Alignment with the County's Strategic Plan
Here you will find tools and resources to advance the vision of Milwaukee County becoming the healthiest in the state. The toolkit supports individuals and departments in the County strategic plan charge to apply racial equity in all decisions.
Milwaukee County is committed to addressing health and racial disparities, which have devastating results for our residents. Our One County, One Vision strategic plan guides departments and offices, including the Office of Equity.
Of central importance is the Milwaukee County definition of racial equity:
The just and fair inclusion of people of color in a society where all people can participate, prosper and reach their full potential. Equity is both a process and an outcome. For Milwaukee County, this is accomplished by acknowledging and eliminating past and current barriers and addressing the unique needs of each community, creating access for all.
Adopting a Racial Equity Lens
Through the strategic plan teamwork, Milwaukee County has refined that success in applying a racial equity lens requires:
- Communicating what racial equity means: the just and fair inclusion of people of color in decision-making.
- Understanding the relationship between power and racism and applying core concepts (that is, justice, fairness and inclusion) to drive change.
- Making a personal commitment to learning and unlearning, and embracing discomfort to challenge personal biases and prejudices.
- Creating a culture and practices that center the lives and lived experiences of people of color in decision-making (budget, programs and policies).
One of Milwaukee County's strategic focus areas is to "bridge the gap." One of the ways this is accomplished is by applying a racial equity lens to all decisions.
Key Terms, Definitions and Concepts
These words and phrases are ones that Milwaukee County has identified as central to our strategic plan work. The definitions here emerged through the work in the strategy team whose work is to foster us "applying a racial equity lens in all we do." The definitions match those in use by many others working across Milwaukee County as part of One County, One Vision.
Race: A social construct that categorizes people by color and physical or cultural characteristics. Overtime has evolved to center whiteness in a global society.
Racism: The system and hierarchy of racialized power, privilege and prejudice-based decision-making, based on the construct of “race,” that favors white people over people of color.
Domains: Structural, Institutional, Interpersonal and Internalized.
Racial Equity: The just and fair inclusion of people of color in a society where all people can participate, prosper, and reach their full potential – both a process and an outcome (Inspired by the definition from PolicyLink). For Milwaukee County, this is accomplished by acknowledging and eliminating past and current barriers and addressing the unique needs of each community while creating access for all.
Equity vs. Equality
Equity: Fairness with special regard to how certain groups have been impacted by policy, disinvestment, and decision-making.
Equality: Sameness without regard to who benefits and who is burdened by decision-making.
Fairness: Doing what’s right and making sure people have what they need to thrive.
Justice: Righting wrongs and mitigating future hurt, harm and danger.
Inclusion: Assuring the values, perspectives and ideas of diverse people are represented in decision-making.
Read this Glossary of Terms, working definitions compiled by The Office of Equity for the Milwaukee County Equitable Policy Assessment project.
County Wide Tools
The following items are for the use and application in developing and applying a racial equity lens to any department or organization.
Racial Equity Tool & Comprehensive Reference Guide
We're providing a tool that supports individuals or teams in understanding more concretely what is necessary to apply a racial equity lens. The tool is based on GARE's best practices and is customized to the Milwaukee County organization. The accompanying comprehensive reference guide offers additional information on using the Racial Equity Tool.
Frameworks for Developing a Racial Equity Tool
Diversity and Inclusion Maturity Model
The Diversity and Inclusion Maturity Model for Milwaukee County illustrates the necessary progression step in evolving to achieve the County vision. The model was developed in the Department of Human Resources in conjunction with strategy teams, the DEI Council and more.
Benchmark Form for the Maturity Model
This benchmark form accompanies the Maturity Model and serves as guidelines to determine if a department or division is maturing on its diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) journey. As the benchmarks were developed to assess Milwaukee County as a whole on its DEI journey, some of the benchmarks may not apply to a specific department or division.
Spotlight on Milwaukee County: Department-Specific Equity Tools In Action
The following highlights the ongoing work across Milwaukee County, where the organization is creating tools to systematize the work advancing the County's vision to become the healthiest in the State.
Racial Equity Budget Tool
Each budget cycle, Milwaukee County departments and offices use the Racial Equity Budget Tool (REBT) to align fiscal decisions to the County strategic plan. To view a department's REBT, visit the Milwaukee County Budget Office's web page. Be sure to scroll down to the current budget year.
Milwaukee County Parks Equity Index
As part of its planning work, the Milwaukee County Parks Department has developed a Parks Equity Index, a weighted score based on demographics, park service level radius, and equity data that is updated annually. It is used in determining departmental resource allocations.
Milwaukee County Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) Multiple Tools
DHHS has multiple tools. Examples include the Readiness Tool for use by individuals and the Racial Equity Policy and Procedure Assessment Tool (REPPAT). This tool informs the current Office of Equity tools.
Milwaukee County Office of Economic Inclusion
The Milwaukee County Office of Economic Inclusion created a dashboard to track County contracts awarded to minority and women-owned businesses: County of Milwaukee | DAS | Office of Economic Inclusion.