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The original item was published from 7/6/2022 9:56:00 AM to 7/16/2022 12:00:07 AM.

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Posted on: June 13, 2022

[ARCHIVED] Orange County names first Chief Equity and Human Rights Officer

Photo of Dr. Shameka Fairbanks

Dr. Shameka Fairbanks has been hired as Orange County’s first Chief Equity and Human Rights Officer, county manager Bonnie Hammersley announced. Dr. Fairbanks comes to Orange County from the Maryland-National Capital Parks and Planning Commission, where she serves as Health Equity Manager.

“Dr. Fairbanks is a highly accomplished professional with a passion for social justice and equity issues,” said Hammersley. “She has a proven track record of identifying prospects for community-based initiatives and building the relationships needed to bring them to fruition. This position will further the Board of Commissioners’ goal of fostering a community culture that rejects oppression and inequity.”

“I am honored to join Orange County as the new Chief Equity and Human Rights Officer,” said Dr. Fairbanks. “I hope to build relationships with community members and leaders, business partners, and government personnel to cultivate partnerships and to broaden outreach efforts and advocacy for initiatives that focus on equity and wellness in the community. I am looking forward to helping the county move towards transformative and innovative measures so we can build a stronger community.”

Fairbanks will be responsible for implementing Orange County’s One Orange goals to integrate equity in the organization through practical and impactful policies, procedures, programs and services. She will lead the county’s Government Alliance for Racial Equity (GARE) Workgroup, the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Workgroup, provide support and consultation to departments/agencies and propel the countywide strategy for advancing equity and inclusion into organizational culture and service delivery in the county and its communities. 

Fairbanks will also serve as a key liaison to the Orange County Human Relations Commission (OCHRC) as well as the community for equity and human rights efforts, including the implementation of the County Racial Equity Action Plan, administration of the Non-Discrimination Ordinance, and administration of the County’s fair housing program.

“This is a pivotal moment for equity,” said Dr. Fairbanks. “It is time to identify systemic inequities by providing guidance and innovative ideas to effectively change the narrative and increase visibility. I’m excited to bring my passion and expertise in leading the county to the next level.”

At the Maryland-National Capital Parks and Planning Commission, Fairbanks led communications and creative groupthink strategy sessions for representatives of three departments to design and facilitate organizational initiatives focused on equity. She also motivated a call to action for leadership to implement programs to improve experiences for all cultures by developing a lecture event focused on social justice. 

Dr. Fairbanks earned her bachelor’s degree in Communication/Marketing from Western Kentucky, a master’s degree in Journalism from Indiana University (Bloomington) and her doctoral degree in Health Promotion and Education from the University of Cincinnati. Her first day in Orange County will be June 27.

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