September 8, 2017 under Policy, Advocacy & Research

The Race and Gender Equity Assessments Bills: Closing the Gap 

By Sherice Brammer, Communications Associate

Change is on the horizon. FPWA’s recent collaboration with New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Council Members Laurie Cumbo and Brad Lander culminated with an introduction of the Race and Gender Equity Assessments Bills that seek to address systemic inequality within government institutions that allow racial and gender bias to create a pathway to poverty. The Bills were announced at the Speaker’s final State of the City address, passed on Wednesday, August 24, and today, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed The Race and Gender Equity Assessments Bills into law.

Countless individuals are considered at risk of entering a cycle of poverty because they reside in low-income communities, experience generational poverty and/or find themselves marginalized in society because of their race, sexual orientation or gender. To avert barriers to equity, New York City must ensure all New Yorkers have the resources to attain self-sufficiency, quality healthcare, access to housing and employment opportunities that offer a living wage.

“In order to take that first step towards achieving reform, we need to create a culture of addressing these pathways into poverty, into the criminal justice system, which in many circumstances starts with policies implemented by government institutions.”, said Senior Policy Analyst Alexis Posey. “The services of these agencies often intersect and touch a vast extent of neighborhoods across the five boroughs, having the greatest impact on the lives of low-income New Yorkers.”

The bills will require the NYC Administration for Children’s Services, NYC Human Resources Administration/Department of Social Services and NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to:

  • Complete gender and racial assessments of their services and programs, employment practices, contracting practices, and budgeting, and set goals to address the findings of these assessments. (Intro No. 1500)
  • Provide all of their employees with training on implicit bias, discrimination, cultural competency and structural inequity, including with respect to gender, race and sexual orientation, and on how these factors impact the work of such agencies. (Intro No. 1512)

The Mayor will be required to include information on gender and racial equality in the annual report on social indicators, provided to the council, borough presidents, and community boards analyzing the social, economic, and environmental health of, and equality and equity between genders and races within the city, and proposing strategies for addressing the issues raised in such analysis. The report would also be retitled as the “Report on Social Indicators and Gender and Racial Inequality.” (Intro No. 1520)

FPWA looks forward to working with both the Mayor, City Council, and selected agencies on the implementation and deliverables of this timely and courageous legislation.