Equity Initiatives


The vision of the City Council is that the City of Roanoke is a safe, caring, and economically vibrant community in which all have equitable opportunities to live, learn, work, play, and prosper.

One of the primary themes of City Plan 2040 is Interwoven Equity, wherein the City is committed to ensure fairness and equity in providing for the housing, services, health, safety, and livelihood needs of all residents and groups.

As the City of Roanoke continues to work toward these goals, each department has developed equity action plans, and the following items have been identified as organization-wide tasks.

Organization-Wide Equity Action Items

  1. Identify and require all staff to participate in diversity, equity, and inclusion training
  2. Create an equitable and inclusive workforce strategy
  3. Develop an overall resident or customer satisfaction survey
  4. Require diversity and learning moments at the start of all gatherings
  5. Develop and/or utilize apprenticeships, internships, and mentor programs
  6. Implement the Language Access Plan; provide training and outreach as necessary, and monitor usage on the department level

Each department completed a self-assessment, a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats), and a Department Equity Action Plan.

  1. Equity & Inequity
  2. Implicit & Explicit Bias
  3. Common Language

In many instances, equality and equity are used interchangeably.  However, there are some important distinctions between these two phrases.  Equality suggests a condition in which all receive treatment, opportunities, or resources that are the same.  In the graphic shown below, all four individuals receive a bicycle that is nearly identical.  However, we recognize that not everyone has the same needs and resources and not everyone encounters the same challenges.  That is why, in the City of Roanoke, our focus is on EQUITY.  Our vision is for everyone to be able to reach their same goals and to have the same opportunities and outcomes.  This means that some people will need different support, tailored resources, or additional assistance.  In the graphic below, equity is achieved when each individual receives a bicycle that fits their needs and abilities.  

Most often, inequity can be ultimately linked to the race by which one is identified.  It follows, then, that equity work would first focus on those with racial identities that have been historically marginalized and under resourced.  The Government Alliance on Race and Equity defines racial equity as "the condition that would be achieved if one’s racial identity no longer predicted, in a statistical sense, how one fares.  When we use the term, we are thinking about racial equity as one part of racial justice, and thus we also include work to address root causes of inequities, not just their manifestation."