As a public agency, SANDAG has commitments and responsibilities related to social equity. The organization serves the people of the San Diego region, and answers to a Board of Directors and to the federal and state agencies that fund the agency’s work program. These stakeholders have a shared goal for the organization, the communities it serves, and the nation overall to achieve social equity for all. SANDAG operates its programs without regard to race, color, and national origin in compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.
In 2021, the Board of Directors adopted a Commitment to Equity statement that serves as the foundation for developing an Equity Action Plan that outlines how the agency will incorporate diversity, equity, and inclusion in all programs, projects, and policies. Within the statement are five expectations for what SANDAG’s Equity Action Plan will do:
- Inform how we plan, prioritize, fund, and build projects and programs
- Frame how we work with our communities
- Define how we recruit and develop our employees
- Guide our efforts to conduct unbiased research and interpret data
- Set expectations for companies and stakeholders that work with us
In early 2022, SANDAG partnered with experienced Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion consultants to guide the development of a draft plan, including stakeholder engagement. A survey of internal and external stakeholders representing organizations familiar with SANDAG’s equity-related work was conducted in May 2022. Themes from the survey results were used to design a series of five workshops held in June and July 2022. The workshop discussions were designed to align the organization and prioritize outcomes, goals, strategies, and metrics for the plan.