Equity Council

Image of differences between reality, equity, equality, and liberation
Interaction Institute for Social Change | Artist: Angus Maguire

The COVID-19 Equity Council is an advisory council that was created to ensure that State’s emergency response and recovery strategies address the specific needs of the communities most impacted by the pandemic. These communities include communities of color, high density areas and low-income neighborhoods. 


The Equity Council aims to actively shape the State’s COVID-19 response to effectively serve the populations most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including communities of color and high-density communities, in tangible ways. The Council also highlights the importance of equity considerations in all State operations, both in response to the current pandemic and beyond.


It is our vision that we not only recover from the current pandemic but work together to fight systemic racism and injustice. The Equity Council is key to establishing lasting connections between underrepresented communities and State agencies.


The Equity Council consists of a diverse mix of community leaders of color, elected officials and State staff committed to the work that leads to meaningful action and change. Community leaders include non-profit staff, faith community leaders and doctors from high-density areas. 

Click here for the last updated list of Equity Council members.


Governor Raimondo established the Latino Advisory Group in April 2020, as a response to the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on the Latino community. In May 2020, the increase in COVID-19 cases in many of Rhode Island’s communities of color and the murder of George Floyd further highlighted racial inequities. As a result, the focus and membership of the group was expanded to include representatives from all underrepresented communities, forming the existing Equity Council.

Focus Areas

The Equity Council’s focus is to address the most urgent needs of underrepresented communities in Rhode Island. Equity council members have worked on:

  • Improving access to basic health & safety resources
  • Providing access to culturally relevant services and programs
  • Ensuring communities of color are reached through culturally competent State communications
  • Ensuring equitable COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, data, and vaccination strategies
  • Ensuring the representation of communities and leaders of color in State decisions
  • Highlighting equity as a necessary component of the State’s COVID-19 response

For further information on member-led programs and initiatives, please visit the Equity Council’s September 2020 Progress Report

Meeting Minutes

The Equity Council meets virtually twice a month. The Council previously met once a week. The actionable minutes from previous meetings are available below.

In the Media

The State of Rhode Island has been nationally recognized for its efforts to make equitable practices an essential part of its COVID-19 emergency response. 

Please contact Yvette.M.Mendez@ohhs.ri.gov with any questions. You can also find us on social media at #RIEquityCouncil.