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Sanford Equity Task Force Initiative

Building Integrated Communities (BIC) is strengthening collaborations with Sanford and Lee County communities through its participation in the City of Sanford Equity Task Force. The Task Force, created in the fall of 2020 by the Sanford City Council, will spend a year examining and making recommendations to dismantle racial and ethnic disparities in the city and county. The UNC BIC team is supporting the work of the Task Force by conducting research and supporting the monthly convenings of the group and its sub-committees.

The community assessment, “Equity and well-being in Sanford and Lee County,” provided background data to establish the mandate for the Task Force. This data was compiled in August 2020 by research staff on the BIC team at the Institute for the Study of the Americas at UNC-Chapel Hill in collaboration with the City of Sanford. The assessment presents an overview of disparities in the region with a focus on poverty, wages, housing, health, and education. The findings, which were prepared in accessible language for public audiences and communicated through the Sanford Herald, underscore persistent inequalities for Latino and African American communities.

The Task Force members will address these inequalities by making recommendations to the City Council. The Task Force consists of nine residents appointed by the City Council with expertise related to education, workforce development, criminal justice, health care, social services, economic development, and housing (view members here). To read more about these local leaders, visit here.

The UNC BIC team is working closely with the Task Force and will continue to conduct community-engaged participatory research to inform the recommendations of the Task Force. Methods include co-facilitating public meetings, designing bilingual forms to gather public input, conducting surveys, and collaborating with various municipal departments, groups, and individuals working in service areas critical to the health and well-being of Sanford residents.

Building Integrated Communities worked with the City of Sanford and immigrant residents from 2015-2017 to create an action plan for the integration and leadership of residents born outside the U.S. The plan led to improvements in transportation access for residents of mobile homes, enhanced bilingual City communications, and the recruitment of a Latino leader to a City managerial position.

To participate and learn more about the Sanford Equity Task Force, visit here.

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