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Achieving Racial Equity to Improve Outcomes for All

Friday, June 9, 2017  
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Achieving Racial Equity to Improve Outcomes for All

Submitted by: Joanne F. Pierce, MA, MPH, Durham County (NC)

For the last eighteen months, Durham County Department of Public Health has begun a courageous journey to include a wide range of partners representing multiple sectors to discuss racial equity in Durham County. Almost 500 individuals representing community, public health, social services, faith and community-based organizations, university, law enforcement, education, transportation, housing, recreation, finance, state government, business, criminal and juvenile justice participated in Durham County Department of Public Health-sponsored racial equity training sessions. Through training, we received an introductory analysis of racism and its cultural and historical roots to begin the work of intentionally creating racially equitable organizations and systems. 

From our collective learning, we now know that racial inequities are not random and have been created and sustained over time.  Deeply racialized systems are costly and affect outcomes and life opportunities for all groups particularly in communities where there is concentrated poverty and communities of color.  When racial equity is not explicitly brought into decision-making, racial inequities are likely to be perpetuated. 

Our overarching goal is to increase success for everyone and continue dialogue to close the gap in Durham with an understanding that strategies must be directed based on the needs and voices of our community.  We are on this journey to consciously integrate racial equity in decisions, including policies, practices, programs, and budgets. 

We are building relationships and working alongside community to ensure we create a different narrative to achieve different results.