Equity and Social Justice
For many in our region, King County is a great place to live, learn, work and play. Yet we have deep and persistent inequities – especially by race and place–that in many cases are getting worse and threaten our collective prosperity. Launched by King County Executive Ron Sims in 2008 and formalized by Executive Dow Constantine and the Metropolitan King County Council via ordinance in 2010, Equity and Social Justice (ESJ) is an integrated part of the County’s work, and is supported by the ESJ Office since it was established in early 2015.
King County’s Commitment for Welcoming Immigrant and Refugee CommunitiesConsistent with our vision for Equity and Social Justice, King County is working to build an inclusive community that values the needs, priorities and contributions of immigrant and refugee residents. In August 2015, King County joined over 60 local governments around the nation to become a Welcoming Community and in 2017 King County has commitment funding to this work within the County and with community organizations. Learn more about our commitment.
New and noteworthy
King County Equity and Social Justice Strategic Plan 2016-2022
King County has produced our first Strategic Plan for Equity and Social Justice, which is a blueprint for change that will guide our policies and decision-making, design and delivery of services, and workplace practices in order to advance equity within County government and in partnership with communities.
Reflecting on Race and Racism through Spoken Word, Story, and Conversation
King County's Cultivating a Culture of Equity and Social Justice through Literature and Poetry project has launched a series of four literary events which feature local poets presenting their work to King County employees to generate discussion and understanding of issues of race and social justice. The events are scheduled in January, April, June, and September 2016.
King County joins the Welcoming Community national network
Consistent with our vision for Equity and Social Justice, King County is working to build an inclusive community that values the needs, priorities and contributions of immigrant and refugee residents. In August 2015, King County joined over 60 local governments around the nation to become a Welcoming Community. Learn more about what we are doing.
King County celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
For the 30th year, King County employees and the public gathered to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and to recognize our individual and collective responsibility to continue his important work. The theme for the 2017 celebration, held Jan. 12 at 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle, focused on Dr. King's belief in the "most indispensable element of greatness -- justice."
Executive takes action to confront homelessness, expand access to affordable housing
King County Executive Dow Constantine announced a series of actions to confront homelessness and create additional affordable housing, building on the work he's already done since declaring a state of emergency in November. Learn more about the proposed actions.
Ian Haney López discusses Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class
Author and scholar, Ian Haney López, spoke to a national audience of government employees at the 2015 Governing for Racial Equity Conference hosted by King County, on how over the last fifty years politicians have exploited racial pandering using dog whistle politics, to convince many voters to support policies that ultimately favor the very wealthiest while hurting everyone else. Watch the video.
Executive Constantine addresses income inequality and racial disparity in 2015 State of the County
In his 2015 State of the County address, Executive Constantine highlights that “The state of the County is strong… On average, King County families are doing well. But that is only on average, for the disturbing truth is, almost all of our job growth is coming at the very top and the very bottom of the income spectrum… Here, and throughout the nation, below-poverty households are disproportionately concentrated in communities of color. The darker your skin, the more likely you are to join the growing ranks of the working poor.” Watch the address and read the speech.
New 2015 Equity and Social Justice Annual Report
Read the report and learn how King County is building equity through Best Starts for Kids, increased access to health care and transportation, becoming a more equitable and diverse employer, and more.
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