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New racial equity commission approved by Jackson city council


The Jackson city council has approved the creation of a new city department and a new commission to address racial equity.

The new Racial Equity Commission and the Department of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion will be led by John Willis, the city’s Chief Equity Officer. He plans to start with an assessment to identify what needs to be done.

Willis says there’s an important distinction between equality and equity.

“If I come into a room and there’s 100 people, and I bring 100 shirts, one size fits all, that’s equality," said Willis. "However, if I bring in 100 shirts and everyone gets a shirt in their size, then we have equity.”

There’s an application to serve on the commission on the city’s website. They’ll review policies and make recommendations aimed at promoting racial justice.

Three months ago, Jackson declared racism to be a public health crisis. The council created its Chief Equity Officer position and passed an LGBTQ non-discrimination ordinance.