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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Monday, June 27, 2022

New city racial equity coordinator hopes to improve social justice

Just four weeks into her new job as racial equity coordinator, Toriana Pettaway already has big plans for the future of social equality in Madison.

“I am an optimist,” Pettaway said. “I believe we are at a critical point where we can address issues in racial equity and bring about changes that we will see measurably over a period of time.”

The City of Madison recently created the new position of racial equity coordinator Oct. 9, although the initiative for racial equity and social justice has been in the works in the Madison area for the last two years. This preparation consisted of coordination with cities that already utilize this same type of social justice work, as well as designing a program specifically for the unique social environment of Madison.

“I am so excited to be in this role of equity coordinator for this city,” Pettaway said.  

Pettaway works closely with a core team and in conjunction with action teams that incorporate training and tools, data, communications and community connections in their developmental work. There are currently five agencies actively engaged in using the tools that Pettaway’s teams have developed.  

The principle goal of Pettaway and her team is for everyone to have a fair chance to be employed, equal opportunity for housing and value in their community.

“Injustice has been around for a very long time,” Pettaway said, explaining challenges the team faces. “It’s not an issue that we can say will be fixed by this time next year. It doesn’t work like that.”

Despite inevitable obstacles, Pettaway said she is confident in her team, as well as her support system.

“I definitely believe that with our awesome community partners coming together, collectively we can make this a better place to live,” Pettaway said. “Madison is a progressive, forward city, but there is a lot of work to be done.”

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