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.



Dane County Administrative Practices Manual (APM) – Policies on Harassment and Sexual Harassment 

Prohibition of Harassment

Prohibition of Sexual Harassment

Organization Resources

Centro Hispano -  

Mission and Vision - Empowering Youth, Strengthening Families, Engaging the Community. Dane County will be a community where Latino families can aspire upward, to reach their personal goals and dreams because they feel engaged and strengthened with the tools for success. 

Empowering Youth - Centro focuses on shaping a better life for young Latinos. Our goal is to see Latino youth prepared to succeed in life by finishing school prepared for post-secondary education. Strengthening Families - Centro offers services to provide families with the basic support and resources they need to address a variety of issues affecting their everyday lives such as fraud, unemployment, legal issues, healthcare and much more. Building Community - Throughout the year Centro provides a constant space for Latinos of Dane County and their allies to gather. We hold over 100 community events a year that bring together local leaders and community members to shape the future for Latinos in Dane County, celebrate our cultural identity, and engage with each other. 

Hmong Institute -

Empowering community through education, health, and preservation of Hmong heritage. The Hmong Institute has programming in a wide range of areas including education in Hmong language and cultural enrichment; health including an annual health summit; community building with a variety of local partners including many networking opportunities; technical support to Hmong entrepreneurs; professional development; and a Hmong American Community certificate, find out more here

Latino Chamber of Commerce - 

Founded in 2003, the Latino Chamber of Commerce of Dane County represents the Latino and non-Latino business community in the greater Madison and surrounding cities. We assist and promote the interests of our members and community through advocacy and programs that make an overall impact to Dane County’s economic growth. The diverse relationship of our active members and partners is an ideal mixture of small business owners, corporate representatives, and government leaders.
As regional leaders, we are committed to promoting a favorable business climate, to advancing economic development, and to provide fair equitable access to the marketplace for emerging and existing businesses. Our members of small and medium-sized businesses are the backbone of our local economy which is why we strongly emphasize the importance of our Chamber of Commerce network and contacts.

Madison Black Chamber of Commerce - 

The Madison Black Chamber of Commerce’s goal is to support and empower Black business owners. We do this by providing visibility, opportunities, and resources to our members.  Through its numerous committees, the MBCC provides opportunities for business owners to network with one another and promote developments of interest to local business and the community.  Through its online directory and other publications, the MBCC helps members promote their business within the community and share success stories with other entrepreneurs.  

Urban League -

The mission of the Urban League of Greater Madison is to ensure that African Americans and other community members are educated, employed and empowered to live well, advance professionally and contribute to the common good in the 21st Century.  Formally established in 1968, the Urban League’s present-day economic justice work includes efforts such as providing employment training and career services for job seekers; delivering tutoring services and other enrichment programming to youth; and supporting broader efforts to promote community empowerment and celebrate Black cultural identity in the Greater Madison area.


YWCA’s strategic framework is the culmination of consultation and exploration with YWCAs across the country and reflects our legacy as a pioneering organization that squarely confronts social justice issues to make lasting, meaningful change. Our main focus areas guide our organization’s collective efforts at the national and local levels, with each YWCA association tailoring its approach to meet their community’s needs. YWCA focuses our mission-driven work on these areas to improve the lives of girls and women: Racial Justice and Civil Rights – Increasing equal protection and equal opportunity for people of color; Empowerment and Economic Advancement – Increasing economic opportunities for women and girls of color; and Health and Safety – Improving the health and safety of women and girls of color. 

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


  • Segregated By Design - examines the forgotten history of how our federal, state and local governments unconstitutionally segregated every major metropolitan area in America through law and policy.  Prejudice can be birthed from a lack of understanding the historically accurate details of the past. Without being aware of the unconstitutional residential policies the United States government enacted during the middle of the twentieth century, one might have a negative view today of neighborhoods where African Americans live or even of African Americans themselves. 
    “We can compensate for this unlawful segregation through a national political consensus that leads to legislation. And this will only happen if the majority of Americans understand how we got here. Like Jay-Z said in a recent New York Times interview, “you can't have a solution until you start dealing with the problem: What you reveal, you heal.” This is the major challenge at hand: to educate fellow citizens of the unconstitutional inequality that we’ve woven and, on behalf of our government, accept responsibility to fix it.
  • 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.
  • Sifting and Winnowing and Film Burning - with an introduction from the Director of PBS Wisconsin.

    This film, aired by PBS Wiscsonsin, exposes some of the history of housing discrimination in the City of Madison in 1962. Film production was supported, then later restricted by UW Madison, who denied its existence for decades. The film was finally allowed to be aired, and was  created by Llyod Barbee, and Stuart Hanisch. The link to the film is followed by a panel discussion that includes Kacie Lucchini Butcher, Director, UW Public History Project who found the footage, the Director of YWCA in Dane County Vanessa McDowell, Llyoyd Barbee’s adult children Daphenee Barbee Wootan, Rustam Barbee, historian Betty Banks. 

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.  

Link to the Mapping Prejudice Project done by Dane County Planning and Development and Boys and Girls Club of Dane County.

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