Equity and Inclusion
Equity, Inclusion, Affordable Housing, and Policing: The Path Forward for Davidson
In February 2020, the Davidson Board of Commissioners and management team held their annual strategic retreat. Coming out of that session was a draft strategic plan that included a new emphasis on Equity and Inclusion, including the creation of a new Housing and Equity Director position to manage the town’s affordable housing program as well as create a racial equity action plan for the town. In addition to racial equity action planning, the town board also prioritized the development of a new affordable housing strategy.
In the wake of the death of George Floyd, the town board directed staff to further accelerate the program as well as conduct a review of the Davidson Police Department's use of force policies through the lens of the 8 Can't Wait and the 21st Century Task Force on Community Policing.
At the July 14 town board meeting, Chief Dunn reported to the town board about the department’s use of force policies and has also asked for feedback from the community. To do that, the town is working to make the previous “No Agenda” public meetings with the chief possible through a virtual platform. Residents may view Chief Dunn’s presentation and view the PowerPoint and offer their input through SpeakUp on the town’s website at townofdavidson.org/speakup. Residents may also provide feedback by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org..
By the end of July, the town had posted the new Housing and Equity Director position and hopes to have someone hired by mid-fall. Work is also underway with a small group to develop a scope and issue a request for proposals for a consultant. The consultant will partner with the town and community to develop an updated affordable housing strategy to complement the programs the town already implements – new affordable units for purchase, down payment assistance, and critical repairs.
Additionally, staff is working to create an intensive racial equity education program in partnership with the Racial Equity Institute for all town board members, appointed advisory boards, and all town staff. This curriculum will work to educate everyone connected with the town in an institutional capacity on the role implicit bias plays in our current decision-making, the history of our government and economic systems from a racial equity perspective. We will learn how applying a racial equity tool to the town’s programs, policies and procedures can help begin the long-term work to dismantle racism. Town board and staff members are very excited about the new strategic direction and the future work.