Council Elevates Racial Equity, Justice in Policy Work

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The world has changed. We adjusted. This week, the Bay Area Council Executive Committee under the leadership of Chair Mary Huss, President and Publisher of the San Francisco Business Times and Silicon Valley Business Journal, adopted a new workplan for the organization that adapts to a long-term COVID-19 world, and fully embraces and interweaves fighting racial injustice into every part of our work. The rethinking was led by the 22-member company CEOs and executives that Chair our policy, research and China committees, along with the staff.  A resounding 94% of our members think the Bay Area Council needs to be actively involved in racial justice.

The Council has also learned how to effectively operate in a virtual world under the COVID-19 shutdown, helping write or defeat legislation in Sacramento, helping get housing projects approved at city council meetings, delivering badly needed personal protective equipment from abroad, giving our members a “place” to compare notes and collaborate on shared problems, pushing out new research and baseline facts on our new reality, and so much more. To read one-pagers on each of our policy areas, visit here. Highlighting the continuing threat from COVID-19, Executive Committee member and Sutter Health President and CEO Sarah Krevans shared current insights in the recent surge in new infections, the impact on the healthcare system and the outlook for the coming months. Krevans also introduced Sutter Chief Medical Officer Steve Lockhart, who talked about the disproportionate impact the pandemic is having on communities of color and what Sutter is doing to respond.

Following the Executive Committee’s action, the Council’s Board of Directors welcomed Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs for a powerful discussion with Council CEO Jim Wunderman on racial issues and the great work he is doing to increase and expand economic opportunity in the Central Valley city he has led since 2016 since becoming its first Black (and youngest) mayor. Tubbs explained that the issues we are facing are not about acts of kindness; the issues are structural. It is going to take a lot of hard work to restructure our society to align with our values of providing liberty and justice for all, Tubbs said. Tubbs has gained national recognition for his program to provide residents with “universal basic income,” and the Board was treated to a trailer for an upcoming HBO documentary profiling the mayor’s inspirational work. The Council has been proud to partner with Mayor Tubbs in creating a vision for economic opportunity and stronger connections between the Bay Area and the Central Valley.

The Board also was honored to hear from Denise Bradley-Tyson about the Bernard J. Tyson Impact Fund she has founded to honor her late husband, the dynamic and influential national healthcare leader who served as Chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente and Chair of the Bay Area Council. Tyson passed away unexpectedly last November. Founded in partnership with the American Heart Association, an organization that was near and dear to Bernard, the Fund will work to advance affordable, equitable health care and social justice throughout the U.S. and the world.

Highlighting the stark racial and economic disparities that persist in the Bay Area, Bay Area Council Economic Institute Executive Director Jeff Bellisario gave a presentation on the disproportionate health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and shutdown on communities of color. See the presentation>>

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