About the Racial Equity & Community Engagement Response Team

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Rationale

  1. Significant racial and ethnic disparities are showing up across the country in terms of COVID-19 impacts, particularly as it relates to deaths per capita.
  2. Based on previous economic downturns, racial disparities increase in Minnesota during periods of economic downturn, meaning the current health crisis is likely to turn into an economic crisis for racial and ethnic communities.
  3. COVID-19 is most likely to impact individuals that are in jobs and environmental settings that can least afford to adapt to stay at home orders for work and daily life. This means that economically disadvantaged communities – and communities in which English language is a barrier – are most likely to be severely impacted by the current public health crisis and resulting economic crisis.
  4. Emergency responses by governmental institutions do not have a successful track record of reducing racial and ethnic disparities across health, education, income or other outcomes during or in the follow-up to a crisis.
  5. Without specific, focused actions that create structures and processes that directly address racial and ethnic disparities during the public health and economic crises, past patterns of inequity will deepen and be repeated.
  6. As the most significant public health and economic crisis in generations, the risks to further engrained inequality are more significant now that at any point in recent memory.
  7. Minnesota and Ramsey County enter these public health and economic crises with significant racial and ethnic disparities already negatively shaping the lives of far too many residents, and specific actions must be taken to ensure an equitable COVID-19 response.

Areas of focus

  1. Data collection and sharing that is focused on measurement of race and ethnic based disparities during the public health and economic crises.
  2. Effective, focused communication into racial and ethnic communities that otherwise may be missed during a COVID-19 response.
  3. Program design and implementation with community collaboration that ensures effective service to racial and ethnic communities that may otherwise see significant disparities in outcomes.
  4. Building trust through engagement, transparency and accountability throughout Ramsey County’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Structure

The Ramsey County Racial Equity and Community Engagement Response Team will report directly to the County Manager during the COVID-19 emergency response. This reporting relationship will ensure influence into the Incident Management Team as well as the rest of Ramsey County’s operating departments. The Ramsey County Racial Equity and Community Engagement Response Team is not formally a section or branch within the Incident Management Team but will be approved based on its weekly work plan to execute specific tasks in partnership with the various sections and branches of the IMT. Additionally, the Ramsey County Racial Equity and Community Engagement Response Team is not a department within Ramsey County, but its weekly work plan will also require it to execute specific tasks in partnership with various departments across Ramsey County.

Membership

The County Manager will approve a set roster of members for the Racial Equity Response Team to ensure role clarity. The group will include:

  1. Racial and Health Equity Administrators (leadership role for the group)
  2. Public Health Representatives
  3. Policy and Planning Team Representative
  4. Health and Wellness Service Team Evaluator
  5. Human Resources Representative
  6. Service Team Liaisons