Mayor Ethan Berkowitz has asked the Anchorage Assembly to approve a $180,000-a-year Chief Equity Officer to monitor, track and enforce his so-called “equity agenda” on the citizens of Anchorage.
Berkowitz submitted an ordinance to this effect, which is slated for a public hearing at the Aug. 25 Assembly meeting. If he gets his way the municipality would create an Office of Equity and Justice directly answerable to the mayor and his social agenda.
Berkowitz’s equity officer would promote leadership and advancement for LGBTQ+ residents, communities of color, the disabled, immigrants and refugees.
Berkowitz’s description of the chief equity officer’s mission reflects the goals of many radical left-leaning activist organizations that have taken to the streets of America in recent weeks claiming the nation suffers from systemic racism, homophobia, misogyny and colonialism. What began as protests against police brutality quickly morphed into much broader demands for expanded LGBTQ rights, free housing, wealth distribution, the removal of historic monuments and the defunding of police departments.
Berkowitz’s equity officer would promote leadership and advancement for LGBTQ+ residents, communities of color, the disabled, immigrants and refugees. There is no mention of religious liberties or protections.
Other duties include developing “equity programs,” and establishing “equity data targets.” This includes collecting data to address “systemic disparities.” This information would be presented to the mayor and Assembly so they could eliminate perceived inequities through enforcement.
The equity officer would work closely with the Office of Equal Opportunity and the Anchorage Equal Rights Commission.
The chief equity officer’s mission would be to weave left leaning social justice principles into all levels of municipal governance.
In justifying his social justice monitor, the mayor claims that COVID-19 has “exposed persistent structural inequities,” and that the equity officer will focus on providing “health and wellbeing for all residents, particularly in response to the impacts of the pandemic.” It is clear, however, that Berkowitz has no intention of letting his equity officer go once the impacts of COVID-19 subside. His plan includes funding the position through 2024.
Ultimately the chief equity officer’s mission would be to weave left leaning social justice principles into all levels of municipal policies, procedures and general governance. This includes housing, food, climate change, legal issues, economics, and overall “justice issues.”
HOW TO PARTICIPATE IN THE ANCHORAGE ASSEMBLY JULY 28 MEETING
Due to COVID-19 concerns the Assembly will not allow in-person participation during the Aug. 25 meeting, which begins at 5 p.m.
- PHONE COMMENTS: If you wish to provide testimony via phone, email Testimony@anchorageak.govby 2 p.m. on Aug. 25. The email should include a name, phone number, agenda item number. The email subject line should state, “Phone Testimony.” When the Assembly reaches this agenda item, the clerk will phone you the number provided. Each person will have three minutes to provide testimony.
- EMAIL COMMENTS: Anyone wishing to provide public testimony can email written comments to Testimony@anchorageak.govby 2 p.m. on Aug. 25. These comments will become part of the meeting record. In the email subject line, indicate which agenda item you are providing testimony for (AO No. 2020-79).