A topic we will be reading about for years to come.
As I look back on my career in emergency management, I think the topic of equity and social justice and how it fits into our work and how we will apply it within our individual communities will perhaps be one of the more difficult concepts to understand and to achieve. If you are looking for a conference topic that people need to hear about — this is it!
I was in Portland, Ore., last week for a two-day Disaster Recovery Workshop. I was able to only attend one day, but I had the opportunity to hear and take notes on the talk that Alessandra Jerolleman, Ph.D., gave on the subject below. She of course talks much faster than I can type and the PowerPoint slides flew by. I apologize for the cryptic nature of my notes. Alessandra and I first met virtually due to our mutual interest in disaster mitigation. I recommend her as a speaker on this new subject area. See also her book, Disaster Recovery Through the Lens of Justice.
Equity and Social Justice
It is sometimes easy to see things that are unjust. Building a program to make for equity is much harder.
Definition of equity: Freedom from bias or favoritism, dealing fairly and equally with all concerned.
Access to networks, supports resources and opportunities. The things people need to survive and thrive; to get where they want to go.
Equality and equity graphic. Equal access does not lead to equal outcomes. It is not the height of the people, but the starting point, the height of the fence (referring to a well-known graphic).
What is justice?
What do we mean by a human rights framing? Rights due to all individuals such as a right to food, clothing, health, etc.
Groups that can experience inequity, e.g., low-income households
Equity in EM
Equity, justice, inclusion, transparency and accountability, human rights and civil protections
Principles for Just Recovery
Within EM and Government
Partners and Community Organizations Can Help
Portland Ore.'s Approach:
City Asset Managers Group
Worked within bureaus and the across bureaus.
Governance to bridge — emergency powers and business as usual
Looked at Community Center Resilient Oasis
Next Steps in Portland:
Formalize the group. Who should own it
Add staff/budget to do this work
Engage port, utilities, community advocates
[Here at this workshop … lots of references to the Oregon Resilience Plan.]