In today’s political climate, these two words seem to be used interchangeably. “What is equal must also be equitable.” In reality, we’re talking about two completely different things.

From a municipal standpoint, it breaks down like this:

  • “Should all available city services be provided to each and every Raleigh district?” <– This is a question of equality.
  • “Should the areas of the city which are historically underserved get more in order for them to catch up?” <– This is a question of equity.

The fact of the matter is, we should do everything in our power to ensure that everyone has the same opportunity to achieve in our great city. From what we are able to do, we should be willing to do everything to make that happen. But equality means nothing without equity. If people are starting from a different starting point, equal access to services means very little. It means that those who are already struggling have to work that much harder to end up at the starting point of many others. As a city, Raleigh must be willing to understand the difference between equality and equity, and that begins with comprehensive training. At the onset of each council term, council members should be required to attend a day-long workshop on the state of equality and equity in the City of Raleigh. Groups from around the city could come in and provide insight on what kind of progress has been made thanks to the prior term’s efforts, and what needs to be done in the coming term.

You’ll hear a lot during this election about equality. Let’s just be sure that we pay as much attention to equity.