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Denver City Council passes new equity package

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Posted at 6:34 AM, Aug 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-11 08:34:38-04

DENVER — The City of Denver recently announced the passage of a new equity package that will target institutional racism in various city agencies.

“For the City of Denver, equity is achieved when a person's social identity no longer predicts life outcomes. Essentially, what equity means is there are no disparities,” said Denver’s Interim Chief Equity Officer Kimberly Desmond.

Desmond said to work toward this goal, city council approved two new bills.

One bill updates the city's municipal code to prohibit discrimination based on protective hair styles.

The bill is similar to the Crown Act that state lawmakers passed earlier this year.

Another bill replaces the term "illegal alien" with "worker without authorization" in city legal documents.

“It’s important because it really gets us away from not only the term, but what it means to the community. Immigrants and refugees are not illegal, they're not aliens — they're human beings,” said Atim Otii, Denver’s director of the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs for Human Rights and Community Partnerships.

“Equity is most certainly about providing access and giving resources for individuals to thrive in our city. By doing that, you actually close the gaps in disparities in various areas and systems such as education, housing, and health,” Desmond said.

Desmond said each city department is also required to create equity plans and strategies to ensure that employees are focusing on equity in programs, policies, and budget decisions.