Seal of Dane County County of Dane
Planning & Development

Racial and Gender Equity and Inclusion

In 2017, the Planning and Development Department initiated a discussion on diversity and inclusion that included race, ethnicity, culture, gender, age, abilities and other protected classes. Diversity, equity, and inclusivity are high priorities shared by both our County Executive and County Board, and in turn, our department.  

All county agencies are expected to discuss issues of diversity and equity, and to evaluate their respective internal operations and external services through this lens. Each county department is charged with having a strategic plan in place for how to promote equity and diversity in both our respective workplaces and the Dane County community as a whole.


Dane County Planning and Development Dept. Racial and Gender Equity and Inclusion Plan (RGEI), February 2020

Dane County Planning and Development Dept. developed a Racial and Gender Equity and Inclusion (RGEI) Plan over a two year period which was finalized in February of 2020. The RGEI plan provides a framework for the department whose overall purpose is to help guide and grow our understanding of discrimination, in all its forms, and any role we may play directly or indirectly. As we develop our awareness, and increase our ability to apply a racial and gender equity lens to our activities, the department will work to identify meaningful solutions that address inherent bias in any internal operations, or externally, in our engagement with the public and local partners. In addition, we will communicate about our ongoing efforts. 

General Public - Planning and Development Code of Conduct

Glossary of Terms - Racial and Gender Equity and Inclusion

This document provides common words that are used to describe different aspects of discrimination, and tools to better understand and measure it, and their definitions.

Ground Rules for Courageous Conversations is a resource we use to begin monthly department RGEI meetings. By offering suggestions on practical ways to listen, be open, and stay engaged during sometimes uncomfortable discussion, it has been a very useful support.

Dane County Planning and Development RGEI Plan Signature Page All Planning and Development Department staff members are asked to read and sign a letter of commitment that outlines the department’s priorities and expectations regarding our RGEI plan and activities.



Planning and Land Use Resources

Articles and Plans

Equity and Diversity Action Plan – WI Chapter of the American Planning Association, June 10, 2020 – This six page action plan is an excellent guidance document for planning and community development professionals working on the ground within communities and local government.

PAS Memo - More and Better: Increasing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Planning. American Planning Association. This memo discusses the challenges and opportunities of making diversity, equity and inclusion part of the urban planning profession. The article provides helpful definitions and their application in the profession, as well as a summary from interviews with seven planners.

Racial Equity in Planning Organizations, Journal of the American Planning Association


  • Jim Crow of the North - (57 mins) - A documentary produced by Minnesota Public Television that charts the advent of restrictive covenants (legal documents that explicitly forbid purchase of  a home or lot by someone other than a white person) from the turn of 20th century and the subsequent progression of racist policies and local community practices up to 1968 when the Fair Housing Act was passed.`
  • The Life an Times of Carson Gulley - (8.25 mins) - This brief Dane County documentary chronicles the life of Carson Gulley a chef for UW-Madison. Gulley was a civil rights pioneer in the state of Wisconsin, breaking racial barriers in teaching, radio, television, and housing, and doing it all prior to what we think of as the start of the modern civil rights movement.
  • City Rising Series Episode 1 - Legacy: (56 mins) This three-part documentary series by KCET explores the history of inequities in U.S. land policy and practice. The first episode covers the displacement of Native peoples, up to the enforcement of Jim Crow.

Municipal REI PRogram

Mapping Prejudice – Minneapolis, Minnesota Mapping Prejudice is a program developed by the University of Minnesota that set out to map all of the racial covenants in Hennepin County. The project was able to map, and show over time, where the covenants were located, how they spread, and the impacts on land use policy and homeownership for people of color.   

Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project - Segregated Seattle  - Seattle, Washington

Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project Slideshow - The slideshow explores Seattle segregation using maps, documents, photographs, and video oral history excerpts. It clarifies the distinction between segregation as practiced in southern states and Seattle's version. And it reveals shocking facts about hospitals that would not treat patients of color, stores that would not serve African Americans or Asian Americans, and real estate firms that organized neighborhoods to keep them segregated.

Dane County Municipal Resources

City of Madison

Equitable Workforce Plan (Affirmative Action Plan), City of Madison, Office of Equal Opportunity (EEOC) 

City of Sun Prairie

Presentation - Building Racial Equity and Inclusion in the City of Sun Prairie on Thursday, September 17, 2020
Civic Sun Prairie - Website  - Civic Sun Prairie is the name Sun Prairie has given their Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiative. 
Civic Sun Prairie - Video (7 mins) - A short video that introduces community members and businesses to this new initiative. 

General Racial Equity and Inclusion Education Resources


Allegories on Race and Racism (20 mins) - TEDx talk by Dr. Camara Jones, who shares four allegories on “race” and racism which illustrate through stories and metaphor how racism operates at institutional, interpersonal and internalized levels, as well as suggestions for how to be actively anti-racist.

Race, The Power of an Illusion Part 1 (60 mins) - This three-part documentary challenges the idea of race as biology and traces our current notions to the 19th century. It also demonstrates how race nevertheless has a continuing impact through institutions and social policies.

Thirteenth (1 hr. 40 min) - Filmmaker Ava DuVernay explores the history of racial inequality in the United States, focusing on the fact that the nation's prisons are disproportionately filled with African-Americans. The widespread and startling impacts on people of color due to discrimination in the criminal justice system is explored.  

For questions and comments regarding the content of the plan, please contact the Department of Planning and Development at, or