Media Contact: Elianor Aoun, Communications Associate 585-404-6906
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – Today, Catalyst California is delighted to announce that John Kim, President & CEO, and Dr. John Dobard, Vice President of Policy and Programs, have been appointed to the Racial Equity Commission and Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory (RIPA) Board, respectively, by California State Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon. The appointments come at a crucial time as California reckons with racial disparities that have only been exacerbated in the wake of the lingering COVID-19 pandemic and racial uprisings.
“The establishment of the Racial Equity Commission is a concrete step towards embedding equity across our government and finally addressing systemic racism that has plagued California since its inception,” said John Kim. "I am honored to serve on the commission with the goal of creating a more equitable and just society for all Californians and thank Speaker Rendon for the appointment to the commission."
The push to establish a Racial Equity Commission in California started with Senate Bill (SB) 17, which was introduced in the California Senate by Dr. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) in 2020. Co-sponsored by Catalyst California, Community Coalition, The Greenlining Institute, NextGen Policy, California State Council of SEIU, and Public Health Advocates, SB 17 was the result of over two years of community engagement, advocacy, and negotiations with the Governor and Legislature.
The Commission is tasked with creating a statewide Racial Equity Framework that includes various resources and tools to encourage racial equity and combat structural racism. In addition, the Commission will be ready to provide state agencies with technical assistance in improving racial equity through their policies and procedures.
Established in 2016, the RIPA Board collaborates with community stakeholders, law enforcement agencies, and academic researchers to eliminate racial and identity profiling and improve diversity and sensitivity in law enforcement in California. They do this through analyzing stop data and civilian complaint data, reviewing law enforcement training related to racial and identify profiling, and issuing policy recommendations through an annual report. The 19-member board is made up of community advocates, spiritual leaders, academics, attorneys, and law enforcement.
“The evidence is clear: people of color, particularly Black people, continue to be stopped, searched, and brutalized more often than White people across California,” said Dr. Dobard. “The Racial and Identify Profiling Advisory Board is crucial to eliminating these disparities, and I look forward to collaborating with my fellow board members to promote policies and practices to make this dream a reality.”
Catalyst California (formerly Advancement Project California) advocates for racial justice by building power and transforming public systems. We partner with communities of color, conduct innovative research, develop policies for actionable change, and shift money and power back into our communities.