Herrera forms Racial Equity Task Force to address racial equity and enhance diversity and inclusivity at City Attorney’s Office

‘The employee make-up of the City Attorney’s Office should reflect the community it serves. We’ve made good progress, and this task force will support additional efforts.’

City Attorney Dennis Herrera

SAN FRANCISCO (Dec. 9, 2020) — City Attorney Dennis Herrera announced today he has formed a Racial Equity Task Force to develop recommendations and action steps to enhance his office’s racial diversity and equity practices in hiring, professional development and culture.

The task force is comprised of a racially and ethnically diverse group of employees who range in job classification, tenure and team and who are representative of the office’s racial diversity, gender diversity and LGBTQ+ staff.

“Our office has long had a vision for racial equity that we strive to achieve,” Herrera said. “The creation of a Racial Equity Task Force is the next step in continuing that work. We need to address inequities head on. The task force will propose concrete strategies that will help our office create more equitable opportunities in outreach, hiring and professional development. These are complex issues that need to be faced, and we are committed to creating a more diverse and inclusive workplace. The employees of the City Attorney’s Office should reflect the clients, constituents and community it serves. We’ve made good progress, and this task force will support ongoing and additional efforts.”

Led by Chief of Complex and Affirmative Litigation Yvonne R. Meré and Port General Counsel Michelle Sexton, the Racial Equity Task Force will focus its efforts on increasing racial equity, diversity and inclusivity in:

  • Outreach, recruiting and hiring
  • Enhancing office culture
  • Retaining our diverse workforce

The task force will gather feedback, develop strategies and create policy proposals toward increasing cultural awareness and improving equity and diversity in its focus areas. These recommendations may include suggestions on how to leverage the office’s professional contacts and internship program to increase racial equity and diversity, as well as how to improve internal processes.

While the members of the task force will dedicate time working on these issues, all staff in the office will be invited to provide input and feedback in developing measures toward these goals.

“We want nothing less than to make our office the best it can be,” Herrera said.

As the first Latino elected to the position of San Francisco City Attorney, Herrera recognizes the value and importance of diversity, inclusion and racial and gender equity, not only in the legal work that the office does, but also in hiring practices, employee retention and office culture.

City Attorney Herrera has championed legal work that directly supports racial equity and vulnerable populations in San Francisco, including being deeply involved in sanctuary issues around immigration, and fighting to ensure that the 2020 U.S. Census is fair and accurate, all of which affect communities of color.

In addition, the office aims to foster a diverse and inclusive workplace with gender and racial equity. The office’s commitment to being a welcoming and diverse workplace extends to professional development and training as well. In 2019 more than 250 employees engaged in both a fairness in hiring training and an implicit bias training so that people could become more aware of how attitudes or stereotypes may affect understanding, actions and decisions in the hiring process and in the workplace. We are looking to the task force to recommend and develop additional trainings and discourse around issues of equity, race, diversity and inclusivity.