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New Equity and Social Innovation Office will Imbed these Values in City Operations

DENVER – Mayor Michael B. Hancock today announced the creation of the Office of Equity and Social Innovation. With a foundation in Mayor Hancock’s Equity Platform, the new office will play a critical role in ensuring every Denver resident has the tools and resources necessary to get a job, have a home, and build a future by eliminating disparities and the historic barriers for racial minorities, women, LGBTQ+ residents and people with disabilities to achieving opportunity.

“Since 2011, from gentrification and youth to neighborhood safety and community health and well-being, we have taken a comprehensive look at addressing several disparities in opportunity in our city, tackling them and closing the gaps,” Mayor Hancock said. “Many of our departments have already begun equity initiatives, and with the creation of this new office, the time is now to expand this focus citywide and ensure the values of equity and social innovation are a part of every department.”

Mayor Hancock reinforced his commitment to those priorities by naming Deputy Chief of Staff Erin Brown as Denver’s first Chief Equity Officer. Brown has been instrumental in building collaboration among community members and organizations, local businesses and city agencies over the past eight years. In her expanded role, she will oversee the implementation of the city’s Race and Social Justice Initiative, develop strategies and policies that will help address historic inequities, and work in partnership with city agencies and community partners to deliver culturally informed and responsive services to the residents of Denver.

The Mayor’s Office of Equity and Social Innovation, composed of Stephanie O’Malley, who will serve as the Senior Executive Officer of Equity Policy and Operations, and Kimberly Desmond, Director of Equity and Social Innovation, will be charged with implementing the tools and trainings to operationalize race and social justice practices across all city departments. Cultural equity will be led by Tariana Navas-Nieves, Denver Arts & Venues Director of Cultural Affairs and member of the Race and Social Justice Executive Leadership Team, ensuring community investments focused on arts, culture and creativity are an imbedded strategy to support inclusive and thriving neighborhoods that impact Denver’s diverse populations.

The Equity Platform

Denver is taking an even stronger role in eliminating disparities in opportunity among Denver residents, through the Mayor’s Equity Platform:

  • A Race and Social Justice Initiative that will train city employees to help achieve better outcomes for working families, historically marginalized communities of color, First Nations people, and under-resourced communities;
  • Neighborhood equity and stabilization efforts lead by Dr. Irene Aguilar to preserve the culture and character of Denver’s neighborhoods experiencing significant change by supporting longtime businesses and residents to remain in place and create opportunities for displaced residents to return to the neighborhoods they love;
  • Expanding the number of financial empowerment opportunities for residents to improve economic mobility; and
  • Ensuring local residents and minority- and women-owned businesses benefit from the $6 billion in public projects in the pipeline for the next decade, including targeted recruitment of local residents for construction jobs and strengthening contract opportunities for minority- and women-owned businesses.

Action Steps

  • On Tuesday, October 8, the Office will welcome the National League of Cities, Race Equity and Leadership Initiative and Government Alliance on Racial Equity to conduct a training for over 100 city employees who have been identified as equity leads within their department. Leads will participate in an 8-hour training on The Role of Government in Advancing Racial Equity. On October 10, all mayoral appointees will take part in a similar training focused on building infrastructure and leading with a lens of equity.
  • On October 9, Mayor Hancock will host community members and leaders for the first of several Equity Roundtables to engage in robust dialogue about equity and its intersection with government and obtain insight on strategies the city should be taking.