June 30, 2020
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Dear Bay Area Equity Atlas Users,
The brutal murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police was a stark reminder of the racism that permeates our institutions, threatens Black life, and diminishes us as a nation. We cannot achieve inclusive prosperity without addressing police brutality. The Atlas team stands in solidarity with those protesting this unjust system and calling for transformative change, and we are pleased to see meaningful action steps in the region such as the Oakland and San Francisco school boards voting to remove the police from their schools. As our new analysis shows, police violence is a regional issue so we hope to see similar actions taken in many more Bay Area jurisdictions. Here are a few highlights of our recent work:
New Analysis: From Suburbs to Cities, Police Violence is a Region-wide Issue
To inform the discussion about police violence in our region, we took a deeper look at the use-of-force indicator in the Atlas, specifically examining incidents involving Black residents. In 2016 and 2017 combined, law enforcement agencies in 51 of the 101 Bay Area cities and towns reported use-of-force incidents, and Black people were disproportionately the victims: Of the nearly 200 incidents, one fifth involved Black people even though they make up just 6 percent of the region’s population. And while the absolute number of incidents were highest in the larger cities, the highest rates of use of force were in Pleasant Hill, Redwood City, and Dublin, all affluent, suburban communities with relatively small Black populations (each 5 percent or less). In Pleasant Hill, the rate of use-of-force incidents per 100,000 people is 169 for Black people compared to just 4 for White people.
Equity Data Informing Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors
On June 23, Sarah Treuhaft shared data on the state of equity in Contra Costa County with the county Board of Supervisors as a part of a panel discussion on equity issues amidst COVID-19 organized by the Contra Costa County Budget Justice Coalition. Her presentation described how the county’s population is increasingly diverse, yet the majority of its Black and Latinx residents were already economically insecure before the pandemic, and the virus and its economic fallout are exacerbating these racial inequities. The Budget Justice Coalition asked the Board of Supervisors to create an Office of Racial Equity and Social Justice to advance equity efforts in budgeting and operations and to provide meaningful opportunities for community input prior to the budget hearing in August.
Essential Workers in Sonoma and Santa Clara County
Following up on our profile of frontline workers in the region, we looked specifically at the essential workforce in Sonoma and Santa Clara counties. Frontline workers in these counties and the Bay overall are disproportionately Latinx, Black, and women of color, which could help explain why these populations are more likely to contract COVID-19. In Santa Clara County, Latinx workers represent 24 percent of workers in all industries but 36 percent of frontline workers. In Sonoma County, Black workers make up just 1 percent of all workers but are overrepresented in certain frontline industries, such as trucking, warehouse, and postal service where they make up 7 percent of workers. In both counties, essential workers are more likely to live in poverty, lack health insurance, and have no internet access at home. Read our analyses here.
The Bay Equity Atlas team