‘Social Impact Firm’ Tapped to Create City of Dallas ‘Racial Equity Plan’

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City of Dallas. | Image from franckreporter

The “Racial Equity Plan” (REP) commissioned by the city of Dallas will focus on economic development, housing, and education.

“This is the first time the city is addressing racial equity in a way that will guide investment and strategy,” said Harold Hogue, CoSpero managing partner. “We know this racial equity plan is not going to close every disparity overnight but it is a really solid, intentional step and the city of Dallas should be commended for taking it.”

CoSpero, a Dallas-based “social impact firm,” will create the City of Dallas REP in collaboration with Dallas community members. Hogue’s co-managing partner is Lauren Coppedge.

“Our team, who are mostly former educators, applied to a City of Dallas project posting seeking candidates that had experience leading robust community engagement strategies and the strategic planning process,” Hogue told The Dallas Express. “We live at the intersection of community engagement and strategic planning. So, we felt like we were a really good fit for it. Equity is at the center of everything we do.”

One out of every 4.6 Dallas residents lives in poverty, according to media reports.

“Dallas is historically a place where the Ku Klux Klan once had their strongest foothold in the country,” Hogue said in an interview. “This is a place that is in the heart of Texas. So, it has no shortage of horrendous racial discrimination and hate that once was the story of Dallas. That, in itself, historically has contributed to enormous gaps.”

As previously reported, the overall poverty rate is 21.8% in Dallas, although the city is home to 32,715 individuals who have a net worth of up to $30 million.

“In such a city full of wealth and opportunities, we have a significant way to go in regards to health disparities and education disparities,” said Hogue, who lives in South Dallas. “There are some neighborhoods that still don’t have access to fresh fruit, vegetables, or even a grocery store in close proximity. We’ve got a lot of families here that need government and others to step up and do a better job. As for infrastructure, some folks are still on wells. So, we’ve got work to do.”

Once completed in Summer 2022, the REP is expected to help the city prioritize and establish measurable goals and accountability metrics to improve racial equity.

“We are meeting with every single department at the city level two to three times,” Hogue said. “We will be having meetings internally to have this conversation and set these measures. Externally, we will be meeting with folks who’ve been on the front line of this work to hear their opinion and reactions to what we’re trying to do. All of it is happening at the same time because they have to play off of one another.”

Hogue, who’s originally from Indianapolis, moved to Dallas about ten years ago to work as a Dallas ISD eighth-grade science teacher. He also coached youth football and track in South Dallas.

“That’s where I fell in love with the community and realized that with all of the community’s brilliance and perspective, it didn’t have the direct influence and power it needed to have in partnership with some of our systems that provide programs, schooling, and services to the community,” Hogue added. “CoSpero started to bubble in my mind at that time.”

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