Equity Action Circle

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Racial Equity and Community Engagement Response Team (RECERT) was formed in April 2020. Recognizing the importance and value of leading with race, to address compounded disproportionality and ensure community voice is in decision-making processes, the response team formed the RECERT Community Advisory Committee, now known as the Equity Action Circle.

The Equity Action Circle will co-develop strategies and solutions in partnership with countywide leadership and RECERT to incorporate community identified priority focus areas to meet the unmet needs of racial and ethnically diverse residents for the COVID-19 response, in order prevent exacerbated racial disparities and improve county operations, service delivery and program administration. The Equity Action Circle will advise the County Manager and RECERT on identified priority areas, policies, systems and environmental changes with a racial equity lens. Recommendations will be brought forward to the board of commissioners for action as appropriate


  • Dr. Mohamed Alfash
  • Thomas Berry
  • Dr. Rodolfo Batres
  • Dawn Blanchard
  • Anika Bowie
  • Mary K. Boyd
  • Laura Dorn
  • Alfreda Flowers
  • Snowdon Herr
  • Hilary Lor
  • Suzanne Madison
  • Richard McLemore
  • Dr. Javiera (Javi) Monardez-Popelka
  • Samuel (Sam) Simmons
  • John Thompson

Read member bios

Equity Action Circle proposed duties

Learn: Understand Ramsey County's vision and strategy to advance racial equity during the COVID-19 response.

Evaluate: Review and evaluate the racial equity action plan, current policies, practices and procedures that impact racial and ethnic communities during the COVID-19 response.

Plan: Co-develop strategies with the Race Equity Response Team outlining unmet needs of residents.

Participate: Attend and actively participate in virtual Equity Action Circle meetings, including involvement in sub-group work.

  • Up to an eight-month time commitment is required from all members (May 2020 - December2020), with the possibility of an extension.
  • Committee meetings will occur weekly or until decided otherwise determined.
  • Community members will be compensated for their time, knowledge and expertise over an eight-month time period.  If representing an organization, the agency may be compensated.   
  • Call-in or internet-based remote access will be required.
  • Meetings will be action-based and open to the puplic as decided by the Circle in various formats.
  • Focus area sub-groups meeting may meet outside of the larger advisory committee meetings.
  • Accessibility or language needs will be accommodated with timely and appropriate notice.

How were members chosen?

Individuals interested in serving on the Circle submitted notice of interest forms between April 24 – May 4. The county received notices from 140 individuals.

Individuals and representatives with the following characteristics were encouraged to apply:

  • Connection and trusted relationships with local historically marginalized racial, ethnic and cultural communities.
  • Lived experience as a member of a racial, ethnic, cultural community.
  • Experience/expertise in specific domains including education, employment, health, housing, economic development, income, human services, justice and/or transportation.
  • A commitment to racial equity and social justice.
  • The ability to work collaboratively with people of diverse perspectives and experiences.
  • The ability to represent the geographic and demographic diversity of Ramsey County.

Preference was given to Ramsey County residents. Individuals with lived experience or who have been harmed and/or impacted by institutional racism in the area of education, employment, health, housing, income, justice and transportation were encouraged to apply.​

Additional background

Historically, racial and ethnic communities have been impacted by the trauma of lived experiences, racism and mistrust of government. Health care systems have taken advantage of their despair, pain and suffering. Racial and ethnic communities are often blamed for the disease and socioeconomic outcomes that results in the disparities we see today.

Ramsey County must be conscious of what has happened in other jurisdictions as we see disproportionate numbers of racial and ethnic communities across the nation who have contracted COVID-19 and died from its complications. We recognize the road to health and economic recovery is significantly impacted by the root causes of historical racism, poverty and other inequalities. 

Ramsey County has committed to advancing racial and health equity in all decision-making and inclusive, effective and meaningful community engagement are two of its strategic priorities. Ramsey County has a responsibility to address the racial inequities and injustices faced by the racial, ethnic and cultural communities including: Black, American Indian, Indigenous, Asian, Latinx/Hispanic, African Born, other immigrant and refugee communities, and people with disabilities during this pandemic.