to plan DC’s response and recovery through the lens of racial equity.
- McDuffie strengthened and expanded racial equity language in the Comprehensive Plan Framework Element, the legal document that guides development in DC.
- Hosted a Symposium on Race and Policy on Thursday, January 17, 2019.
- Successfully led the effort for the Council of the District of Columbia to become a member of the Government Alliance on Racial Equity (GARE), a national network of leaders working to achieve racial equity within and through government.
- Convened a Racial Equity Working Group, consisting of a diverse body of industry and community leaders committed to normalizing conversations about race, operationalizing new policies, eliminating occurrences of racial discrimination, and implementing a city-wide strategy to achieve racial equity in the District of Columbia.
- Facilitated racial equity training for all members and staff of the Council of the District of Columbia.
- Spearheaded introduction of the “Sense of the Council on Establishing Race, Equity, and Social Justice Resolution of 2017.”
- DC Grassroots Planning Coalition UPO
- The Black Swan Academy
- Black Lives Matter DC
- Keep DC For Me
- No Justice No Pride
- Southeast Ministry
- SOME Inc. (So Others Might Eat)
- Bread for the City
- DC Working Families
- Empower DC
- Jews United for Justice
- La Clinica del Pueblo
- SPACEs In Action
- Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless
- Restaurant Opportunities Center of DC (ROC DC)
- DC for Democracy
- Showing Up for Racial Justice – DC
- Collective Action for Safe Spaces (CASS)
- Legal Counsel for the Elderly
- Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia
- Enterprise Community Partners, Mid-Atlantic
- 350 DC
- Movement Matters
- DC Fiscal Policy Institute
- DC Alliance of Youth Advocates
- People for Fairness Coalition
- Coalition for Nonprofit Housing & Economic Development (CNHED)
- Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs
- ACLU of the District of Columbia
- Mary’s Center
- Washington Bar Association Young Lawyers Division
- Prologue DC
- Fair Budget Coalition
- Teaching for Change
- Children’s Law Center
- New Endeavors by Women
- Miriam’s Kitchen
- Unity Health Care
- The National Reentry Network for Returning Citizens
- DC Primary Care Association
- American Friends Service Committee – DC Peace and Economic Justice
- Anacostia Coordinating Council
- Faith Tabernacle Church
- Local Initiatives Support Corporation
- Elaine Ellis Center of Health
- Whitman Walker Health
- Academy of Hope