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Office of Equity and Social Innovation 

photo collage of training 

Mission
The mission of the Office of Equity and Social Innovation (OESI) is to build culturally responsive strategies, and leadership for social justice by generating inclusive ideas, information, and organizational cultures that promote racial equity.

Why was OESI created?
To address societal problems connected to racial injustice and historic inequity, OESI operates the city’s Race & Social Justice Initiative (RSJI), which provides development opportunities and tools for every city employee to design equitable city policies, initiatives, budgets, and programs. RSJI will serve as a catalytic force for city employees to become social justice change agents by preparing them with an understanding of how implicit and explicit bias, systemic racism, and how historical discriminatory policies have influenced present inequity for communities of color, First Nations people, and historically marginalized groups.

Goals of RSJI

  • City staff understand and are committed to achieving racial equity.
  • Engage city staff in social and racial justice innovation.
  • Denver is an inclusive employer that designs racial equity into policies, practices, programs, and initiatives to create equitable outcomes. 
  • Denver is an inclusive government that effectively engages community to create equitable outcomes.
  • Eliminate disproportionate outcomes for communities of color, First Nations people, and historically marginalized groups. 

Race & Social Justice Initiative Pillars of Work

All City agencies and departments committed to supporting the development and implementation of the Race & Social Justice Initiative, and collectively catalyzing action around equity, diversity, and inclusion within the workplace, while fostering collaboration among city employees and community stakeholders.

This culturally responsive training and development platform will equip all city employees with knowledge and skills to address racial disparities in their work areas including housing, health, and economic mobility for historically marginalized and under resourced communities. City employees will learn key concepts such as racial equity and structural racism and learn approaches to counteract racial bias in their work and practices.

A tailor-made toolkit for each city agency will be developed to guide employees through a strategic process to make inclusive decisions. This framework incorporates racial equity in local government policies and practices and is used by cities across the country.

This citywide incubator, comprised of internal and external collaborative partners, will create innovative strategies to promote race and social justice driven policies and practices, such as decreasing the percentage of Latino males in our foster care system and by developing a culturally responsive community engagement plan to build authentic partnerships within communities of color.

 

RSJI Teams

The Equity Leadership Team (ELT) is composed of Erin Brown (Mayor's Office), Kim Desmond (Agency for Human Rights & Community Partnerships, and Tariana Navas-Nieves (Denver Arts & Venues). This team is responsible for establishing and implementing an equity work plan and evaluation system to track outcomes over time and monitor the city's progress towards achieving racial equity. 

The Equity Core Team is comprised of representatives from city agencies and departments working in partnership with the Equity Leadership Team, informing RSJI strategies, with the goal of ensuring all city employees are creating equitable systems. 

Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Teams primarily operate at the agency/department level, and connect employees in the day to day work of make the City and County of Denver a place where we can embrace equity, diversity and inclusion as an essential component in the way we work together as well as engage and support the community. Every city agency and department will have an EDIT and create a tailored plan to meet organization-specific needs.

Agency Partners of RSJI
The Mayor’s Office, the Agency for Human Rights & Community Partnerships (HRCP), and Denver Arts & Venues (A&V), are charged with developing, managing, guiding, and sustaining the implementation of the City’s Race & Social Justice Initiative (RSJI). The RSJI is housed under the Denver Office of Equity and Social Innovation (OESI), an office of HRCP.

Contact Us

Kim Desmond
Director, Office of Equity and Social Innovation 
Agency for Human Rights and Community Partnerships
kimberly.desmond@denvergov.org, 720-913-8465

Jessica Calderon
Learning and Development Specialist, Office of Equity and Social Innovation 
Agency for Human Rights and Community Partnerships
jessica.calderon@denvergov.org, 720-913-8427

Michelle Garcia
Learning and Development Specialist, Office of Equity and Social Innovation 
Agency for Human Rights and Community Partnerships
michelle.garcia2@denvergov.org, 720-913-1680