San Jose Appoints Director of New Office of Racial Equity

San Jose City Manager Dave Sykes today announced he’s appointed Zulma Maciel as the director of the newly-established Office of Racial Equity.

The City Council approved the formation of the office in June to address systemic racism by creating a so-called equity framework to improve policies and programs. The office aims to use data, analysis and public engagement to identify and ameliorate disparities.

San Jose conducted a nationwide search to find a new department head, but ultimately decided on someone close to home. Maciel has served as the city’s director of the Office of Immigrant Affairs since 2015.

“Throughout her tenure with the city, Zulma has demonstrated time and time again her commitment to our communities and ability to drive results,” Sykes said in a news release. “The stakes are high with this very important new role and I have full confidence in her ability to make an immediate impact.”

As the head of the Office of Immigrant Affairs, Maciel led the city’s Welcoming San Jose Plan, which sought to create a better environment for immigrants and refugees.

“Zulma is a fierce champion for San Jose’s immigrant and refugee community and she will continue to be a powerful voice in the fight for institutional change,” Mayor Sam Liccardo said in an announcement of the promotion. “She will serve San Jose’s diverse population in her new role in the Office of Racial Equity with her immense passion for equality and dedication to all our residents.”

Maciel, the daughter of Mexican immigrants, also serves as vice president of Grail Family Services and volunteers on the advisory board for HOPE Leadership Institute and the Latina Coalition of Silicon Valley.

Maciel has a bachelor of arts degree in sociology from UC Santa Cruz.

Grace Hase is a staff writer for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Email tips to [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @grace_hase. Or, click here to sign up for text updates about what she’s working on.


  1. and it begins…

    6 figure salary morph into many six figure salaries, and then they need to manage them, which leads to more six figure salaries… and then those salaries turn into pension liabilities… and then when the pensions get to much, they use independent contractors at three times the burdened…

    And then you have a clone of the Housing Department.

    You people fall for the same tricks. The “agency” will accomplish nothing useful while driving up anger and resentment.

  2. > San Jose City Manager Dave Sykes today announced he’s appointed Zulma Maciel as the director of the newly-established Office of Racial Equity.

    Now we’ll have BOTH an Office of Racial Equity AND an Office of Immigrant Affairs?

    That’s a lot of virtue signalling. And it’s probably a fundamental violation of equity to expect TWO departments charged with virtue signalling to do their business without adequate coordination and supervision.

    It’s obvious that there is going to have to be a Senior Executive Coordinator of Equity and Virtue Signalling.

    You can’t do these things on a shoestring and expect to get proper results.

  3. “Identify and ameliorate disparities?”

    Here’s a disparity for you, already identified and ready for amelioration: one community here has been allowed by the local government to select and ignore one law, that being the law against unlawful entry into the country. Another community in San Jose, one consisting of legal residents, has as yet been denied access to this privilege, and I, for one, want the opportunity to do the same.

    I select the law requiring me to pay property taxes.

    What’s the wait time on correcting this inequity, Zulma?

  4. Racial Equity?

    Would it be fair to say that a white male victim of Racial Inequity won’t be given the time of day when he brings a complaint to her office.

  5. “Maciel has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from UC Santa Cruz.”
    Of course she does!

  6. This is a useless office just created to give jobs to insiders in the city. There are non-discriminatory laws, and state and federal labor departments, other departments. What is needed is an office that enforces those laws. Just this week, I spent significant hours outside my work hours supporting an immigrant from Guatemala obtaining $ 150 for ten hours of work cleaning a home. The home owner made this person clean his home promising $15 per hour. When the person finished a ten hour shift cleaning the home, the owner refused to pay. This immigrant is from Guatemala and does not speak English or Spanish, limited Spanish. I supported this person with translation and filing a police report. Next step is support the person with filing a complaint with the California Labor Department. Immigrants have learned not to reach out to “immigrant affairs or equity” because is all burocratizar. Thus they rely on word of mouth about who is the person who can help. Maciel, I will send you the bill. It appears I am doing your job! I do this because I hate these abuses and nobody doing anything. This new office sounds good in paper, but that’s the purpose of its creation. RECALL LICCARDO!

  7. Maciel, you shouldn’t be promoted but fired. The conditions for the immigrant community in the city of San Jose and in Santa Clara County worsen since 2015 to present. Many Latinos workers were forced to move to Modesto and Merced because of high rents. Now they commute long distance to come to their essential jobs or stay at relatives and friends homes during the week and go back to their homes on weekends. The Latino community makes about 25 of SCC population but 55 COVID cases. The population is probably higher because of those undocumented. Many of those undocumented working in construction jobs and other essential work. Those undocumented males have limited or no access to health care…What have you done since 2015 to improve their conditions or what exactly do you do?

  8. What a sham PC “make up a job title, w/ big salary/benies”and pass it along to another affected minority person.
    “Zulma is a fierce champion for San Jose’s immigrant and refugee community and
    she will continue to be a powerful voice in the fight for institutional change,” Mayor
    Sam Liccardo said

    Of course, she is Sam — what about the average white male who is a minority in this overrun community? Can I apply for the director position of that post?

  9. 22 years City Employed. Not a hint of bigotry race or gender. Critical race theory abounds for politicians needing to cowardly conform to the left’s single narritive.

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