State News

Democratic government officials band together to repair workplace inequity

Executive Order 59 lays groundwork to address racial disparities within employment by initiating training on systemic racism, ensuring transparency within companies and facilitating greater means of communication about opportunities. 

Executive Order 59 lays groundwork to address racial disparities within employment by initiating training on systemic racism, ensuring transparency within companies and facilitating greater means of communication about opportunities. 

Image By: Katie Scheidt

Signed the day of his inauguration, Gov. Tony Evers’ first executive order required state agencies to develop and implement policies preventing discrimination against members of the LGBTQ+ community. 

58 proclamations later, Evers established accountability and higher standards for equal employment.

Acknowledging the responsibility of the Wisconsin government to “secure and defend” inherent rights, Executive Order 59 sets anti-discrimination goals for all state agencies Tuesday during a press conference at Hill Farms State Office Building.

Evers, along with Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes and Rep. Sheila Stubbs, D-Madison, announced the proclamation directing the Wisconsin Dept. of Administration to develop inclusion training plans for all state agencies and creates the Governor's Advisory Council on Equity and Inclusion.

“We must intentionally address and dismantle individual and systemic racism, discrimination and bias through thoughtful and ongoing implementation of culturally responsive and equitable policies and practices,” read the executive order signed by Evers.

In addition to state-wide training in systemic racism and cultural sensitivity, the order instructs the State Council on Affirmative Action to devise new communication strategies for agencies to use to reach more diverse employment candidates through widespread disemission of opportunities. 

All agencies are required to produce an equity and inclusion plan, as well as present transparent data collection to ensure improvement of equity progress. 

“Equity and inclusion should be the guiding principles and core values for every state workplace, program, activity, service, contract and decision,” the executive order states. 

Stubbs also introduced legislation Tuesday with Sen. Lena Taylor, D-Milwaukee, to establish a Council for Equity and Inclusion and the Office for Equity and Inclusion. The two entities would work together to create and then implement supplemental interventions across Wisconsin, establishing new plans annually.  

She calls the bill a call to action to address and create awareness surrounding racial inequities that have ‘worsened over the last forty years.’ 

“Disparities among black and white residents of our state — spanning poverty, unemployment, educational attainment, and incarceration — have been documented consistently for more than a decade and this bill is a framework to address the root causes that are leading us to systemic racism,” Stubbs stated. 

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