Whenever local public officials are asked about Title VI, invariably they respond that they don’t know anything about it. They say they must check with the city or county attorney or some other ‘unavailable’ person. They are aware Title VI requirements exist, but are not versed in the details of those requirements and regulations. This should not be.
As we are now 43 years into the Civil Rights Act of 1964 being the law of the land, perhaps a brief primer is in order.
“Simple justice requires that public funds to which all taxpayers of all races contribute not be spent in any fashion which encourages, entrenches, subsidizes or results in racial discrimination.” — President John F. Kennedy, in his message calling for the enactment of Title VI, 1963.
On August 3, 1964, President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law. Federal regulations and rules were formulated to effect its compliance and enforcement.
What Is Covered by Title VI?
Veterans Administration educational benefits, employee or student recruitment, social services, the distribution of benefits and services, construction, transportation, Contracting, Community Development Block Grants, Parks and Recreation, tax benefits enjoyed by private agencies, fraternal and non-profit organizations (501.c3), education institutions, hiring, housing, the location of facilities, welfare services, program effects on people in applicable communities, and law enforcement and environmental issues.
What Is Federal Financial Assistance?
Federal financial assistance means more than just money. It is also aid that enhances the ability to improve or expand allocation of a recipient’s own resources. Some examples include:
- Student Aid (releases recipient’s funds for other uses)
- Training of employees (permits better use of the employee)
- Grants, loans and tax-exempt bonds
- Loan of Personnel
- Tax incentives and tax exempt status
- Technical assistance, etc.
If an agency receives any federal financial assistance for any program or activity- the entire agency is required to comply with Title VI, not just that particular program.
How Does Title VI Apply To Public Policy?
Title VI is the mechanism that ensures that federal financial assistance, which drives or promotes economic development, infrastructure improvements, service delivery, and minority participation in decision-making is done without discrimination. The intent is to ensure that all persons have fair participation and representation in the planning and execution of public policy.