Roanoke City Council Created An Equity Advisory Board Two Years Ago. Here's What It's Been Up To.

Roanoke City’s panel on equity emerged in 2020 amid a nationwide reckoning over racism.

Roanoke City Council created an advisory board in July 2020 that would investigate issues of equity and recommend how the city could improve residents' lives. Vice Mayor Trish White-Boyd (at left) chairs the board. ROANOKE RAMBLER PHOTO ILLUSTRATION; EQUITY/EQUALITY GRAPHIC FROM CITY PLAN 2040, COURTESY OF THE ROBERT WOOD JOHNSON FOUNDATION; HISTORIC REDLINING MAP COURTESY OF REDLININGVIRGINIA.ORG.

Two years ago this month, Roanoke City Council formed an advisory board dedicated to equity.

“If the City gives everyone equal treatment regardless of their individual needs, then it may be unintentionally creating disparate outcomes,” the city’s master plan says. “Equity is the idea that different groups have different needs and should be provided services determined by their needs.”

But when the rubber hits the road — literally in the case of a car tax rebate — a recent disagreement between two leaders of Roanoke’s Equity and Empowerment Advisory Board illustrates just how sticky the concept of equity can be.