The City of Lawrence Equity and Inclusion Department is committed to advancing Equity and Inclusion. As Commitments are explained in the City’s Strategic Plan, “the way we do our work is as important as what we do. The City will ensure we’re following through on our five community outcomes with the below commitments to how our team will do our work. The community we create is reflected in the decisions that our employees will make every day”.
Equity and Inclusion:
Fair and impartial delivery of services so that no group is disadvantaged or burdened along with having inclusive representation and participation for all.
Inclusion and racial equity drive the culture of our organization and our community. When we intentionally prioritize race, it can no longer be used to predict life outcomes and outcomes are improved for all. We remove systemic barriers to reconcile historic injustices and their continued presence in our work.
The Equity and Inclusion Department is responsible for the development and implementation of the City of Lawrence’s equity and inclusion efforts and initiatives. The Department provides leadership, coaching, and expertise to the City’s executive leadership team and staff on issues related to policies, best practices and applicable laws related to equity and inclusion to improve the quality of life for all members of the Lawrence community. The Equity and Inclusion Department strives to fulfil the City’s vision of supporting an unmistakably vibrant community with innovative, equitable, transparent and responsible local government. This requires addressing issues of discrimination, racism, and bias at the individual, institutional/ systemic, and structural level (see illustration below).
The Department of Equity and Inclusion works across all City departments and divisions to help advance equity and inclusion as outlined in the City’s strategic plan. We provide support to all departments by integrating current thought, literature, and research about Equity and Inclusion into decision making and organizational development. Our work is in alignment with the City’s strategic plan and helps to provide guidance to effectively reach equity and inclusion goals. The goal is to ensure consistency, follow through, and accountability in all aspects of City services surrounding the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
(Source: University of Bath, 2022)
The illustration above helps to provide a better understanding of four key concepts germane to our department.
- Inequality – Unequal access to opportunities
- Equality – Evenly distributed tools and assistance
- Equity – Custom tools that identify and address inequality – deficit model – adjustment for individuals
- Justice – Fixing the systems to offer equal access to both tools and opportunities
Looking through an equity lens to understand who has access to tools, resources, and opportunities is how our team approaches our work.