Treasury Department Announces First Members of Formal Advisory Committee on Racial Equity

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by KnowESG
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U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen announced the inaugural members of the Treasury Advisory Committee on Racial Equity in connection with the annual Freedman's Bank Forum. The committee, which is the first of its kind, will advise and report to Secretary Yellen and Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo on efforts to enhance racial equity in the economy and address acute disparities for communities of colour.

The Committee will identify, monitor, and examine aspects of the domestic economy that have created adverse conditions for communities of colour, both directly and indirectly. The Committee intends to address issues such as financial inclusion, access to credit, housing stability, federal supplier diversity, and economic development, among others.

Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen said: 

"A critical piece of executing on our racial equity goals is bringing a wide set of outside perspectives and lived experiences to the decision-making table. The Treasury Advisory Committee on Racial Equity, made up of members with wide-ranging backgrounds and expertise, will provide important insight and advice to leadership across the department to bolster and inform our equity efforts.” 

The Committee's initial 25 members come from a variety of disciplines, including academia, advocacy, financial services, and local government. Members share a similar experience and working knowledge of the effects of economic policy decisions on communities of colour, as well as a strong commitment to improving racial equity.

Michael Nutter, the former Mayor of Philadelphia and the David N. Dinkins Professor of Professional Practice in Urban and Public Affairs at Columbia University, will lead the Committee, while Felicia Wong, President and CEO of the Roosevelt Institute, will serve as vice-chair.

“I am deeply honoured to have been asked to serve, and provide leadership, for this inaugural effort,” Nutter said. “The creation of this Committee is a shining example and testament to the commitment of Secretary Yellen, Deputy Secretary Adeyemo, Counselor Bowdler, and so many others in the Treasury Department who are focused on the task at hand - how do we find, focus and factor into programs and policies the issue of racial equity. Equity, combined with opportunity, can mean prosperity for all Americans, especially for so many of us who are members of communities of colour. Secretary Yellen and Deputy Secretary Adeyemo have truly created an esteemed group of professionals, practitioners and partners in the struggle for racial and economic equity, and I cannot wait to get to work."

"I appreciate the opportunity to serve on the Advisory Committee and for the leadership of Secretary Yellen, Deputy Secretary Adeyemo, Counselor Bowdler, and many others to make racial equity central to the Treasury Department's mission,” Wong said. “Any efforts to address inequality in the United States must account for the legacy of racial exclusion built into our economy. I look forward to working with this distinguished group of leaders to propose ways to harness Treasury's power and authority to redress these harms, toward a more just and equitable future."

Members will serve a two-year term and work with Janis Bowdler, Treasury's Counselor for Racial Equity. The charter of the Committee is formed by agency authority and in compliance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA).

The Committee is the result of a department-wide equity assessment done by the Treasury last year. In that assessment, the team set a goal of creating a formal way to get feedback and suggestions from people on the ground about racial equity efforts.

Source: US Department of the Treasury

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