Equity and social justice
In late 2016, we produced our first Strategic Plan for Equity and Social Justice (ESJ), co-created with employees and community partners. The Plan is a blueprint for action and change that guides our pro-equity policy direction, our decision-making, planning, operations and services, and our workplace practices in order to advance equity and social justice within County government and in partnership with communities.
This six-year strategic plan was co-created by county employees and community partners, and represents a critical opportunity for King County to do ground-breaking work:
- Applying a theory of change that fundamentally shifts the county away from policies and practices that react to problems and crises toward investments that address root causes.
- Balancing a bold vision with actionable and measureable objectives.
- Allowing for innovation and adaptability across our government to help us be more dynamic and culturally responsive.
Our strategies as One King County are to invest upstream and where needs are greatest—in employees and community partnerships. We will do this with accountable and transparent leadership.
Pro-Equity Policy Agenda:
King County is expanding access to opportunity in eight areas—child and youth development; jobs and economic development; environment and climate; health and human services; housing; information and technology; transportation and mobility; and the justice system.
We are advancing pro-equity policies, systems and practices in six areas of governance—leadership; operations and services; plans, policies and budgets; workforce and workplace; community partnerships; communications and education; and facility and system improvements.
Regional Equity Collaborative:
Given the need for increased coordination and cross-sector solutions that match the scale of inequities we face, King County is committed to regional collaboration on equity issues for greater and more sustained change.
Examples of our work:
What is equity? King County's 2010 "fair and just" ordinance defines equity as all people having full and equal access to opportunities.
- Best Starts for Kids invests in prevention and early intervention for children, youth, families and communities.
- Communities of Opportunity, launched with the Seattle Foundation, addresses inequities in health, social and economic outcomes via place-based and policy/systems change solutions with partners playing key roles in shaping solutions.
- Familiar Faces is a community partnership focused on improving systems of health and social support services and crisis prevention for jail-involved individuals who have mental health or substance use conditions, and often experience homelessness.
- Juvenile Justice Equity Steering Committee consisting of community members, youth, local leaders, law enforcement, school district superintendents, faith-based representatives, judges, prosecutor and public defense are establishing short- and long-term actions to end disproportionality in the juvenile justice system.
- Through a broad partnership, King County has implemented ORCA LIFT reduced-fare program, providing low-income populations more equitable access to public transportation and other services.
- Creating a "Welcoming King County," Executive Constantine has led the creation of a rapid response fund to protect immigrants and refugees amid rising concern for their safety and well-being plus a pledge among elected leaders to create inclusive communities.
- King County has expanded voting access to immigrant communities by having voter registration and information printed in Spanish, Korean, and other languages, and has drastically increased the number of drop boxes throughout the county.
- King County is prioritizing racial justice as part of our government work overall and implementation of our Equity and Social Justice (ESJ) Strategic Plan.
Equity and social justice resources:
- INFOGRAPHIC: Building equity and opportunity in King County [view, share, or download]
- Office of Equity and Social Justice
- Gráfica informativa sobre equidad social