A Farewell, A New Director, and New Team Members for the Movement
I am writing to say farewell and to share some exciting staffing changes for our team, about which you will see more detail below. First, though, I am hoping you will indulge me for a moment to offer a heartfelt
For letting me join you in building this movement for racial equity.
For redefining public sector for the public good.
For your unflinching commitment to justice for all residents in our communities.
Fifty months ago, when I joined this nascent Government Alliance for Race and Equity, not many people knew that it existed, let alone what values anchored it. The notion that the public sector could be a catalyst for sustained, systemic erosion of elements of structural racism that marginalize millions of people of color in nearly every corner of the nation was at the same time highly provocative and only minimally espoused. But it was sufficiently compelling that it attracted me from my own work in federal service addressing equity issues because it firmly confronted the profound reality of race in the United States in a way that I did not see happening sufficiently in HUD or other agencies. My main question entering this arena was, would others believe? And if they did, would they act? And if they did, would it make a difference?
Yes. Yes. and yes. I quickly discovered that this work, driven by a small group of early adopters, had resonance not only for lifelong justice advocates such as myself, but for thousands of everyday champions working across the spectrum of local jurisdictions across the country. What started as a score of loosely affiliated government entities when I began my time with GARE has blossomed into nearly 200 local, regional, and increasingly state jurisdictions that have collectively acknowledged that they cannot achieve their missions to serve their residents so long as they fail to resolve longstanding inequities in their communities whose roots lie squarely in racism. I’ve often shared that whilst we were thrilled when New York City joined as a member of GARE in 2017, we were equally delighted when Fort Collins, CO – a small college town just north of Denver – joined later that year as well. Issues of structural racism cut across geography, across demography, and across political ideology. Only by coming together to create a new ethic of the role of government can we hope to address this centuries-long crisis.
As you know, I am leaving the role of GARE co-Director and Vice President for Institutional and Sectoral Change at Race Forward. One of the greatest accomplishments I will look back on is the incredible team we’ve been able to build here that stewards our movement. It has not been easy work. It has been, however, the most rewarding work in most of our careers. That said, change is inevitable, and there are some evolutions I want to share that provide a moment for us to grow our ranks as a staff team and strengthen our ability to facilitate the national conversation you have built through this work.
First, I am pleased to announce that Gordon Goodwin will assume the role of GARE Director effective immediately. Gordon comes supremely equipped to assume this mantle, having spent a career in public and nonprofit service focused on racial and economic equity, the last three of which were as the Midwest Regional Manager for GARE. The team could not be more thrilled that he is moving into this position, and we are confident you will be as well. We’ll also be announcing who will take over the role of Vice President for Institutional and Sectoral Change very shortly.
There are two other transitions that I want to highlight as well. The City of Alexandria, VA has joined the swelling ranks of localities that have seen the value of embedding a Chief Equity Officer in their administrative structure, and have selected our own East Regional Manager Jaqueline Tucker as the inaugural person to hold the position. We could not be more proud of Jacqueline for being selected, or more confident in the City for the caliber of their selection. And after more than 30 years of public service in government and community based organizations, Northwest Regional Manager Nora Liu is formally retiring this Spring, though we have no doubt that she’ll continue to be connected to the movement. As such, the e-news features a hiring alert for three Regional Manager positions effective immediately; a Midwest manager to replace Gordon as he assumes his new responsibilities, an East Manager to replace Jaqueline as she transitions, and a West manager to replace Nora as she sunsets (the Northwest geography is expanding to incorporate several western states). Please spread the word – your references provide the highest quality of candidates for consideration, and in turn fuels the intensity of the movement.
So thank you, for the creativity, compassion, and critical thinking that leaves me convinced that advancing racial equity will become the norm for local, regional and state government. I look forward to bumping into you in that community.