City of Orlando hires first Equity Official to address systemic racism

ORLANDO, Fla. — After weeks of protests following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, city leaders in Orlando have hired its first Equity Official.

As the title suggests, Merchon Green will focus on advancing equity and inclusion across the city.

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The city began reevaluating some of its policies and procedures in the wake of the summer protests over Floyd’s death.

Mayor Buddy Dyer says they’ve since banned police use of no-knock warrants and chokeholds.

“We have also instituted some community policing operations,” Dyer says.

And now, they’ve also appointed the city’s first Equity Official.

“My vision of citywide equity is basically putting every citizen in a position to thrive and win,” Green says. “Find those resources and making them available...making sure that everyone’s livelihood is protected, and they feel that they do have a chance.”

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Green, whose own uncle was killed by law enforcement in 2007, has spent years working to combat systemic racism and inequality.

“My grandmother called the police because he was off his medication...he was mentally ill and it resulted in his death,” Green recalls.

Green says the experience helped her to understand first-hand how George Floyd’s family and others like his have felt.

Locally, Green says she plans to advance equity and inclusion initiatives, first by focusing on internal city policies, practices and initiatives, then engaging with community organizations and residents.

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“This is a dream come true,” Green says. “I get the opportunity to work to help a city answer the call on such a critical issue, and bring equity to its citizens.

Green says once she’s finished reviewing the city’s policies and procedures, she plans to start having conversations directly with residents and community leaders.

Karen Parks

Karen Parks,

Karen Parks is a reporter at WFTV.