Reflections on racial equity and social justice advances

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, CA (Dec. 14, 2023) — As 2023 comes to a close, I want to take this opportunity to reflect on my first year as your County Supervisor. While I have spent 30+ years as a public servant, this year has been a learning process, and I am grateful for the support I have received from County staff and the staff at each of the various boards I sit on.

One of the joys of this year was to co-author the Board of Supervisors’ annual resolution recognizing the July as Pride Month. As the first openly gay Supervisor, I was honored to raise the pride flag at the County Administration Building to mark the beginning of the month. I also authored a board order for the County to support ACA 5, a resolution that will create a ballot measure to repeal Prop. 8, and make marriage a fundamental right in the California Constitution.

This year the Board took an important step in moving the Office of Racial Equity and Social Justice (ORESJ) forward by appointing two Co-Directors. Dr. Kendra Carr and Mr. Peter Kim will work together, in this new County Department, to address racial equity work within County government and in the community. I believe that my work never stops to ensure that Contra Costa County is inclusive to all members of our communities.

Stand Together Contra Costa

As a retired police officer, I was proud of the additional staff we added to ensure our justice system is fair. During this year’s budget cycle, the Board allocated an additional $850,000 to Stand Together Contra Costa (STCC), allowing them to expand their staff and capacity. STCC provides legal services, immigrant rights education, and training to support families impacted by anti-immigrant policies.

I also directed $50,000 to STCC to expand their services right here in District IV. The Board also approved $2.2 million to hire ten attorneys, evenly split between the Public Defenders and the District Attorney’s Offices to ensure current and past cases adhere to the California Racial Justice Act (AB 256).

It is a privilege and honor to serve you. I do my absolute best to listen, collaborate, and clearly communicate the direction our County is heading. One of the ways I do this is through my eBlasts. This year I’ve sent out over 70 emails filled with information about our community, ways to get involved and how I am engaging in the community. This fall, I started hosting a monthly Coffee with Ken. Our next one will be in the city of Clayton. To sign up for my eBlasts please visit

I look forward to what 2024 brings and I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday season.

Ken Carlson is Contra Costa County District IV supervisor. Email questions or comments to Carlson at or call his office at 925-655-2350.