2021 -2023 Race & Equity Task Force
The Race and Equity Task Force was formed after Resolution No. 35-2020 was passed on June 22, 2020. In February 2021, City Council appointed 20 community members to the Task Force. 20 Task Force members were selected, with four each from Council Districts I-IV and four members at-large. The Task Force began its work on March 25, 2021, and met on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month for two years.
Since 2021, the Task Force has held official meetings a total of 40 times. An additional 30 meetings were conducted in smaller groups outside the larger Task Force meetings, and all members worked individually conducting research, working on recommendations, and editing the recommendation report. In total, the Task Force collectively spent approximately over 1,000 volunteer hours over two years to complete this report.
The bulk of the early work of the Task Force can be broken into three (3) categories; group training led by The Equity Project (Dr. Dwinita Mosby Tyler and Monica D. Williams), presentations by staff representatives within the City of Wheat Ridge and meetings concerning the self governance of the group. The Equity Group provided the Task Force with a background in diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) work and guided the Task Force in creating an Equity Lens to use as a baseline for future work. The initial presentations from the City focused on the formation of the City of Wheat Ridge, the City Charter and on the legal underpinnings of these documents. As a result of discussions about structure, the Task Force selected chairs and created bylaws.
With a background in place, the Task Force established 11 focus areas to be researched. The recommendations included in this report are in two parts: 1) recommendations for each focus area and 2) general priority recommendations that did not fit within a specific focus area. The focus areas are included below:
In addition to researching these focus areas, the Task force met with several City Staff members to learn about areas of interest in the City's operations. Having conducted an extensive research project, the Task Force began to develop a Recommendations Report.
The complete recommendations are included in the report here: 2023 Race and Equity Task Force Recommendations Report
What follows is a summary of general recommendations from the report. These general recommendations impact every subject and step beyond the purview of any specific department or system of organization within the City of Wheat Ridge. In order of priority, the General Recommendations are as follows:
|General Priority Recommendations||Timeline||Cost|
|Develop and adopt a citywide Race, Diversity, and Equity Lens. This is a set of questions to ask when planning, developing, or evaluating a policy, program, or decision. The Task Force also recommends the City of Wheat Ridge join the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE), a national network of governments working to achieve racial equity and advance opportunities for all.|
|Create a position for a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Manager for the City. Additionally, consider creating an internship along with this position.||Short Term||High|
|Transition the Race and Equity Task Force to an ongoing advisory committee.||Short Term||Low|
|Create an Oversight Board of Wheat Ridge residents to address all community complaints regarding all City departments, to ensure everyone has an equal voice.||Short Term||Low|
|Review the City Charter and update it every 8-12 years to help keep it relevant.||Long Term||Low|
|Partner with and/or develop a program like Denver Support Team Assistance (STAR) Response Program to better connect mental health providers to calls for service related to individuals in need of support.||Short Term||Medium|
|Increase support for and promote the growth of the HUB at Everitt Middle School.||Short Term||Medium|
|Provide ongoing anti-bias training for all City employees and contractors.||Mid Term||Medium|
|Improve the City's website and citywide communications to include: easier navigation for seniors, ADA accommodations and more multilingual access.||Mid Term||High|
The Task Force recommended that the City create a committee to implement the findings in the Recommendation Report and continue to advise the City of issues related to race and equity. In response to this request, the City Council reached consensus to create the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility IDEA Committee at the August 7, 2023 Study Session. IDEA Committee members are scheduled to be appointed in early 2024.