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Posted on August 13, 2020 at 10:01 AM by Melanie Terry
In recent months numerous local governments and counties have begun to seek racial and equity training for their own staff and policies. Others are now reviewing equity policies that have been previously established. There are numerous resources and case studies available for County Officials to review while considering equity and inclusion for their own office and government. First, one may ask what is diversity? Washington State Human Resources defines diversity as follows:
“Diversity is the collective mixture of differences and similarities that includes, for example, individual and organizational characteristics, values, beliefs, experiences, backgrounds, and behaviors. In addition to commonly accepted attributes such as race, gender, and religion, our diversity encompasses a wide range of attributes we bring to the workplace such as our personal and professional history that frame how we see the world, collaborate with colleagues and stakeholders, and serve citizens.”
Within this blog post, we will review a few examples of county lead diversity initiatives and offer educational resources for consideration.
Spokane County Diversity Policy
A Diversity Policy is a document that serves as a commitment of culture and values for an organization and its employees or partners. Many Washington counties have diversity policies, including Spokane County. Within their Diversity Policy, Spokane County states their commitment to “increasing the ethnic, cultural and social diversity of its workforce and ensuring that diversity is a key priority of our organization”.
Snohomish County’s Equity and Inclusion Task Force
In 2018 Snohomish County unveiled its 11-member Equity and Inclusion Task force, which was made up from staff within various departments. On their webpage, the stated purpose of the Task Force was to “help inform the Executive Office of ways in which our county government can make improvements to ensure our community is one that is safe, welcoming and inclusive”. The Task Force’s focus is on internal operations. To review the Executive Summary and Recommendations click here.
Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney's Office Diversity Initiative
The Diversity Initiative within the Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office is a prime example of how elected county officials have created their own equality and diversity initiative within their office. As stated on their webpage the Diversity Committee “focuses issues related to the recruiting, hiring and retention of deputy prosecutor and support staff”. Their mission is to create approaches to enhance their applicant pool and ensure that their office maintains a culture of diversity.
If you are looking for educational resources available to county officials and their staff, we have highlighted a few below. These links should offer tools to better equip county officials with creating their own diversity and inclusion policies.
National Association of Counties – County Resources on Race Equity and Inclusion : This page offers county declarations by state, county committees and initiatives by states, and webinars and additional resources for educational purposes.
MRSC - Diversity Equity and Inclusion Efforts in Washington State: Within this blog post, author Laura Crandall reviews social justice initiatives and policies within Washington State, both on the County and State level.
Racial Equity Alliance - Racial Equity Tool Kit