The Dane County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted in favor of an equity initiative proposed by Supervisor Sheila Stubbs, District 23, to evaluate current County administrative practices to eliminate potential racial inequities currently seen in Dane County.
A county statement said the initiative will use unprecedented county staff resources to decrease these racial disparities and increase equity across the county.
The statement said the resolution is the second in what will most likely become a series of proposals in response to last November’s Race to Equity report from the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families, which showed Black juveniles to be six times more likely to be arrested than their white counterparts.
Main proponents of the initiative include assessing root causes of racial inequality by developing an action plan for the county government, including how the county’s budget may affect inequalities, as well as developing a model to ensure county government policies do not worsen racial disparity.
Supervisor Leland Pan, District 5, said he is in support of this new initiative. The goal is to prevent the unintentional inequities how county departments serve the community, Pan said. He said finding a solution to this issue key.
Ald. Scott Resnick, District 8, supports the new initiative. He said he believes the implementation of the plan could be challenging for the city at first, but he thinks it will result in progress overall.
Pan said there is a much larger problem than what meets the eye in terms of racial inequities present in Dane County.
“A big part of inequalities are structural and unintentional,” Pan said. “It is not that these are policies that have been made intentionally to undermine different communities of color but may have resulted for a variety of reasons culturally or otherwise making the environment more difficult for people of color.”
Resnick believes the initiative is a starting point for building a more equitable city and eliminating the racial inequities seen in Madison currently.
Pan added that people of all political backgrounds could come together and contribute in finding a solution for the inequity problem Dane County faces, at least in the initiative’s preliminary stages.
“I am really optimistic we can help change our government,” Pan said. “Interaction from different backgrounds in communities is beneficial for those who may be in the majority or in a position of privilege in order to gain perspective.”