Washtenaw Hires First Racial Equity Officer

Alize Asberry Payne was named Washtenaw County’s first-ever Racial Equity Officer

Alize Asberry Payne was named Washtenaw County’s first-ever Racial Equity Officer in July, a position that was created after county commissioners passed Washtenaw’s racial equity ordinance. Payne, with over 20 years of experience in community organizing and programming, mostly in San Francisco but for the last three years in Detroit, will be tasked with “address(ing) racial inequities within our organization and its services,” according to the County Administrator. Payne explained that her strategy will focus on “collective accountability,” equipping the people most directly affected by an issue to take leadership roles. Within her first six months on the job, she said she will complete a community assessment and start work on a five-year plan towards eliminating racial discrimination and geographical disparity in Washtenaw County.