This tool is designed to help us consistently address racial injustice, something we acknowledge is an ongoing learning process. This tool will be applied to every proposal, project, policy, communications effort, and outreach effort the coalition undertakes. The purpose of this tool is to make addressing racial equity second nature and to fully implement a racial justice lens into our coalition’s mission and work. We appreciate you bringing your vulnerability, integrity, and honesty to this work–as we all do–in our pursuit of a just, equitable, and prosperous Colorado.

Policy Development Tool:

(Adapted from Race Forward: The Center for Racial Justice Innovation)

Identifying Stakeholders

Which groups (racial/ethnic, religious, gender, sexual orientation, status, etc.) may be most affected by and concerned with the issues related to this proposal? Are they denied something that other groups have access to? Is their representation/access based on certain attributes?

Engaging Stakeholders

Have stakeholders from different groups–especially those most adversely affected–been informed, meaningfully involved, and authentically represented in the development of this proposal? Please describe. Are we mindful of the power dynamics at play, and are we seeking to shift them? Are we just paying lip service, or actually following through on our commitments? Who’s missing and how can they be engaged? Are we making space to hear and incorporate feedback from stakeholders? Are we inadvertently tokenizing?

Identifying and Documenting Racial Inequities

How is race a factor in this issue? How are people of different races affected differently? What quantitative and qualitative evidence of inequality exists?

Examining the Causes

What factors may be producing and perpetuating inequities associated with this issue? How did the inequities arise? Are they expanding or narrowing? Does the proposal address root causes? If not, how could it? Are we contributing to the issue? Is there anything we can do immediately to stop harmful activities? Who can help us understand the causes better?

Clarifying the Purpose

Using the examination of root causes, do we need to adjust what the proposal seeks to accomplish? Will it reduce disparities or discrimination? Is the proposal considerate of intersectionality–the crossing of multiple systems like class, race, gender, etc.–of the issue(s)?

Considering Adverse Impacts

What adverse impacts or unintended consequences could result from this policy? Who/how have we asked? Would the group be disadvantaged in another way by this policy? Would their access to certain resources be hindered or completely stopped? Which racial/ethnic groups could be negatively affected? How could adverse impacts be prevented or minimized? Questions to ask at this stage include:

  • How are the people “losing” power, resources, etc. going to react to this change?
  • Have stakeholders had a real opportunity to provide input on potential unintended consequences? Who do the engaged stakeholders speak for?
  • Who’s potentially left out of the benefits of this proposal? Is the proposal well-targeted?
Advancing Equitable Impacts

What positive impacts on equity and justice, if any, could result from this proposal? Which groups could benefit? Are there further ways to maximize equitable opportunities and impacts?

Ensuring Viability and Sustainability

Is the proposal realistic and adequately funded, with mechanisms to ensure successful implementation and enforcement? Are there provisions to ensure ongoing data collection, public reporting, stakeholder participation, and public accountability? Can we commit to the necessary work to carry it out? Were certain actions taken, including but not limited to:

  • Focus groups/meetings and discussions
  • Were changes made to the policy based on stakeholder input?
  • Did we ask people if they felt heard?
  • Did we keep people informed on next steps?
  • Are we inviting people to be part of leadership and maintaining that?
  • Are we connecting with people where they’re at, and on their terms?

If the above actions were not taken, why? Was it lack of capacity, political considerations, or other reasons? What action can we take to ensure that those reasons do not limit the voices of historically marginalized peoples?

Identifying Success Indicators

What are the success indicators and progress benchmarks? How will impacts be documented and evaluated? How will the level, diversity, and quality of ongoing stakeholder engagement be assessed? Have we reflected inwardly on how we potentially contribute to the problem identified? If this was not a policy win, did we successfully shift entrenched power dynamics?