Ethnic Caucus Leadership Applaud Governor’s Executive Order on Equity and Highlights the Racial Equity Commission

Steven Bradford, President of the Senate Black Caucus

The Executive Order’s overarching goals and actions of the newly created Racial Equity Commission institutionalizes a clear path to address the impacts of structural and systemic racism in government.

Special to the Vanguard

Sacramento, CA – Governor Gavin Newsom on Tuesday announced he was signing an Executive Order on Equity, articulating the state’s commitment to address racial disparities within government departments, policies, programs, and establishing significant steps to make equity a reality in California.

“The disproportionate incidence and mortality rates of the pandemic on communities of color provides a stark reminder of the devastatingly severe impacts of systemic racism across our state,” the Ethnic Caucus noted in a release on Tuesday.

Governor Newsom’s Executive Order recognizes the state’s previous efforts to address past inequities but, most importantly, it outlines the meaningful and sustained steps needed to create a more equitable future for all Californians and requires state government to lead the way.

The Racial Equity Commission, which is tasked with crafting a racial equity framework, will serve as the state’s north star and do the work to identify the issues and make the recommendations that will move California closer towards a more prosperous and equitable future.

“Dismantling systemic racism to achieve equity is difficult work, and I applaud Governor’s Newsom’s leadership in beginning to confront these challenging issues in state government in his Executive Order,” said Senator Richard Pan, California Asian American & Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus Chair.

Senator Steven Bradford, who chairs the Legislative Black Caucus, said, “I commend the Administration’s action to meaningfully address equity across state government and agencies and look forward to engaging with the Commission’s work.”

He noted, “Systemic racism is the bedrock of who we are as a state and a nation. California’s state government has gradually taken steps to atone for past racist policies with the establishment of the first in the nation reparations task force and the recent action of appointing a Chief Equity Officer within the Government Operations Agency to focus on diversifying the state workforce.”

Bradford concluded, “There has yet to be a holistic effort to define “racial equity” or a framework for the state to address the racism embedded in state policies and programs. The Racial Equity Commission is the first step to achieve that effort. ”

Senator Elena Durazo, who chairs the Latino Caucus, added, “I applaud the Administration’s continued leadership to make investments to address racial inequity. Due to California’s changing demographics, it is apparent that the issues of inequity affecting Latinos in California are issues that affect all Californians. Our state’s progress towards achieving racial equity requires collaboration, accountability, and transparency. The work of this Commission will support that progress and help direct resources and investments to the root causes of systemic racial inequity embedded within our institutions.”

Senator Pan added, “I also want to thank advocates who sponsored SB17, a bill I am proud to have authored, to hold state government accountable for equity. I appreciate the partnership from the Administration to incorporate elements of SB17 in the Executive Order, particularly the establishment of the Racial Equity Commission to craft a racial equity framework.

“As Chair of the Asian American Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus, I have witnessed how often inequity is justified by racist tropes such as the Model Minority Myth and the devastating impact of inequity on American health and lives. Governor Newsom’s Executive Order is an important step toward a more fair and just state government for all Californians.”

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