SENATE SAYS CALIFORNIA NEEDS OFFICE OF RACIAL EQUITY TO UPROOT GENERATIONS OF STRUCTURAL RACISM, REWRITE POLICIES FOR JUSTICE AND INCLUSION
Sacramento, CA (June 7, 2021) – The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) California released the following statement upon the California State Senate’s approval of SB 17 (Pan), which creates our state’s first Office of Racial Equity, charged with implementing a community-led vision to identify and eliminate racism in state policy and address inequality through state programs. The following may be attributed to Riko Mendez, Chief Elected Officer of SEIU Local 521 and Executive Board member of SEIU California:
“The first step toward any real change is honest reckoning. California needs an Office of Racial Equity so that our state can honestly and seriously evaluate and then begin to address the many, overlapping ways that racism in our state’s policies has harmed and continues to harm low-income people of color. Centuries of deliberate policy decisions, from local governments to statewide agencies, have buried issues of structural racism deep into our social and government structures and foundations. Uprooting racist policies and reimagining our existing structures will take a coordinated approach and committed leadership.
“SB 17 will help California live up to its values of equity and inclusion; these are values SEIU members in California have strongly prioritized. We’re very hopeful that the California Senate passed SB 17 and we urge the Assembly to do the same to ensure that all Californians, whether they be Black, Brown, white, API or Native American, have the opportunities we deserve to thrive.”