About the Racial Equity Work Group
The purpose of Thurston County's internal Racial Equity Work Group is to foster a culture of belonging within Thurston County government. The journey to a workplace where all staff experience a sense of belonging begins by applying an equity lens to Thurston County government policies, practices, and accessibility. The key functions of the work group are to champion racial equity in Thurston County government, regularly communicate about racial equity across departments and management levels, and serve as catalysts for equitable systems change in government and the community. The Racial Equity Work Group will have access to ongoing learning opportunities to continue to develop skills, strategies, and knowledge about diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. The work group will contribute to the design and implementation of the racial equity action plan and will collaborate with departments to operationalize the work plan.
Some of the activities the group is working on for county employees are monthly brown bag lunches, book clubs, a county-wide staff survey, and more!
About the Thurston County Council on Racial Equity and Inclusion
On December 14, 2021, the Board of Commissioners (BoCC) approved Resolution No. 16097, establishing the Thurston County Council on Racial Equity and Inclusion. This resolution supports Resolution No.15995 which declared Racism a Crisis in Thurston County and the Board of Health (BoH) Proclamation of Racism as a Health Crisis in Thurston County, both adopted on March 9, 2021.
The Thurston County Council on Racial Equity and Inclusion will initially be comprised of seven Thurston County residents who identify as Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC). It is important the council is inclusive of the broad Thurston County geographical area, to include the cities of Lacey, Olympia, Tumwater, Rainier, Rochester, Tenino, Yelm, the town of Bucoda, and unincorporated Thurston County.
The purpose of the council is to advise and engage the BoCC, BoH, and elected and appointed officials on matters of racial equity and inclusion within all county services and the policies, processes, and practices used to accomplish the mission of Thurston County government.
The Council’s responsibilities include, and are not limited to:
- Input on racial equity strategies based on the results of the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE) Staff Survey Summer 2022.
- Recommendations for strategies to increase access for BIPOC residents and to reduce barriers to county services and resources.
- Identifying opportunities to increase the participation of underrepresented BIPOC community members in the development and implementation of county government ordinances, regulations, policies, and programs.
- Providing input to BoCC, BoH, and elected and appointed officials, county employees and volunteers to develop and implement a county Racial Equity Action Plan, including future updates and modifications, and other efforts aimed at creating a more equitable community.
- Providing input to the BoCC, BoH, and elected and appointed officials to conduct a regular reoccurring community assessment to understand the current state of diversity, equity, and inclusion as experienced by county residents.