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Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable … Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Employee Resource Groups (ERG), also known as Affinity Groups, focus exclusively on protected categories of people as defined by federal, state, and local anti-discrimination laws. Affinity Groups address racism and other forms of oppression to advance the county’s equity and social justice goals. Affinity Groups must support the advancement of the King County Equity and Social Justice Strategic plan or the department specific plan, if the group is only open to members of a department.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

An Employee Resource Group (ERG), also known as an Affinity Group, is an employee-led group formed around shared interests, issues, and backgrounds. King County ERGs focus exclusively on protected categories as defined by federal, state, and local anti-discrimination laws. Protected category-specific ERGs address racism and other forms of oppression to advance the county’s equity and social justice goals.

Career service and appointed employees may participate with manager approval. This includes:

• Employees on their initial probation
• Limited temporary employees
• Short-term temporary employees
• Interns

ERGs help ensure an inclusive environment where all are valued and empowered to succeed and:
• Promote equity and social justice
• Foster employee engagement
• Strengthen workplace effectiveness
• Enhance personal and professional growth
Employees must have manager approval to participate in an ERG. Contact the ERG representative of the group you’d like to join for information about meeting times and group member agreements. If an employee wants to “try out” an ERG, they may attend two ERG meetings on a trial basis. If the employee wishes to continue attending, the manager must sign the employee’s ERG participation approval form (see form in "Quick Links" at the top of this page).
For a countywide ERG, submit a proposal to the Office of Equity and Social Justice. The proposal must have an executive sponsor who is a member of the Executive Branch cabinet and approval from the Director of the Office of Equity and Social Justice. For department-level ERGs, the department director or designee must approve the request.

Native American Leadership Council (NALC)

MISSION

The King County Native American Leadership Council is a forum where First Nations, Indigenous people and our allies can come together to build community, leadership, employee enrichment and cultural preservation.

GOALS

Our mission revolves around the following central goals:

  • To increase the visibility of American Indians, Alaskan Natives, First Nations, Native Hawaiian and indigenous issues and initiatives within local, state and federal governments and their surrounding and tribal communities.
  • To promote, further and strengthen Equity and Social Justice.
  • To provide educational opportunities that further awareness and recognize the contributions of Indigenous people.
  • To enhance the recognition and reputation of King County in American Indians, Alaskan Natives, First Nations and Native Hawaiian and other Indigenous communities.
  • To support and increase Native American recruitment and retention.
  • To provide a safe and positive workspace that is respectful, inclusive and welcoming.
MEMBERS

Our membership is made up of American Indian, Alaska Native and Indigenous employees and community leaders, and our allies across King County departments and Seattle/King County population.

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Asian Pacific Islander (API)

Name

The official name is Asian Pacific Islander (API) Affinity Group

Mission

Our mission in the API Affinity Group is to create a community where we can:

  • Build a community of API employees to identify and implement pro-equity, anti-racist actions across King County;
  • Lead change in equitable policies and procedures that impact the API community;
  • Achieve representation and recognition in decision making;
  • Support opportunities for leadership, career development, and growth for API employees;
  • Liberate the API narrative and interrupt internalized racial inferiority/superiority, stereotypes and;
  • Educate non-API communities by promoting and advancing equity and social justice change at the individual, organizational, and community levels.
Values
  • Stay respectful to self and each other
  • Create a brave space of support and belonging
  • Learn from and with each other
  • Practice shared leadership and engagement
  • Build and nurture strong, inclusive relationships
  • Collaborate to embrace all ideas, talents, and input
Purpose

The Asian Pacific Islander (API) Affinity Group is committed to helping our community thrive and celebrate our diverse cultures. We come together to network, learn, build common ground, collaborate, share resources, grow professionally, and support one another.

Goals
  • For our group: We are rooted in love and relationship building, commit to understanding, learning more, and inspiring those to do the same.
  • For King County: We seek to interrupt racism and white privilege in King County workplaces and service delivery by communicating awareness and truth with people across all cultures. By working with senior leadership to support the efforts of the group and collaborating with other affinity groups, we advocate for cultural change within King County, the equitable distribution of professional development resources, and serve as a resource to inform efforts within King County.
  • For our community: We aim to advance equity and social justice across King County by offering our voices where they are often overlooked. Whether that be through cultural and technical support, such as translation or representation, or participating in other types of community stewardship, such as volunteering, event sponsorship and coordination, we aim to increase our visibility within the community.
All members

All King County employees who self-identify as being Asian and/or Pacific Islander and who are committed to the vision and mission are welcome to join. To be an active member, we ask that you review and agree to the Group Charter and participate in the agreements.

Leadership Structure

The API Affinity Group has a shared leadership structure, with members volunteering to facilitate the monthly meetings and supporting functions of the group.

Contact Info
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Anti-Racist White Action Group (ARWAG)

Name

The official name is King County Anti-Racist White Action Group

Mission

ARWAG’s mission is to ready, support, and guide white-identifying employees to be constructively useful and active in anti-racism efforts in King County.

Values/Principles

Intentionally in development - ARWAG is creating values/principles to focus on:

  • Members are encouraged and expected to engage in continuous education to gain awareness, competencies, skills, and abilities.
  • All members are expected to engage in activities that identify and interrupt racism and white privilege in King County workplaces and service delivery.
  • Collaborate with, take guidance from, and support other Employee Resource and affinity Groups (ERGs) toward pro-equity and anti-racist institution and system changes.
  • Among white-identifying employees, increase the awareness of white privilege and build readiness to interrupt privilege and racism.
  • Build a community of white-identifying members who support and hold one another accountable to identify and implement pro-equity and anti-racist actions in our agencies and communities.
  • Unpack and interrupt internalized racial superiority in ourselves.
All Members

All King County employees who identify as white and are interested in the mission and purpose of the group are invited and welcome. Membership is voluntary. Members can use up to three work hours a month to participate in ARWAG meetings and activities. Time spent in ARWAG meeting and activities is not eligible for overtime.

Leadership Committee and Structure

ARWAG has a shared leadership structure, with members volunteering to facilitate the monthly meeting. A planning group - open to all members - provides support via outreach to new members, MS Teams site support for meeting facilitators (regarding guest speakers, readings and community building ideas), meeting scheduling, and serving as a liaison between ARWAG, other Employee Resource Groups, and the King County Office of Equity and Social Justice.

Contact for ARWAG Leadership Team: ARWAG@kingcounty.gov

Current leadership members Joy Bryngelson, MSW Equity and Social Justice Program Manager, Metro

Joy (she/her) has been in public service for over 25 years in the fields of early childhood, family support, community building, neighborhood organizing, low-income housing, and racial equity systems development. Joy is currently serving as the Equity and Social Justice Program Manager for Metro Transit Department. Joy identifies as “a white woman, a social worker, and an aspiring anti-racist collaborator.”  She is in a process of her own continuous improvement and is engaged in shared learning, support, and partnership with fellow ARWAG members as they seek to be more effective co-conspirators advancing meaningful anti-racist systems change at King County in solidarity with BIPOC colleagues and community members. Joy lives in Beacon Hill with her partner and their two adorable cats. 

Richard Gelb Environmental Planner, Environmental Health Division of Public Health

Richard drives health equity into built environments through plan and policy development.  His efforts address environmental justice, growth management, displacement, transportation, and micro-mobility.  Richard helps lead the King County Anti-Racist White Action Group and facilitates Equity and Social Justice training for a variety of workgroups.  Since March, Richard has served in the planning function of the Public Health Coronavirus response efforts.

John Klein Strategic Technology Planning Manager, Information Technology Department

John has represented KCIT on the ESJ interbranch team for several years. He also participates on KCIT’s ESJ committee and helps to run Conversation Cafes on Race on a monthly basis for interested KCIT staff. John also works to make IT systems more accessible to all and is excited about improving digital equity throughout King County.

Steve Klusman Business & Finance Officer, Water and Land Resources Division, DNRP

Steve joined ARWAG in order to find other anti-racist whites to engage in discussion and collective action. After reading Ibram X Kendi’s How to be an Antiracist, Steve concurs with the author’s conclusion that the main impediment to progress is not tiki-torch carrying, right-wing racists, but rather well-meaning liberals like himself who hesitate to give up the benefits of white privilege for the betterment of the society as a whole. Steve has also learned a lot from his young adult children who are much further down the path of anti-racism than he is.

Rachel Miles Senior Public Records Analyst, Office of Risk Management Services of DES

Rachel (she/her) joined ARWAG to further process her privileges as a white woman, to continue to practice speaking up about inequities in more constructive ways, and to be more prepared to take anti-racist actions. She works to educate herself and build a stronger equity lens. She participates in ESJ book club and conversation cafes held within her office. Rachel is a current ESJ Lean Six Sigma Green Belt candidate. She brings her developing project management skills to ARWAG to assist in establishing the groups goals and adaptable plans for action.

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Black / African

The Black African Affinity Group (BAAG) is a collective that recognizes the importance of centering our cultural strength through community. We are comprised of employees of the Black culture, including but not limited to those of African, Caribbean, European African, Afro-Hispanic and African American backgrounds.

Officer Positions:

  • Co-Chairs: Debra Baker
  • Co-Chairs: Jabari Hampton
  • Chair-Elect: TBD
  • Treasurer: John Miller (interim)
  • Administrator: Natasha Sable
  • Communications Officer: Jabari Hampton
  • Membership Coordinator: (vacant)
  • Community Health and Outreach Officer: Miesha Vaughn
  • Strategic Advisor: Ebony Frazier
  • Employee Advocacy Officer: Pervis Willis
  • Senior Advisor: Arthur Hendricks
*To join the Black African Affinity Group, contact Jabari Hampton

From its inception, the primary goal of BAAG has been the support and retention of Black employees through a holistic environment. Historically, the focal point of African American life has centered around community such as family, churches, neighborhoods, and volunteer organizations. Community is how we connect, share resources, and share knowledge. We are strongest when we work together, support one another, and lift each other up. Through our culture we will cultivate the success of all Black employees.

At King County having a community to connect with is crucial. This is especially evident in the context of institutional and systemic racism, colorism, and health disparities. The Black/African Affinity Group centers on providing employees with a community platform. We strive to provide opportunities for members to engage, build community and make connections while growing each other culturally, professionally, and socially.

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Latinx Affinity

All of our meetings take place the first Wednesday of every month from 12:00pm-1:30pm. Contact the membership chair to join our distribution list. All Members

All King County employees who self-identify as being of Latin American origin or descent and are interested in the mission and goals of the group are welcome. Membership is voluntary. Members can use up to three work hours a month to participate in KCLx meetings and activities. Time spent in KCLx meetings and activities is not eligible for overtime.

Leadership Committee and Structure
  • Role Expectations: Leadership Team members shall attend monthly Leadership Team meetings as well as general membership meetings with an expected time commitment of an average of 6 work hours per month.
  • Terms of Office: KCLx leadership will be determined by members via a voting process and will serve an 18-month term of which includes a 6-month transition period to help the next leadership team maintain continuity and momentum.
  • Positions:
    • - Co-Chairs
    • - Communications Chair
    • - Membership Chair
    • - Content Manager / Administrator
    • - Events Chair
    • - Finance Chair
Name

The official name is King County *Latinx Affinity Group.

Mission

The mission is to build equitable community for King County Latinx employees and the Latinx community at large.

Values

Our values define the way we act, what’s important to us, and our expectations for ourselves and one another

  • Teamwork
  • Authenticity
  • Collective impact
  • Equity and Social Justice
  • Accountability and Transparency
  • Empowerment
  • Relationship-centric
  • Strategic impact
  • Shared leadership
*The term Latinx is commonly defined as: a person of Latin American origin or descent (used as a gender-neutral or nonbinary alternative to Latino or Latina). KCLx uses this term as the most inclusive term to identify our community as a whole, recognizing that no one term represents everyone of Latina American origin or descent.
Purpose

Consistent with the King County’s commitment to making King County a welcoming community were every person can thrive, King County’s Latinx Affinity Group (KCLx), works with leadership to inform policies and procedures that address racism and other forms of oppression. KCLx builds relationships with colleagues who share common interests or backgrounds and provides opportunities for members to develop their leadership skills. KCLx is supported by the Office of Equity and Social Justice and advocates for the implementation of King County’s Equity and Social Justice Plan.

  • Goal 1: Develop opportunities for members to network, learn, build common ground, collaborate, share resources, grow professionally, and support one another
    • Create a space for ethnic, racial, and gender minorities within the Latinx membership, in which we operate consciously of social justice, accountably to each other, and intentionally to create equitable spaces.
    • Deepen understanding of systemic racism and issues affecting KC Latinx employees and the community at large.
    • Operate as a collective and for the interest of the group.
  • Goal 2: Advance equity and social justice within King County government
    • Inform policies and procedures that address racism and other forms of oppression
    • Support, advocate, and serve as a resource for the implementation of King County Equity and Social Justice Plan.
    • Support and advocate for recruitment and retention of Latinx employees.
    • Further awareness and increase visibility of Latinx issues within King County
    • Collaborate with other affinity groups
  • Goal 3: Advance equity and social justice across King County
    • Increase the visibility of Latinx issues
    • Support and advocate for King County social justice efforts engaging and impacting the Latinx community
    • Enhance recognition and reputation of King County in Latinx communities

Co-Chair: Cristina Gonzalez Project Manager II, Public Health

Co-Chair and Communications Chair: Antonio Herrera Garza Communications Specialist III, Community & Human Services (DCHS)

Co-Chair and Communications Chair: Lluvia Ellison-Morales Communications & Community Engagement Administrator, Regional Animal Services of King County (RASKC)

Membership Chair: Melissa Arias Regional Affordable Housing Specialist, Community & Human Services (DCHS)

Employee Retention and Advancement Chair: Rocio Martinez Lopez Special Projects Assistant, Regional Animal Services of King County (RASKC)

External Community Engagement Chair: Maria Jimenez-Zepeda ORCA Reduced Fare Project Program Manager II, King County Metro Transit

Events Co-Chair: Felicia Salcedo Communications Specialist I, Community & Human Services (DCHS)

Events Co-Chair: Margarita Aguado Administrative Specialist II, Natural Resources and Parks (DNRP)

Finance Chair: Diego Galvan , Project/Program Manager I, Community & Human Services (DCHS)

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LGBTQ+

Consistent with King County’s commitment to leading with racial justice and making King County a welcoming community where every person can thrive, King County’s LGBTQ+ Affinity Group exists at the intersections of race, ethnicity, gender and sexuality. While all LGBTQ+ folks are welcome, this group centers the lived experiences of Black and Indigenous people of color and those who identify as Transgender, Non-binary, Two Spirit, and other non-conforming gender identities.

Contact Information: lgbtq@kingcounty.gov

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Military / Vets

Mission Statement: The King County Veterans and Military Affinity Group provides guidance, resources, and mutual support to our network of veteran and military employees. We strive to make King County a more equitable workplace that attracts, retains, and develops veteran and military employees so they may achieve their full potential and thrive.

Motto: Service – Integrity – Commitment – Equity

Values:

  1. We epitomize the core values learned through our military service; showcasing to others the positive impacts that Veterans bring to the King County workplace and community.
  2. Leading with integrity, we uphold King County’s True North vision.
  3. We are committed as guides, mentors, and resources for our fellow Veterans.
  4. We stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters of other Affinity Groups striving to achieve equitable outcomes.

Affinity Group Co-Chair: Renita Borders, Council

Affinity Group Co-Chair: Fred Seaton, DAJD

Membership Chair: Keith Clarke, DHR

Events Chair: Jennifer Broadus, KCIT

Communications & Social Media Chair: Elizabeth Inglese, KCIT

Finance Manager Chair: Van Badzik, Executive Office

Policy Liaison Chair: Chris Franco, Office of Equity & Social Justice

HR Liaison Chair: Susan Navetski, DHR

Content Manager/Administrator Chair: Walt Ames, DHR

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