Mayor Hancock Appoints New Chief Equity Officer

Published on September 28, 2021

 Mayor Michael B. Hancock is proud to announce his appointment of Dr. Aisha Rousseau as the new Chief Equity Officer of the Mayor’s Office of Social Equity and Innovation. Dr. Rousseau will continue to expand the administration’s foundational work to ensure Denver is a more equitable city for all residents. As Chief Equity Officer, her primary focus will be to continue advancing the inclusion of equity – in the form of education, processes and policies – into all city departments and programs, with the goal of providing those we serve with a more accessible, diverse and inclusive city government.  

“Dr. Rousseau has demonstrated a unique expertise in balancing the exposure of racial and social injustices with the very critical work of improving the systems and processes that created them in the first place,” Mayor Hancock said. “Her candid approach and passionate leadership are exactly what we need and I’m proud to have her leading this effort.” 

Dr. Rousseau will prioritize bringing to fruition Mayor Hancock’s vision of creating the first-of-its-kind Denver Institute of Equity and Reconciliation, establishing Denver as a national leader in research related to racism, bias, inclusion, practices of reconciliation, and development of programs and trainings for law enforcement, the public, and private and education sectors.

Dr. Rousseau most recently served as the Director of the Division of Disability Rights for the City and County of Denver and comes into this role with a proven record of creating spaces for marginalized people that enable their voices and perspectives to influence and shape inclusive and accessible policies and environments. She brings a breadth of knowledge and experience as a professor at a major research university before coming to the city.

“I have enjoyed leading the cultural shift in Denver around equity as it specifically pertains to physical and programmatic accessibility these last six years,” she said. “I look forward to partnering with internal and external stakeholders and continue to set Denver on a track towards leading the way in dismantling systemic racism through the development of more equitable processes, practices, and policies.”

Significant MOSEI accomplishments to date:

  • The formal creation of the Mayor’s Office of Social Equity and Innovation
  • New Executive Order 146, establishing the office to develop and implement the policies, programs, regulations and initiatives of the city, related to social equity and race and social justice.
  • MOSEI created Citywide Equity Plans, supporting each agency in developing strategies to address inequities in their policies, programs and practices. 
  • Citywide Budget Equity Framework to prioritize equity in the city budget.
  • Citywide Race and Social Justice Academy where city staff and leaders can learn about race and social justice and activate the learning in their work.
  • Launched large citywide learning and engagement opportunities such as a Book Club in 2020 and the Racial Equity challenge in 2021 
  • Launched a community Racial Equity Council
  • Passage of an equity package banning discrimination of natural hairstyles and removing the term “illegal alien” from city documents
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