Montpelier, Vt. – Governor Phil Scott today announced the appointment of Xusana Davis as the state’s first executive director of racial equity. Davis will work with state government agencies and departments to identify and address systemic racial disparities and support the state’s efforts to expand and bring diversity to Vermont’s overall population.
“Xusana’s leadership and experience are a perfect fit for this position, and she will be a valuable addition to our team,” said Governor Scott. “In this role, she will be critical to our work to ensure state government is demonstrating a full commitment to equal opportunity and treatment for all Vermonters, our visitors and our employees. This is an important step forward in our efforts to improve state government and strengthen our communities, both socially and economically, through real equality that values diversity.”
Davis will oversee a comprehensive organizational review to identify systemic racism in each of the three branches of state government, and inventory systems in place that engender racial disparities. Additional responsibilities include reviewing and making recommendations regarding fairness and diversity policies; reporting, gathering and analyzing race-based data to determine the nature and scope of racial discrimination within systems of government; developing and conducting training to improve systems for inclusion in state government; and working with the chief performance officer to develop performance measures.
“I am honored to be a part of Vermont’s commitment to improve equity within state government,” noted Davis. “I look forward to the opportunity to work collaboratively with all branches of government to make Vermont more accessible to all, regardless of ethnicity or place of origin.”
Davis served most recently as the director of health and housing strategic initiatives for the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. In that role, she coordinated the agency’s housing-related programs through a health equity lens. Previously, Davis served as the director of the New York City Council’s Black, Latino and Asian Caucus.
“I am delighted to welcome Xusana to Vermont and the Agency of Administration,” added Secretary of Administration Susanne Young. “Xusana has the background and skills to be successful and I look forward to working with her to drive reform that advances racial equity.”
Candidates for the position were recommended to Governor Scott by a five-member Racial Equity Advisory Panel consisting of appointees by the Senate Committee on Committees, the Speaker of the House, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the Governor and the Human Rights Commission.
The Racial Equity Advisory Panel, which will continue to serve in an advisory role to the racial equity director and the Administration, is comprised of the following members:
- Andrea Brett, chair, appointed by Speaker of the House Mitzi Johnson
- Clarence Davis, appointed by Governor Phil Scott
- Karen Richards, Esq., appointed by the Human Rights Commission
- Stephanie Seguino, PhD, appointed by the Senate Committee on Committees
- Honorable Nancy Waples, Superior Court Judge, appointed by Chief Justice Paul L. Reiber
Davis has a Juris Doctor with a concentration in International Human Rights Law from New York Law School, where she also directed a civil liberties education program for low-income and minority youth. She studied at Fordham University, earning the Rev. J. Franklin Ewing, S.J. Award for writing on the relationship between global human rights violations and HIV/AIDS. Davis will start in her new position on July 29.