June 16, 2020
June 16, 2020
By Tracey Wareing-Evans, President & CEO of American Public Human Services Association and Academy Fellow
As public administrators working to advance the public good, we want every human being to be safe and healthy with the opportunity to live a happy, vibrant life. Administrators in all areas—education, transportation, energy, health, human services, commerce, environmental protection, and elsewhere—contribute to a free and equal civil society.
Widespread civil unrest is rolling across the nation in the wake of a long line of unconscionable deaths of Black men and women at the very hands of a system meant to protect. And, as laid bare by the COVID-19 pandemic, multiple systems we helped build and operate have enabled, and far too often exacerbated, structural inequities that trace race and income lines. These events have spotlighted how deeply embedded our nation’s history of bias and discrimination is built into the very fabric of our health, social and economic systems.
In 2019, the National Academy of Public Administration identified “Foster Social Equity” as one of the 12 Grand Challenges in Public Administration. In fact, social equity is a key element in advancing all of the Grand Challenges. The pandemic has further revealed the uneven foundation on which our society is built. Stark health disparities are deeply intertwined with social injustice, wealth and income inequality, housing discrimination, broadband access, and quality childcare and education.