The City of Portland defines equity in the following way:
“Equity is when everyone has access to the opportunity necessary to satisfy their essential needs, advance their well-being and achieve their full potential. We have a shared fate as individuals within a community, and communities within a society. All communities need the ability to shape their own present and future. Equity is both the means to healthy communities and an end that benefits us all.”
Advancing equity at Prosper Portland means the following:
- Because opportunities currently do not exist for everyone, equity is a restorative measure of redistributing benefits and burdens.
- Because as individuals we operate within systems that create inequities, equity requires both individual and systems level change.
- Because “business as usual” will not change by itself, equity requires transforming the culture that produces different outcomes of the organization.
Equity and equality are not the same thing. Equality is treating everyone the same, while equity is ensuring everyone has what they need to be successful. While equality aims to promote fairness, it can only work if everyone starts from the same place and has the same needs and goals.