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New “One Community” Equity Initiative Launches This Month!

“One Community” aimed at creating just & equitable community for all Washtenaw County residents.

Washtenaw County, in partnership with The City of Ann Arbor, has launched a new equity initiative: “One Community: Advancing Racial Equity in Ann Arbor & Washtenaw County.” 

This new initiative launches on Monday, January 29, 2018 and is intended to provide government leadership and employees with the tools we need to create a just and equitable community for all Washtenaw County residents. Watch this video to hear more from our City & County leadership about this effort. 

As we all know, Washtenaw County – and in particular the City of Ann Arbor - is one of the most economically vibrant, educated and healthy places in Michigan, but not all residents share in the prosperity. When we look at indicators of opportunity such as wealth, educational attainment, and job growth, we see that they are not equitably distributed:

  • Washtenaw County is the 8th most economically segregated metropolitan region in the country.
  • There is a 10-year gap in life expectancy between African American and white residents in Washtenaw County, and a 16-year gap between Latino and white residents.
  • 60% of African-Americans in Washtenaw County live in low-opportunity areas with limited job growth.
  • Washtenaw County ranks 80 out of 83 counties in Michigan for income inequality. 
  • A 35-point gap on 3rd grade reading tests exists between African- American and white students in Washtenaw County.

We know these disparities exist, and it’s time government prioritizes doing something about it. To that end, “One Community” was created as a joint initiative between the City of Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County, and the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE), which is a national network of governments working to achieve racial equity and advance opportunities for all. 

The initial phase of “One Community” will focus on educating government leaders and staff to become aware of where inequity exists in our community and the role government may play in creating or maintaining that inequity. After the educational phase, we will create a plan to incorporate equity in community services, programs, hiring practices, service delivery models, interactions with the public and community partners, and so much more. 

GARE will be supporting the City and the County through this learning and plan development process through a combination of onsite trainings and work sessions over the next five months. The first onsite visit will occur this Monday, January 29, 2018 and will involve over 80 City and County leaders and staff. 

To learn more about the “One Community” initiative, visit: www.OneCmty.org

This is an exciting time and opportunity for us and the residents we serve. 

If you have any questions about the initiative, please don’t hesitate to share them with us. And look for regular updates on our work and progress throughout 2018.

Gregory Dill & Howard Lazarus

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