COG and GARE convene more than one hundred government staff members for yearlong racial equity program

Contact: Janele Partman
Phone: (202) 962-3250
Email: [email protected]

Today, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) in partnership with Race Forward’s Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE) launched the second regional learning cohort of local government staff to advance racial equity and opportunities for all.

COG is convening more than 120 managers and staff from 11 jurisdictions, plus a COG staff team, who will participate in the yearlong program. The jurisdictions represented are the District of Columbia, Charles County, City of College Park, City of Greenbelt, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, City of Alexandria, Arlington County, Fairfax County, Loudoun County, and Prince William County.

The cohort will meet on a monthly basis and will consider how government policies and practices can be reshaped to advance racial equity and develop action plans to address specific inequities.

“COG is committed to ensuring that our region’s leaders continue to learn from each other and develop a common understanding as they work together to advance racial equity,” said COG Executive Director Chuck Bean. “This program equips local government professionals with the knowledge and skills to shape a region where everyone can live and thrive.”

In 2020, COG affirmed racial equity as a fundamental value and has since worked with area leaders to prioritize equity within programs and initiatives across various sectors. In addition, several local jurisdictions have adopted policies focused on advancing racial equity and many have hired chief equity officers in recent years.

The COG Chief Equity Officers Committee, composed of representatives from each COG jurisdiction, meets on a monthly basis to discuss local government initiatives and collaborate on regional efforts to advance equity.

“We are excited that the metropolitan Washington region continues to prioritize advancing racial equity,” said Race Forward’s Senior Vice-President of Programs and Founding Director of GARE Julie Nelson. “If our communities are to thrive, government must adopt a racial equity framework in its work. This program will provide local government leaders with the tools they need to make concrete systemic change.”