Michigan Department of Civil Rights Develops and Distributes Racial Equity Toolkit

Contact: Vicki Levengood - levengoodv@michigan.gov
Agency: Civil Rights

The step-by-step manual is designed to guide communities, government agencies and organizations in building racial equity into their policy development and decision-making processes

August 2, 2018

Lansing, MI-The Michigan Department of Civil Rights today released a new Racial Equity Toolkit and made it available free of charge online. The toolkit is designed to assist communities, government agencies and other organizations looking to incorporate racial equity into their decision-making and policy development in order to build stronger, more prosperous communities for all.

MDCR defines racial equity as the systemic fair treatment of all races that produces equitable opportunities and outcomes for all people. The toolkit provides direction to help communities achieve social justice while also supporting economic development and growth for all its residents.

“Building Michigan communities on a foundation of fairness and equity for all residents will require focus and intention,” said MDCR Director Agustin V. Arbulu.  “Communities and government agencies all over the country are recognizing that unless we consciously tackle racial inequities in areas such as health, employment, education, housing and the criminal justice system, we all suffer. This toolkit not only explains why a racial equity approach is important, it provides an easy-to-follow set of steps that can produce gains for everyone and not just one segment of a community.”

Since 2016, MDCR has been working to better understand the underlying causes leading to racial disparities in society, and how local communities and jurisdictions can incorporate racial equity into their planning and decision-making processes. In 2017, the Michigan Civil Rights Commission released their Flint Water Crisis Report: Systemic Racism Through the Lens of Flint, with key recommendations for rebuilding trust and credibility in Flint by focusing not just on the intention behind a particular policy or decision but on an analysis of its likely impact on all members of the community. As a result, the Department began a close examination of its own work, viewing all initiatives, internal practices and collaborative efforts through a racial equity lens. MDCR is also the first agency of Michigan government to retain an Equity Officer to review and actively engage in all internal and external efforts from a racial equity perspective.

To access the Racial Equity Toolkit online or to download a printable version, go to michigan.gov/mdcr and click on the button that says “Racial Equity: Tools, Strategies and Solutions”.

The Michigan Department of Civil Rights, the operational arm of the Michigan Civil Rights Commission, is charged with investigating and resolving discrimination complaints and works to prevent discrimination through educational programs that promote voluntary compliance with civil rights laws. The Department also provides information and services to businesses on diversity initiatives and equal employment law. For more information on the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, go to www.michigan.gov/mdcr.

 

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