By Corinne Murdock
One of the first items on Tucson City Council’s meeting list last week concerned making August 15 through September 15, 2021, “Equity, Diversity, & Inclusiveness Month.”
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are often referenced together, but each are individual concepts with their own definitions. Diversity concerns differences like race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, gender identity, religion, caste, tribe, and socio-economic status. Equity differs from equality. Rather, equity focuses on equality of outcome. Inclusion is a combined practice of diversity and equity; oftentimes, it signifies inclusion of diverse individuals for equitable outcomes.
Tucson set aside time for this initiative as they continue their search for a chief equity officer for their new Office of Equity. Earlier this summer, Mayor Regina Romero and the council funneled $500,000 into the office with the approval of the budget. The Chief Equity Officer could have a salary ranging from nearly $81,000 to around $143,000.
The city didn’t appear to search too far for the leader of their six-figure investment. The city affiliates with a network called Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE) who assisted in designing the chief equity officer role.
Out of three candidates for the equity role, Tucson officials chose the one affiliated with GARE – Roberto Montoya, a GARE regional manager. However, Montoya turned down the offer.
In addition to the chief equity officer, Tucson’s equity office will also have three program managers and an administrative specialist.