Califa supports this message from the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE)
Local and Regional Government Alliance on Race and Equity

GARE is facilitating the California State Library funded California Libraries Cultivating Race, Equity and Inclusion program which supports 19 cohorts from public libraries across the state in deepening their engagement in race and equity strategies to better serve California residents.

The Social Contract is Broken

A message from GARE Director, Gordon Goodwin

Dear GARE members,

The murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis ignited pent-up rage and grief in communities across the country, many of which are reeling from the health and economic effects of Covid-19. The pandemic has brought decades of racial inequity in healthcare, housing, education and employment into plain sight, as Black, Indigenous, and other people of color bore the brunt of the crisis in rates and severity of infection, hospitalizations, and deaths. These combined crises plainly demonstrate the existence of institutional and structural racism and government’s role in maintaining systems that harm communities of color. Government’s legitimacy can only be secured if it ensures the safety and well-being of all of us.

As government leaders committed to racial equity, you have the power to change the narrative from governments that harm, to governments that can repair. As city, county, and state employees, you have the capacity to make decisions that will impact how communities of color will be affected in the wake of this crisis. Decisions on issues like policing, transportation, the status of frontline workers, and many other important aspects of our lives, requires careful, informed racial equity analysis to prevent further harm to people of color in the communities we are called to serve. In order to support all your residents – not just those with the most money or historical political clout – it is imperative to center race in our work and decision-making. Our data shows all of us that communities of color are most adversely and disproportionately affected by Covid-19, police brutality, housing affordability, health care access and other aspects of inequity.

Local governments are being forced to lead in a wholly unprecedented set of circumstances. We at the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE) will work alongside you as you reassess your priorities and implement creative strategies to resolve the challenges that lay ahead.

The economic and social repercussions of Covid-19 are just beginning to unfold, and we expect your reliance upon colleagues in other local governments to increase as you seek promising practices that can be applied to your own community’s challenges. While you confront budgetary considerations such as downsizing staff, cutting public services, and putting off important programmatic initiatives, we will be present with you to share how our movement of people working in government to advance racial equity is developing innovative approaches to eliminate the racial inequity within our government practices, civic spaces and economy.

Yours in solidarity,
Gordon Goodwin

GARE Director

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