Lawrenceville, Sept 7, 2021 – According to the Racial Equity Alliance, when it comes to local government, people of color face disparities in housing, employment, education, justice and health.
The Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday took the first steps to eliminate racial inequalities and improve outcomes of all racial groups, awarding a $618,450 contract to develop an Equity Action Plan for Gwinnett County. HR&A Advisors was selected out of nine firms that submitted proposals in a competitive selection process.
“The Equity Action Plan will help us take a deep dive into the challenges we face and find solutions that improve the lives of our residents,” said Chairwoman Nicole Hendrickson.
“Diversity is already our reality. With the Gwinnett Standard of excellence in mind, we must commit to reducing systemic barriers and making all of Gwinnett’s communities places of opportunity.”
HR&A will analyze the County’s current structure and processes then provide recommendations for policies, an organizational structure and training for County leadership and employees to foster equity and inclusion.
The plan will serve as a living, breathing document to provide steps that will create a more welcoming Gwinnett.
“As the most diverse county in the state, we have the unique opportunity to develop a comprehensive equity action plan that serves as a model for others,” said Vice-Chair and District 4 Commissioner Marlene Fosque. “I look forward to using the recommendations from this plan to prioritize equity as we provide services to our residents and do business as a County government.”
Gwinnett is leading its peers with this thorough and thought-provoking initiative. This plan will establish a blueprint for other local governments.
“This Equity Action Plan is two-fold. Forward-facing, it is a comprehensive effort to reflect on what we are doing well as a County and what we should do better,” said District 1 Commissioner Kirkland Carden. “Behind-the-scenes, the plan sets the tone for how equity, inclusion and belonging are the basis for this board and other boards to come.”
“We’ve recently added equity and inclusivity officially to our list of values,” said District 2 Commissioner Ben Ku. “This transformative assessment harnesses the county’s creative energy and will level the playing field for our county employees (current and future), residents and stakeholders.”
“As a veteran, our duty was this: serve our country first,” said District 3 Commissioner Jasper Watkins. “As board members, our duty is similar: serve our entire community first. The plan will help us achieve the board’s vision of ensuring that our county is a place where everyone thrives.”
The study will take place over the course of nine months.