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Oakland to Create ‘Dept. of Race and Equity’

The city of Oakland has hired the director of Portland’s Office of Equity and Human Rights to head a new ‘Department of Race and Equity,” the East Bay Citizen reports.

Dante James, 57, who has led the Portland department since 2012, makes over $147,000 in Portland, but Oakland Mayor Charlie Hales’ staff and James stated that Oakland will pay his salary for a three-month period to lead the new Oakland department.

On June 22, a special Oakland City Council meeting was called; the council members voted unanimously to pass an ordinance that would create the race and equity department.

The ordinance was initially brought by Councilwoman Desley Brooks in February. At the June meeting, Brooks listed issues indicating the city’s “systemic” inequalities, including the color of the grass in East Oakland.

James was suggested to Brooks by James’ sister, Dana King, a former television anchor and Oakland City Council candidate. After Brooks and James conversed on the phone, they met in June at the Governing for Racial Equity conference in Seattle.

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