The Council Office of Racial Equity’s (CORE)

Established in January 2021 by the DC Council, The Council Office of Racial Equity’s (CORE) mission is to eliminate racial disparities and achieve racial equity in the District of Columbia. When successful, race will no longer predict opportunities, outcomes, or the distribution of resources for residents of the District, particularly for Black, Indigenous, and other residents of color. Through these efforts, all communities will live, work, and thrive in the District of Columbia.

What is a Racial Equity Impact Assessment or REIA?  

A Racial Equity Impact Assessment (REIA) is a careful and organized examination of how a proposed bill will affect different racial and ethnic groups in the District of Columbia.  A REIA will analyze a bill’s impacts by: 

  • highlighting data on current racial inequities, 
  • bringing attention to relevant history and racial trauma, 
  • touching on related research, 
  • exploring a bill’s potential consequences, 
  • amplifying the voices of residents of color, 
  • examining who was “at the table” during the bill’s development, and  •       sharing potential pros and cons of how the bill will operate in practice.

 To achieve racial equity, the District must:

  • take a resident first approach. We must equitably redistribute decision making power to Black, Indigenous, and other residents of color.
  • meaningfully include or follow the lead of Black, Indigenous, and other residents of color during the policymaking process.
  • “relieve symptoms” of racial inequityin the short term.
  • change structures that reinforce and perpetuate racial inequity in the longer term.

See The Racial Wealth Gap in Washington, DC for greater detail as well as considerations for goal setting, measuring progress, and solution design with communities most impacted by wealth inequities.  

Office of Racial Equity

Established by Mayor Bowser in 2021, the Office of Racial Equity, focuses on developing an infrastructure to ensure policy decisions and District programs are evaluated through a racial equity lens. The Office carries forward the implementation of the Racial Equity Achieves Results

“REACH Act” (D.C. Act 23-521) and is responsible for collaborating with District agencies, residents, and external stakeholders to make meaningful progress toward a more racially equitable city.

The Office of Racial Equity (ORE) works in collaboration with District leadership and agencies to apply a racial equity lens across government operations. The office also works to:

  • Provide leadership, guidance, and technical assistance to District agencies on racial equity to improve the quality of life for Washingtonians.
  • Promote strategic alignment and coordinate the District’s efforts toward achieving racial equity.
  • Strengthen external partnerships with local racial and social justice organizations through meaningful community engagement.

Guiding Principles

  • Commit to learning and shifting our individual and collective understanding of the impact of racism and what anti-racism and racial equity are and mean.
  • Acknowledge historical and structural factors that drive racial inequities.
  • Center the voices of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.
  • Target solutions to those most harmed by individual, institutional, and structural racism.
  • Analyze racial inequities through an intersectional lens.
  • Commit to long-term, sustained investment to achieve racial equity.

How We Advance Racial Equity

The Office of Racial Equity… shares the same theory of change and vision as the Council Office of Racial Equity.

ORE normalizes racial equity by:

  • Being intentional about understanding and meeting the needs of people marginalized by systemic and institutionalized racism;
  • Hiring staff that is reflective of the racial diversity of the city;
  • Facilitating and leading racial equity training; and
  • Creating internal support within and across the Executive.

ORE operationalizes racial equity by:

  • Developing racial equity tools;
  • Collaborating with agencies in the development of racial equity action plans;
  • Ensuring racial equity in all government operations and practices; and
  • Ensuring policies, procedures, and actions do not exacerbate racial inequities and are intentional to repair historic harms.

ORE invests in building a racial equity infrastructure by:

  • Helping build management capacity and organizational infrastructure to enable diverse stakeholders to work toward a shared vision of racial equity;
  • Community building through centering community, leveraging stakeholder collaborations, and leveraging local institutional partnerships;
  • Influencing and creating a well-informed and civically engaged community;
  • Including Black, Brown, and other marginalized communities in the decision-making processes; and
  • Racial equity training

ORE collaborates with the DC Department of Human Resources and the Office of Human Rights on racial equity training for government staff.

Interagency Committee on Racial Equity

 The purpose of the Interagency Committee on Racial Equity (ICRE) is to provide ongoing support, guidance, and feedback on the work products of the ORE. For the District to have greater accountability to the community and work to decrease racial disparities, the ICRE will provide input and advice for the successful development and implementation of racial equity plans, tools, and resources. This will include communicating the goals of ORE and assisting the office with the development of guidance material that support DC government agencies with the implementation of racial equity operational and budgetary activities. See our list of partners.

Racial Equity Pilot Cohort

The ORE is working with 12 District agencies to pilot racial equity tools, complete a departmental assessment of racial equity, and develop a racial equity action plan. See the list of partners.

Racial Equity Indicator Project

The ORE is excited to partner with the MITRE Corporation on the creation of an actionable, outcome-oriented measurement and data strategy to enable the acquisition of DC’s first racial equity dashboard.

Racial Equity Data Standards Pilot

Collecting and analyzing high-quality demographic data on program and policy outcomes for District residents is essential for measuring both the current state of racial equity and our progress toward achieving our racial equity goals. However, agencies’ ability to collect, store, and analyze race and ethnicity data differs widely based on their unique missions, reporting requirements, and legal contexts. Over the course of this yearlong pilot, ORE is collaborating with four District agencies to develop guidance on race and ethnicity data collection and analysis. The Lab @ DC and the Office of the Chief Technology Officer’s Data Team will serve as thought partners.

We believe in the power of shared vision and sustained commitment to create dynamic communities for all people, regardless of income.

NW Opportunity Partners Community Development Corporation