About OERJ

Our Mission Statement

The Office of Equity and Racial Justice (OERJ) seeks to advance institutional change that results in an equitable transformation of how we do business across the City of Chicago enterprise. This includes the City’s service delivery, resource distribution, policy creation and decision-making. OERJ will do this by supporting City departments in normalizing concepts of racial equity, organizing staff to work together for transformational change, and operationalizing new practices, policies and procedures that result in more fair and just outcomes.​ 

Our Vision

Graffiti art of a hand holding a sign that reads "United We Heal"   

                   Diversity is our source of power.  

                   Engagement is how we do business.  

                   Our partnerships lead to transformation.  

                   Our prosperity is a mirror reflection of our City’s makeup

                   We are healers.  ​ 

Our Strategies

Support Community Healing

Catalyze city-wide momentum for healing that promotes building empathy, understanding of shared mutuality, and strengthens civic relationships

Build restorative tools and partnerships

Build capacity of government staff, shift power to those who are most impacted by a problem and transform policy to support those most impacted

Own Institutional Transformation

Drive organizational change efforts toward advancing racial equity in City policies, practices, and programs at a systems-level

Our Journey

Community Healing

January 2021 - Hosted Together We Heal Summit.

June 2021Passed ordinance making Juneteenth a City holiday

January 2022 - Launched Year of Healing focused on Reflecting, Reclaiming, and Reimagining

September 2022 - Hosted Year of Healing Summit. Announced recipients of $5M Creative PlaceKeeping Grants

May 2023 - Released Together We Heal Impact Report

May 2023 - Kicked off the Folded Map Action Kit, Together We Heal Edition

Tools & Partnerships

April 2020 – Created the Racial Equity Rapid Response Team

June 2020 - Launched Chicago Connected

September 2020 – Launched Equity Dashboard Phase 1 - Workforce Summary

July 2021 - Hosted Community Wealth Convening

November 2021 - Announced $15M investments in Community Wealth Building 

May 2023 - Released Community Wealth Building Report

Institutional Transformation

July 2019 – Mayor names first Chief Equity Officer

December 2019 - Launched Racial Equity Liaison Network

December 2019- Appointed the Equity Advisory Council

May 2021 - Published the Equity Statement of Principles

July 2021Declared Racism as a Public Health Crisis with the Department of Public Health

September 2021 – Launched Equity and Racial Justice Learning Cohorts

September 2022 – Published Budget Equity Goals

November 2022Codified Office of Equity and Racial Justice and the role of Chief Equity Officer into City law

June 2023 - Published City Department Racial Equity Action Plans