Racial Equity Task Force in Action
Bi-State Development (BSD) is fully committed to integrating Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) into our operations and mission work. Formed in 2020, the Racial Equity Task Force is key to further elevating and carrying out the strategies, initiatives and actions of DEI.
Who We Are
The members of the BSD Racial Equity Task Force include:
- Daniel Arias, Planning
- Shirley Bryant-Taylor, Legal
- Lisa Cagle, Innovative Services
- Angelica Culberson, Public Safety
- Martin Gulley, MetroLink
- Syma Iqbal, Finance
- Vernice Kelly, Employee Relations
- John Langa, Economic Development
- Stacy McMurray, Culture and Change Management
- Maureen Williams, Consumer Engagement
The structure of the task force is comprised of the following roles: Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary/Internal Liaison, and Leads for each of the three committees. Task force committees include:
- Communications and Outreach – Develops and manages communication plan to effectively promote task force efforts and its initiatives throughout BSD, and personal outreach to cultivate engagement.
- Initiatives – Develop and implement initiatives that align with and support task force goals.
- Governance – Ensures the task force is operating effectively and efficiently and is meeting goals as outlined.
Sponsors from the BSD executive team ensure the task force has the resources needed to carry out their work. They are also key to ensuring recommendations made by the task force are carefully considered.
To focus its efforts, the task force developed a racial equity statement, pledge and four goals.
Statement: “All people have proportionate access and opportunity regardless of race and; the condition under which outcomes are not predicted by race.”
Pledge: “Commit to valuing each other for our unique experiences, insights and talents. To realize our vision, we will review and recommend policies and practices that align with BSD’s racial equity strategies and goals.”
The four goals outlined to support the realization of our vision are:
- Provide a forum for employees to practice and explore being open to discussing our experience of race and ethnicity, and learn from one another.
- Address racial relations and disparities in outcomes such as hiring and advancement through data and exploring our experiences.
- Review policies and practices and make recommendations that promote equity.
- Help to dismantle structural inequities and embed equity in all we do.
In response to social injustice, unrest and systemic racism, specifically following the killing of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, our leadership recognized that this was a critical time to turn empathy into action, looking inward at our workplace. Data and statistics show that an organization can be diverse without practicing inclusion or being equitable.
Overview of Work
Based on feedback from more than nineteen Let’s Talk: Racial Equity sessions held over 12+ months, and included more than 100 union and salaried team members from every level in the organization, the Governance Committee developed six recommendations for addressing racial inequity:
Recommendation #1: Establish a racial equity baseline with data disaggregated by race.
Status: In Progress | Based on data received to date, including from the most recent engagement survey, the task force has identified 2 metrics to track towards equity, outcomes in engagement and representation by seniority. These areas reflect differences across racial and ethnic lines. We are working to set a baseline and develop a plan of action that will support equity metrics in both engagement and representation by seniority. It is important to note that more data is needed to further analyze trends in these metrics. Analysis of future engagement surveys and other data will continue to be reviewed and analyzed.
Recommendation #2: Embed racial equity into policies, practices and procedures.
Status: Completed | Completed establishing Racial Equity Task Force and committees; completed DEI and all core values added to the BSD website; completed recognition of their service and thanks to each individual operator for their front-line service during the height of the pandemic, that included a proclamation; completed collaboration with Employee Relations to integrate DEI statement into Employee (Team Member) Handbook; completed collaboration with Legal and EEO to develop language to increase the understanding of consequences at BSD of racial discrimination and harassment.
Recommendation #3a: Required racial equity and anti-racism leadership training for all levels of management.
Status: Completed | Partnering with consultant, Diversity Works, to deliver mandatory anti-racism/anti-bias leadership training to all supervisors and managers. First meeting with consultant was held on 12/14/22. Intake interviews will be conducted throughout January and February to help create customized training.
Recommendation #3b: Integrate Open Sesame Unconscious Bias course into onboarding.
Status: In Progress | This action is in collaboration with Talent Management/Talent Acquisition.
Recommendation #3c: Assign Open Sesame Unconscious Bias course to all team members.
Status: In Progress | This action is in collaboration with Talent Management.
Recommendation #4: Implement onboarding plan process for internal team members who are promoted and transferred to help them accelerate learning, understand job expectations and position them for success in their new role.
Status: In Progress | Onboarding plan process pilot implemented for executives. This action is in collaboration with Talent Management.
Recommendation #5: Establish formal internal candidate interview follow-up process (Applicable to internal candidates who have interviewed but were not selected for the position).
Status: In Progress | Process in development in collaboration with Talent Management.
Recommendation #6: Partner and build strategic relationships with stakeholders in underserved communities.
Status: In Progress | Partnering with MarCom to develop a strategy.
Results and accountability are critical to the success of these and future recommendations. Tracking metrics into the future will help to ensure BSD is successful in dismantling structural inequities to benefit all team members.