Marin County is counted among the wealthiest in the country. Yet, despite its progressive values, the recent Race Counts report ranks the county as the most racially disparate in the state of California. Almost every indicator — incarceration rates, health, education, housing, and economic opportunity — reveals a sharp divide among white people and communities of color. Several organizations are doing important anti-racist work in the county, but these have tended to separate people of color and white allies — and none include youth representation.
The Racial Equity Program is a bold new program that seeks to bring youth of color and their white allies together to implement racial justice policy change. Over the next few months, the program will be hiring a multi-racial cohort of students — 10 white students and 10 youth of color — to craft a racial equity agenda for the county.
This two-year program will launch with retreats and trainings for the two groups, creating safe space for each group to explore race and racism, and how it shapes racial identity in Marin. The groups will then come together to share experiences and to dialogue about identities, and each group’s role in addressing racism.
Based on this powerful foundation of shared understandings, empathy, transparency, and allyship, the cohort will begin year two of the program by examining how structural racism shapes housing, transportation, immigration, health, and education in Marin — and how these create barriers to success for youth of color. The list will be shared with decision makers across the county, and the cohort will select one of these issues to tackle through a policy campaign.
All Marin County residents between the ages of 12-21 years are eligible — ethnically and culturally diverse youth are highly encouraged to apply. Program participants are expected to attend a day long introduction to social justice retreat, followed by weekly meetings where they will explore racial formation and the impacts of race and racism in the Marin community.