Silicon Valley is one of the wealthiest communities in the world for many who are prospering, thriving and designing new realities in a world of global technology.
However, a closer look at the distribution of our region’s assets and benefits easily reveals deeply entrenched racial, social, economic, environmental and gender inequities and injustices. As these inequities widen, they threaten all our prosperity. Research shows that the color of your skin, where you live, and your wage are major predictors of your health, life and work experience, and your chances of realizing your full potential.
These inequities are driven by an array of factors including unequal access to the determinants of Equity, our tax system, subtle but pervasive individual bias, and institutional and structural racism and sexism. These factors, while still invisible to some, have profound and tangible impacts on the daily lives of children, families, individuals and communities.
As lawmakers, as leaders and as residents of Silicon Valley, we not only recognize these decades of inequities but we commit to action on Equity in our respective government bodies.
We commit to asking these questions as policies and budgets are considered in order to force Equity to be the lens through which we govern:
- Who does the policy or budget decision impact/target?
- Have impacted/targeted communities been provided an opportunity to have a real voice in this process?
- Are we measuring the impact by race/ethnicity/gender/documentation status?
- What forces are driving this policy?
- Are there individuals and/or communities that will be disproportionately (and negatively) impacted by this policy?
- Does this policy perpetuate or does it instead help to dismantle historical, legal, or other barriers set in the past?
- If disparities are identified and named, how will they be mitigated or eliminated?
- We further commit to: Share power and resources with the communities we serve.
- Transform the systems that have oppressed people of color, poor people and women for generations.
- Ensure Equity, inclusivity and social justice.
- Dismantle systems of oppression.
- Develop capital development policy, budgets, portfolios and programs which are developed with the community and in accordance with community Equity priorities, informed by a perspective on historic and existing inequities, to include a description of their contribution to improving Equity in community conditions.
- Develop an Equity policy agenda aimed at ensuring determinants of Equity throughout our communities, with a clear and defined focus on communities where our needs are greatest. These determinants include child and youth development, economic development and jobs, environment and climate, health and human services, housing, information and technology, the justice system, and transportation and mobility.
- Ensure that government operations, programs, and services are equitable in design and service delivery—responsive and adaptive, focused on those whose needs are greatest—and collaborative with other local and regional service providers.
- Develop an organization in which all employees are change agents, and promote Equity within our organization through training, equitable and systematic workforce development at all levels, and expansion of equitable access to resources and decision making. A workforce will be created and maintained that is racially diverse and culturally responsive in order to provide equitable, high quality services to all our communities.
- Advocate for infrastructure system master plans, including lines of business and other strategic planning processes, which include clear objectives and measures of progress to advance Equity and social justice that are informed by and sensitive to priority populations and key affected parties. These plans will also include analyses of Equity impacts from their operations, services, and programs.
- Ensure that Equity goals and responsibilities within the organization are clearly incorporated into work plans and budgets at the departmental, division, and section levels.
- Recognize and address that our Digital Divide manifested by a lack of technology access remains a central barrier to achieving Equity in our communities, we will invest in the infrastructure, resources, and partnerships necessary to bridge this chasm.
- Strengthen our communication strategies and community outreach to ensure that our under-served residents have the opportunity to be engaged and informed about events, programs and services, regardless of technological access, language, or immigration status.
Only through significant and sustained commitment to investing in the resources and structural changes necessary to meaningfully advance Equity can we hope to uplift our communities with the greatest need to ensure justice and prosperity for all of our residents.