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Tucson hires first Chief Equity Officer, youngest in the country

Tucson hires first Chief Equity Officer, youngest in the country
Posted at 6:29 AM, May 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-10 09:29:55-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The city just hired its first Chief Equity Officer. It’s been a long time coming, Tucson’s Vice Mayor Lane Santa Cruz has pushed to find someone for this position for years now. Just six weeks ago, Laurice Walker took her place in this building behind me as a leader in diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Laurice Walker grew up in a suburb of Minneapolis. She realized at a young age that people treated her differently because of the color of her skin.

“Growing up in a predominantly white neighborhood as the only black girl on my tennis team, my gymnastics team, I always know there was something different and more complex,” said Laurice Walker, Chief Equity Officer.

That’s why Walker started her career working with Latino and East African communities at her local YMCA. She later spent six years in the diversity equity and inclusion department for the city of Minneapolis.

“Around workforce, how they spend money, how do we use community engagement or public participation, and looking at our policies with an equitable lens,” Walker

Now, Walker will do similar work in Tucson. She was recently hired as the city's first Chief Equity Officer. At age 28, she’s the youngest person in the country to serve in that role.

“I think this position is about putting an equity lens into all that we do,” Mayor Regina Romero, city of Tucson.

Walker will work hand in hand with city leaders to create policies and a budget that benefits marginalized communities, and ultimately, all of Tucson.

“There’s much that we can work on," Romero said. "For far too long we have seen areas of our city that haven’t received an equitable amount of funding.”

Walker says she’s in the planning phase with city leaders to establish her goals for the next year.

"There’s going to be more narratives coming out for the city of Tucson, great narratives, and I want to be a part of that,” Walker said.

Walker will have a team of three employees working with her. That means the city is currently hiring for an Equity Data Analyst, an Engagement Manager, and an Executive Assistant.