Arlington County Board Resolves to Achieve Equity in Policies, Budget

Published on September 21, 2019

The Arlington County Board today committed County Government to developing an equitable approach to decision-making, with the goal of eliminating disparities in outcomes.

The Board unanimously adopted a resolution committing the County to establishing equity targets and measures and to developing an equity scorecard as part of an Equity Action Plan. View the resolution.

The County plans to collaborate with Arlington Public Schools, the Community Progress Network, the Arlington Community Foundation, Virginia Humanities and others on initiatives to address inequities and foster equity.

"Arlington is rightfully proud of our successes on many fronts," Arlington County Board Chair Christian Dorsey said. "Yet disparities exist. This resolution commits County government to partnering with individuals and entities to lead our highly educated, engaged community in eliminating disparities and ensuring that all Arlingtonians have access to opportunities and community conditions needed to reach their full potential and experience optimal well-being."

Participating in regional racial equity learning cohort

The resolution kicks off County Government's participation this fall in a nine-month Metropolitan Washington Council of Government (COG) Racial Equity Cohort. Senior County and Arlington Public Schools staff will join a learning cohort that brings together representatives from jurisdictions beginning or expanding work on racial equity in their communities. The program will inform the County's development of its plan for addressing equity issues. COG has engaged the Government Alliance on Race and Equity, a national network of governments working to achieve racial equity and advance opportunities for all, to facilitate the program.

Racial Equity Tool

The Board directed the County Manager to present a Racial Equity Tool to the Board in September 2020. The tool will be used in policy, practice, program and budget decisions as developed through the COG Racial Equity Learning Cohort. Through this tool, the County may identify pilot projects to demonstrate where to start achieving racial equity outcomes in Arlington; a capacity building plan and organizational structure to institutionalize equity within the County and a framework for a Racial Equity Action Plan for the County to implement.

The Board also directed the Manager to identify a line of business within each County department, as part of the Fiscal Year 2021 Operating Budget and Fiscal Year 2021-2030 Capital Improvement Plan and provide a supplementary analysis that considers and addresses: Who benefits? Who is burdened? Who is missing? How do we know?

"Communities across this nation are recognizing that instituting equity-based policies locally will not only help ensure their long-term sustainability but will help drive the larger systemic change needed to ensure our nation's sustainability," Dorsey said. "Let's get to work."