CalEPA’s Commitment to Racial Equity
CalEPA seeks to ensure public health, improve and maintain environmental quality, and vitalize the green economy for all Californians. CalEPA develops policies and practices that result in safer and cleaner air, soil, and drinking water, and protect residents and workers from harmful exposure to contaminants. The goal is to achieve a higher quality of life for all. Racial equity will be realized when:
- Race is not a determinant of exposure or proximity to hazardous chemicals, and exposure to hazardous chemicals is minimized across all racial and ethnic groups.
- All Californians have access to safe, clean, affordable and accessible drinking water, and can breathe clean air in and around their homes, schools, workplaces, and community spaces.
- Communities identified as “disadvantaged” experience a transition into the green economy through equitable and just development; and when they can realize full access to healthy and sustainable green jobs, affordable housing, and transportation.
- All California communities have access to the information needed to meaningfully participate in the decision-making processes that impact their lives.
Why we lead with race
CalEPA is committed to continue to advance racial equity until race no longer predicts cumulative pollution burden. Despite progress in addressing explicit discrimination, racial inequities continue to be deep, pervasive, and persistent, across many key indicators of well-being. For example:
White households have 10-13 times the wealth of Black and Latinx households, and the racial wealth gap has grown in recent years. This holds true even controlling for education. Reference: The Asset Value of Whiteness: Understanding the Racial Wealth Gap, a resource for better understanding wealth disparities by the nonprofit public policy advocacy group Demos.
Infant mortality rates for African Americans and Native Americans are more than twice those of whites. Reference: Infant Mortality by Race in the United States, a database maintained by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
Many communities of color and low-income communities still face disproportionate exposures due to pollution in air, water, and soil, and from pesticides. One in three Latinx and African American/Black Californians versus one in 14 whites live in the top 20% most burdened CalEnviroScreen census tracts. See Analysis of Race/Ethnicity, Age, and CalEnviroScreen 3.0 Scores, produced by CalEPA’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment.
CalEPA is committed to bring an equity focus to our work to identify, understand and address racial disparities. In 2018, CalEPA joined the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE) as one of a dozen state agencies based in Sacramento that have similarly committed to racial equity. Learn more about the Capitol Collaborative on Race and Equity. As a member of the Strategic Growth Council, CalEPA is committed to implement a landmark Racial Equity Resolution that requires the agency to take the following actions:
- Integrate racial equity into leadership, operations, programs, policies, and practices.
- Identify and implement concrete and measurable actions to for CalEPA and each of its boards, departments and offices (BDOs) to achieve racial equity. Report progress of each to the council.
- Work with CalEPA’s BDOs to align and advance a shared commitment to racial equity.
Data and Resources
- Language Access Best Practices 2022
- Pollution and Prejudice Hub
- Analysis of Race/Ethnicity and CalEnviroScreen 4.0 Scores plus a storymap
- StoryMap: Pollution and Prejudice | Contaminación y Prejuicio (CalEPA)
(Download in English, Descargar en español) Pollution and Prejudice
- CalEPA Redlining and Environmental Justice Tool
- Practices to Advance Racial Equity in Workforce Planning (PDF 1.9 MB)
- State of California Workforce Data
Data tables on state employees categorized by department, job title, race and gender. (California Open Data Portal)
- Not Even Past (University of Richmond’s Digital Scholarship Lab and the National Community Reinvestment Coalition)
maps redlined cities and social vulnerability across the U.S.
- In U.S. Cities, the Health Effects of Past Housing Discrimination are Plain to See
News article by media outlet NPR.
CalEPA Plan of Action for Racial Equity
CalEPA’s Plan of Action for Racial Equity (PARE) was developed over a year-long process in 2018 and is intended to be applied and revised by CalEPA’s boards, departments, and offices. PARE Goals include the following:
- Increase workforce equity in recruitment, hiring, retention and promotion
- Enhance workforce capacity in formal and informal training
- Expand language access to services and resources
Goal Area 1:
Increase Workforce Equity in Recruitment, Hiring, Retention and Promotion
Short-term Actions (2019-2020)
- Finalize a set of promising practices to guide hiring initiatives, such as:
- Examples of duty statements that incorporate objective criteria to evaluate cultural competency;
- Best practices to conduct early and frequent outreach to colleges with more diverse student populations, including community colleges, via social media and shared lists of professional associations for people of color;
- Focused recruitment of staff who live in or who are from the communities in which they will work;
- Techniques and process requirements to facilitate blind screening of all applications; and
- Implicit bias training for all hiring officials.
Long-term Actions (2019 – 2024)
- Form a CalEPA-wide working group comprised of human resources staff with workforce decision-making authority and responsibilities to evaluate the effectiveness of recommendations, and adopt practices applicable to all boards, departments and offices
- Develop training recommendations and secure resources for implicit bias trainings for the working group members and others tasked with workforce responsibilities
- Convene the working group regularly to conduct, review, and approve workforce health surveys, reports, communications materials and trainings, and to coordinate outreach efforts and other strategies in the PARE
- Reach agreement on a template for a CalEPA-wide workforce diversity and pay equity report
- Coordinate with CalHR to develop a brief legal guidance document regarding Prop 209
- Publish first annual report of workforce demographics
- Direct the working group to evaluate the report and to develop specific strategies to address continuing disparities through enhanced recruitment, analysis of screening criteria and other barriers in the hiring process, and strategies to address structural upward mobility challenges for people of color employees across the Agency
- Conduct outreach at earlier stages of the hiring process, and more consistently (e.g.: community colleges, high schools and trade schools) for candidate
- Develop and commit resources towards supporting internship and job training opportunities across the boards and departments to serve as pathways for entry into the CalEPA workforce
- Convene annual gatherings for former CalEPA interns and fellows to share and discuss job opportunities and career pathways
Goal Area 2:
Increase Workforce Capacity in Formal and Informal Training
- Scope, design, and resource racial equity trainings based on curriculum from Race Forward; revise for CalEPA and adapt to virtual delivery
- Recruit for a limited number of staff members for a train the trainer cohort
- Launch at least three pilot trainings with 25-30 participants each. At least one training may take place outside of Sacramento. Trainings may include a training series and/or a train-the-trainer module.
- Capacity building: education and programming
- Host one-two racial equity events each quarter. Event may include formal and informal networking sessions, speaker series, or film screenings.
- Capacity Building: Strategic network development
- Sustain and build intra-agency collaborations between equity initiatives within the CalEPA Boards, Departments, and Offices, including field/regional offices
- Launch and sustain inter-agency collaborations between equity initiatives within the across California state agencies, including field and regional offices.
Long-term Actions (2020-2021)
- Facilitate the development of Employee Resource or Affinity Groups to support a culture of belonging and inclusion at CalEPA
- Launch a train the trainer program to certify candidates in delivery of Advancing Racial Equity at CalEPA
Goal Area 3:
Increase Language Access to Services and Resources
Short Term Actions (2019-2020)
- CalEPA and BDOs make an explicit commitment to provide language access to diverse California communities by complying with the Dymally-Alatorre Bilingual Act, Federal Plain Language Act, and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and provide information and services in the languages of their constituents.
- Outreach to non-governmental organization representatives and BDOs to understand unique language needs across state
- Compile report of best practices with regard to language access
- Pilot online posting of multi-lingual materials and monitor access over time
- Develop a bilingual (top 5 languages) glossary to ensure consistent use of terms in translation
Long Term Actions (2021-2025)
- CalEPA develops a standard language access policy for all BDOs to implement
- Identify and allocate enough funding for language services contracts for CalEPA and all BDOs to accommodate language needs for diverse communities in CA.
- Create materials in other languages to improve public engagement
- Provide executive summaries of decision-making documents in other languages
CalEPA Racial Equity Contact:
Racial Equity Contacts for CalEPA Boards, Departments and Office:
- Department of Pesticide Regulation
Contact: Crystal Case
Capitol Collaborative on Race & Equity:
California Strategic Growth Council’s Capitol Collaborative on Race & Equity