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About The Equity Assessment

The Forward Pinellas Board adopted the Equity Assessment Action Plan in an effort to ensure all work at Forward Pinellas is inclusive and results in equitable outcomes for our entire community.  Launched in 2020, the Equity Assessment was the first step in identifying our community needs and opportunities to help remove existing barriers to transportation, jobs, education, housing that’s affordable and other resources. Our goal is to ensure that our mission to “provide leadership to align resources and plans that help to achieve a compelling vision for Pinellas County, our individual communities and our region” is both inclusionary and equitable. As part of the assessment, Forward Pinellas conducted research, stakeholder engagement, and analysis for the development of a forward-looking strategic plan to enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion within Forward Pinellas staff, governance and committee structure, as well as Forward Pinellas’ work products. Staff researched the systems, policies, and practices that have resulted in inequity, particularly among ethnic minorities, in Pinellas County, and developed a series of actions to ensure that our work as the countywide planning agency is inclusive and results in equitable outcomes for the entire community.

Goals and Objectives Identified in the Equity Assessment Action Plan Include:

  • Increasing community voice for historically excluded communities
  • Building communities of opportunity
  • Developing equitable access to transportation, jobs, education, and homes
  • Strengthening awareness and partner collaboration

Project Contact: Angela Ryan

Email: aryan@forwardpinellas.org

Phone: 727.464.8250

Project Intern: Alex Burns

Email: aburns@forwardpinellas.org

What is “Racial Equity”

Racial equity is realized when race can no longer be used to predict life outcomes, and outcomes for all groups are improved.

~ Racial Equity Alliance~

What We Heard

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“More than 70% of our most dangerous roadways in Pinellas County are in low income and minority communities,” said Forward Pinellas Chair and Indian Rocks Beach Mayor Joanne Cookie Kennedy. “I am proud the Forward Pinellas Board adopted this Equity Action Plan to make strides to keeping all people safe on our roadways.  I’m looking forward to finding solutions to ensure everyone has access to jobs, transportation, education and affordable homes.”

What Else Did We Look At?

Equity Emphasis Area Map
Click to Download

The Equity Emphasis Map is a vital facet of the Equity Assessment as it serves as documentation of existing census data on households representing minority, low-income, limited English speaking and no vehicle statuses.  This data will be an essential tool for our analysis, research, outreach and advocacy.

This map details the equity emphasis areas within Pinellas County by U.S. Census Tract. Equity emphasis areas include areas with high minority populations, high populations of minorities without vehicle access due to poverty, high populations of limited English-speaking households, or areas where all of those criteria are met. These criteria are based on county-wide averages previously identified through our Environmental Justice Analysis.

Where Are We Now?

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Our Next Steps

“At Forward Pinellas, we are ethically bound to serve the public interest work to achieve more socially just decision-making not only through our agency’s mission, but also the AICP Code of Ethics,” says Forward Pinellas Executive Director, Whit Blanton, FAICP. “This assessment is the first step to looking introspectively at our work as an agency and working to break down barriers for everyone, especially those from underrepresented communities in Pinellas County.”

As we come to the end of our equity assessment, what we’re reminded of is that the assessment is just the beginning. Committing to equity is ongoing work, and as such, we are moving forward from this equity assessment with the aforementioned action items, monitoring, and reporting. We are also moving forward honoring the lived experiences of historically excluded communities who provided honest and essential stories which formed the equity policies. Our goal is to create long-lasting relationships through investing resources in transformational approaches to public engagement. Specifically, through allocating time and resources on expanding opportunities for historically excluded populations in Pinellas County. We sincerely thank the many organizations, individuals and agencies who assisted us with this assessment and look forward to many more years of equity-based collaboration.

equity process