Racial Equity Assessment in Legislation - #REALNYS

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In New York State, various local laws, policies, and procedures contribute to deep-rooted institutional racism that marginalizes oppressed populations. People of color experience disproportionate adverse outcomes from public institutions and social systems, including the education, housing, criminal justice, and child welfare systems that serve their communities. This is often the result of legislation that is passed to ameliorate social issues without consideration from lawmakers about the
racial inequities that may result upon enactment.

S8703, a bill introduced by Senator Sepulveda, would establish a legislative committee to provide a racial equity impact assessment on all legislation that is reported favorably to the assembly. An assembly bill is pending re-introduction.

What is Racial Equity Assessment in Legislation (REAL)?
Race Forward defines a racial equity impact assessment as a systematic examination of how different racial and ethnic groups will likely be affected by a proposed action or decision. These are used to minimize unanticipated adverse consequences in a variety of contexts, including the analysis of proposed policies, institutional practices, programs, plans and budgetary decisions. The racial equity impact assessment can be a vital tool for preventing institutional racism and for identifying new options to remedy long-standing inequities—and this is what the REAL bill seeks to do.

Why We Need #REALNYS
Intergenerational ramifications have resulted from policies intended to tackle social problems including Stop and Frisk, the Rockefeller Drug Laws, the Adoption and Safe Family Act, and more. Some of the devastating effects that these policies have had may have been avoided had there been an initial assessment to predict the detrimental harm the legislation could have caused communities of color.

Racial Equity Assessment in Legislation (REAL) is simple but essential. The bill would:
• Create a legislative committee on racial equity in the New York state assembly, which would conduct a racial equity impact assessment on all legislation proposed favorably in the chamber.
• The committee will identify state policies and actions that, in conjunction with public and private partners, can work to achieve conditions of racial equity.
• Review and make recommendations to align state statutes, regulations, programs, services and budgetary priorities.
• Search for any interdepartmental gaps, inconsistencies and inefficiencies in the implementation or attainment of the state policies and actions.
• Identify any new laws, regulations, programs, services, and budgetary priorities that are needed to ensure and promote desired conditions of racial equity.
• Serve as an informational resource for the New York state assembly.

The National Association of Social Workers – NYC Chapter, National Association of Social Workers - NYS Chapter, Katal Center for Health, Equity, and Justice, advocates, and community members demand the New York state assembly to pass REAL to create a racial equity committee that will protect and benefit all New Yorkers.

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