Equity Element Group Emphasizes Opportunities for Future Generations
In honor of Black History Month, we’re sharing an update on the work of the Equity Element Group.
On June 23, 2020, the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors declared racism a public health crisis and tasked the County Administrative Office with forming an equity group that would represent the 11th element of the Countywide Vision. The group includes Black community members who review the Countywide Vision with an equity focus. The goal of the group is to help San Bernardino County close gaps in services and opportunities for Black residents and people of color who live and work in the county.
Terrance Stone, founder and CEO of Young Visionaries Youth Leadership Academy, President of the Southern California Black Chamber of Commerce High Desert Chapter, and Equity Element Group member provided an update noting, “We want to make sure that what we do now will positively impact future generations of young people in the county.”
He shared that the group is looking at issues such as education, hiring processes, and even achieving parity in work and contracts. For example, he adds, “Are African Americans obtaining contracts at the same rate and at the same level of other nationalities in the county?”
Stone noted that the group is seeking to build out a framework that will cover education, training, marketing, and even promotion of county businesses. “African Americans are approximately 10 percent of the county population, but we don’t benefit from as many resources in our community. We're trying to figure out how we can allocate the right number of resources to gain greater parity,” said Stone.
Several Town Halls have been held across the region so the Equity Element Group can better understand the diversity and multitude of issues impacting communities. “We need to understand the commonalities across the region and how we can move together to make the best choices for the whole community,” Stone added.
Through his work on the Equity Element Group and with Young Visionaries Youth Leadership Academy, Stone wants young people to know that they can build a stronger career where they are from here in San Bernardino County.
“Young people need to know that San Bernardino County has produced some of the greatest brands in America. The places they eat such as McDonald's, Del Taco, and Bakers all started here. There is a lot of opportunity right here,” Stone shared.
Stone’s work with Young Visionaries provides many of those opportunities. The organization works with students on over 35 school campuses in San Bernardino, Rialto and the High Desert as well as students in juvenile hall. He has been instrumental in diffusing conflicts between gangs and is aware that without jobs, young people will take on negative behaviors. For that reason, Stone developed a workforce development program which provides training, jobs, and a reason to stay focused on school subjects. The group also provides mentoring and a mental health program called Successfully Motivating African Americans through Resiliency Training (SMAART) funded through the Department of Behavioral Health.
Stone is proud of the impact his organization has had on so many young people. That sentiment is reflected in his work today with both his non-profit and the Equity Element Group.
“We want to make sure that our future generations are okay. They shouldn't have to fight as hard. We also want them to be prepared to handle anything that comes their way, so we’re going to provide the best tools they need to be successful to stay here and build here.”