MADISON — Wisconsin is facing many challenges, but for Gov. Tony Evers, there’s no question about what needs to be the top priority.
“We have to make sure that we’re making equity and inclusion the most important issue in state government,” Evers said during the Governor’s Advisory Council on Equity and Inclusion meeting on Feb. 19, 2021.
Evers didn’t come up with that idea on his own. It’s the same Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) agenda liberals everywhere are pushing. Some call this “being woke.”
Diversity and inclusion might sound good at first, but to liberals those words are only tools in first demonizing and then fundamentally transforming America. They give a hint at their ultimate goal when bringing up equity.
Equity is not to be confused with equality, which means ensuring everyone has the same opportunities. Equity is the opposite of equality. Americans have long enshrined the idea of equality, believing that all people are created equal, with unalienable rights given to us by our creator. Equity, on the other hand, means everyone has the same outcomes, an idea rooted in communism, which is currently manifesting itself in America as Critical Race theory.
Evers’ equity and inclusion agenda is how he hopes to implement those policies in Wisconsin. He’s been working on this agenda for years, and since becoming governor, Evers is in a position to reshape state government according to that ideology.
2021-23 Budget Cycle
At the start of the current budget process, Evers instructed his state agency heads to make equity and inclusion a central theme in their budget requests. His final budget proposal released earlier this year includes over $50 million for equity and inclusion initiatives.
Just within the governor’s office itself, Evers wants to spend $5.2 million a year on his “Wisconsin for All” program. It would create a new cabinet level position for a chief equity officer. The program would fund a “diversity, equity and inclusion conference,” a fellowship program, and a “progress summit.” “Wisconsin for All,” would also set aside $232,800 a year for an “Equal Opportunity Paid Internship Program.”
Every state agency would add an equity officer position. To accommodate that, some agencies plan to reallocate existing positions and funds. For others, it could mean an additional expense of up to $81,000 a year. Every agency already has an equity and inclusion officer, but it’s currently an additional duty assignment, not a full-time position.
“A diverse, equitable, and inclusive government and society benefits all of us,” Evers wrote in his budget.
Health Equity Council
Evers began prioritizing equity and inclusion long before the current budget cycle. He got the ball rolling on this agenda soon after taking office. In March 2019, he issued Executive Order #17. That created his Health Equity Council. Its mission was to “improve health outcomes and reduce disparities” based on race, income, education, etc.
The Health Equity Council includes the Lt. Gov., the Department of Health Services (DHS), and the Department of Children and Families (DCF) among its 34 members. In November 2019, Evers brought the rest of state government on board with the equity and inclusion agenda by issuing Executive Order #59, which created the Governor’s Advisory Council on Equity and Inclusion.
Governor’s Advisory Council on Equity and Inclusion
One of the Advisory Council’s main responsibilities is to look for ways to make Wisconsin laws, regulations, and policies more equitable and inclusive. Its 31 members includes Dr. LaVar Charleston, the UW-Madison diversity expert who believes everything from white, western culture needs to be purged from public education. Charleston recently advised Madison Schools that principles like keeping a class on schedule and teachers teaching too much are examples of white supremacy.
The order also required every state agency to create an affirmative action advisory committee and develop equity and inclusion action plans. For many agencies, it was their first significant step towards becoming “woke.”
“We must intentionally address and dismantle individual and systematic racism,” Evers wrote in the order. “Equity and inclusion shall be the guiding principles and core values for every state workplace, program, activity, service, contract, and decision.”
After Evers issued his executive order, the Department of Revenue (DOR) dove right in. It not only formed the required advisory committee, it also formed a “SOAR Racial Justice Delivery Team” to generate recommendations for the committee. (SOAR is a management tool that stands for Strengths, Opportunities, Aspirations, Results.) DOR now plans to work with local community groups to focus on DEI and plans to update its mission statement to include DEI principles.
There will be mandatory training about implicit and explicit bias, regular anti-racism discussions, and other agency-wide events to promote DEI. Employees are encouraged to use their preferred pronouns in official email signature blocks. It’s also important to DOR to recruit, retain, and promote more under-represented groups than straight, white people. According to its action plan, DOR will include “DEI principles to yearly performance evaluations.”
Read more at the MacIver Institute.