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Greater community access, engagement part of Council’s equity and justice goals for 2012


Metropolitan King County
Council News

Greater community access, engagement part of Council’s equity and justice goals for 2012


Adopted work plan focuses on greater involvement with underserved populations


The Metropolitan King County Council today gave its support to a work plan for King County’s Equity and Social Justice Initiative (ESJI) that emphasizes the need for County outreach to underserved communities.

“The idea behind the Equity and Social Justice Initiative was to focus on the role that our government should play in addressing disparities created by race, class, gender, sexual orientation, health, geographic location and land use policies,” said Council Chair Larry Gossett, prime sponsor of the motion. “The Council’s adoption of its ESJI work plan gives clear direction on what the Council will be working on and how we will keep track of if we are achieving our goals.”

“This work plan affirms that we will ‘walk the talk’ regarding our commitment to equity and social justice, especially to those who are historically underserved,” said Council Vice Chair Jane Hague. “Significantly, in these challenging times, this initiative includes outreach and public forums where our citizens live and work. As Lincoln said ‘We must think anew and act anew.’ This plan will work well if we not only commit to listen but also to act.”

Launched in 2008, the goal of the Equity and Social Justice Initiative (ESJI) is to eliminate long-standing and persistent inequities and social injustices within King County by applying principles of equity and social justice in the County’s actions, decisions, and policies.

“Advancing equity and social justice is on the forefront of how King County does business,” said Councilmember Larry Phillips. “Since launching the Equity and Social Justice Initiative four years ago, we’ve continued to set goals and measure outcomes to ensure we’re gaining ground in the effort to improve the quality of life for all people in King County.”

“I appreciate the efforts of this program to reach out to and engage with the members of our region who need our help the most,” said Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer.

“King County continues to show leadership on the issues of equity and social justice. We must be focused and diligent with our efforts as health disparities and limited opportunities for financial security persist, particularly in South King County,” said Councilmember Julia Patterson. “The adoption of our Social Justice and Equity work plan further cements the council’s commitment to making King County a place for people of all ethnicities, incomes, and backgrounds to thrive and succeed.”

“This work will help monitor that King County can offer equal opportunities for all throughout the many services and agencies across the county,” said Councilmember Kathy Lambert. “The access to opportunity for everyone, regardless of individual challenges or location, is what makes America great.”

In October 2010, the King County Council adopted legislation on equity that establishes definitions and directs implementation steps related to achievement of the fair and just principle that is embedded within the goals, objectives and strategies of the King County Strategic Plan (KCSP)—the county's roadmap for meeting the challenges facing King County over the next five years and beyond.

“As a government, we serve all King County residents and must work to address social inequities that exist in our region,” said Councilmember Bob Ferguson. “The work plan adopted today advances our principles of promoting fairness and eliminating inequities.”

“I am pleased to support the Equity and Social Justice Initiative,” said Councilmember Reagan Dunn. “Implementing this working plan ensures the policies and programs of this county will better serve all of our residents.”

The equity legislation also called for the creation of an inter-branch team to support the county’s application of equity and social justice foundational practices and implementation of the fair and just principle. The inter-branch team is tasked with collecting work plans from all of the departments and agencies in the county.

Today’s adopted motion is the Council’s work plan—its goals and how the Council will measure if it has achieved its goals:

Work plan goals

 Measure of completion

Increase awareness of ESJ impacts of county
actions internally and with the public.

Legislative branch process created to
identify short and long-term actions
and measures ESJ successes documented

Increase access to county information, especially
for historically underserved populations.

Promote equity and fairness in the workplace.

Access to Council materials increased
ESJ values highlighted in the workplace

Integrate fair and just practices with
Council public forums.

Increase opportunities for community to
engage with Council.

Public's interaction with Council increased
County and community ESJ efforts recognized.

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