In 2020, the City of Philadelphia made history by creating its first Citywide Racial Equity Strategy.  Today the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI) celebrates the signing of Executive Order 6-23, which deepens Philadelphia’s commitment to racial equity.  The Executive Order reaffirms the City’s commitment to addressing deep race-based disparities that exist in Philadelphia and pledges the City to continued action to eliminate racism and racial discrimination from the City’s governing policies, systems, and structures.  

What is the history of Philadelphia’s Racial Equity Strategy?  

Executive Order 6-23 builds upon the work done under Executive Order No. 1-20, which Mayor Kenney signed in January 2020. Since 2020 the City’s Racial Equity Strategy has resulted in:  

  • Hundreds of Employees Trained: Since 2020, the City has worked with an external consultant to provide comprehensive racial equity training to more than 300 City employees.  
  • 32 Department Racial Equity Plans: As of September 2023, 32 city departments and agencies have created initial racial equity action plans setting forth bold strategies to address racial disparities in government policies, programs, and operations. Annual updates on these plans are shared on the City’s first Racial Equity Strategy Dashboard.  
  • Dedicated Millions of Dollars to Racial Equity Priorities: ODEI has partnered with the Budget Office to center racial equity in the annual budget process. This has resulted in millions of dollars in investments for racial equity strategies, programs, and staff.   
  • Launched the City’s First Racial Equity Community of Practice:  In June 2023, ODEI worked with a group of City leaders to create Philadelphia’s first Racial Equity Community of Practice. This monthly group acts as a training & development space for City employees to learn about and workshop racial equity initiatives. 

What does this executive order do?  

This executive order builds upon that existing work by memorializing Philadelphia’s progress, deepening our existing strategies, and committing new resources to this work.  

Executive Order 6-23 includes four core elements:  

  1. Committing to annual racial equity action planning and budgeting for racial equity  
  2. Formally establishing the City’s racial equity community of practice  
  3. Creating department-specific and citywide racial equity performance measures 
  4. Empowering all City departments to designate a Racial Equity Manager 

Committing to Annual Racial Equity Action Planning and Budgeting for Racial Equity  

All City departments have created initial racial equity action plans, and now we are asking departments to annually update those plans. This makes sure that the City’s strategies to address systemic racism are revisited often and revised as needed.  

Departments are also required to consider racial equity in their City’s annual budget process. This may look like dedicated resources to the racial equity action plans, so that they can be implemented effectively. This will also involve departments using data and performance measures to track how their investments impact racial equity across the city.  

Formally establishing the City’s Racial Equity Community of Practice  

The Executive Order officially creates a group for all City employees to focus on racial equity in City government. The Racial Equity Community of Practice is led by City employees and meets monthly to provide training, learning, and resources to departments as they strategize for racial equity.  

Creating department-specific and citywide racial equity performance measures 

We know that action plans and commitments are hollow without accountability. That is why this Executive Order requires ODEI to establish performance measures for racial equity for the City and for individual departments. These performance measures will be part of the City’s plan to track progress over time.  

Empowering all City departments to designate a Racial Equity Manager 

To do all the work laid out in this Executive Order, the City needs dedicated leaders to oversee and guide departments’ strategies. This Executive Order empowers all City departments to designate a Racial Equity Manager for this purpose. Racial Equity Managers will help bridge the gap between departments, ODEI, and the Mayor—ensuring that we are all working together to create a more equitable Philadelphia.  

Why now?  

We recognize that principles and practices of diversity, equity and inclusion have been challenged and attacked across many sectors. Meanwhile, Philadelphia continues to experience racial/ethnic disparities across many indicators of well-being. Our commitment to racial equity is rooted in our mission to serve Philadelphians while creating the equitable conditions for all residents to thrive.