Skip to main content

King County Affinity Groups

King County Affinity Groups

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.


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)


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.


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.

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.

Contact: Katherine Festa, Chair of the Native American Leadership Council


American Asian Native Hawaiian Pasifika (AANHP)

We are the American Asian Native Hawaiian Pasifika (AANHP) Affinity Group! We seek to create a space focused on discussion, connection, community, and the creation of a shared identity for Asian, American Asian, Native Hawaiian, Pasifika or any other culture within the broad span of countries deemed modern-day “Asia.”

We approach this effort through the lens of our values, which are:

  • Embodying love, kindness, & compassion, which looks like maintaining connection, practicing understanding, potentially taking accountability, & pursuing healing & mutual repair in the face of harm.
  • Being in warm-hearted community, which looks like assuming positive intent & rejoicing with & celebrating one another.
  • Participating in & embracing learning, which looks like approaching spaces with an open, welcoming mind, a willingness to be moved & changed, & recognizing we all have something beneficial to learn from one another.

The goal of the AANHP Affinity Group is to collectively create & define an American Asian Native Hawaiian Pasifika identity through discussion, debate, & learning. We work to determine what a collective AANHP identity feels & looks like in practice, taking into account our similarities as well as our differences. We are focused on exploring & creating shared identity first & foremost with our group, & then expanding out to engage the King County AANHP community at large, & then our fellow affinity groups & other communities through our below objectives:

  • Lay a foundation & create a clear standard structure for leadership & programming
  • Host quarterly in-person Friday salons for discussion & cultural celebration in preparation for an AANHP summit
  • Host monthly virtual gatherings with discussion themes & speakers in presentation for an AANHP summit
  • Host a full day retreat for AANHP Heritage Month 2023 to facilitate discussion & community-building in preparation for an AANHP summit
  • Host the first of a yearly AANHP summit in May 2024 focused on creating a collective AANHP identity in all its similarities & differences


All King County employees who self-identify as Asian, American Asian, Native Hawaiian, Pasifika, or any other culture within the broad span of countries deemed modern-day “Asia” who are committed to the vision & embrace our values are welcome to join. We ask that you review our vision & program plan, & hope you take advantage of the opportunity to participate in our team structure by joining one of our 3 leadership groups.

Teachers, Speakers, & Discussion Guides (TSDs) – Help guide salon, monthly virtual gathering, retreat, & ultimately AANHP summit discussions by speaking, teaching, & contributing ideas & cultural knowledge

Connection Coordinators (CCs) – Help with event planning logistics of in-person salons, 2023 AANHP month retreat, & the 2024 AANHP summit

Knowledge Crowdsourcers (KCs) – Help collect & contribute contacts for topics, themes, speakers, & organizations to bring into our virtual monthly gatherings, & encourage others to do so as well

Leadership Team Contact Info
  • Co-Chair: Guru Dorje, Program Director – Center for Education and Career Opportunities, DCHS
  • Co-Chair: Helen PotterProject Manager – Community Partnerships & Social Media, DNRP
  • Chan Saelee, Best Start for Kids Prevention Specialist, DCHS
  • Rey Sugui, Intergovernmental Relations Manager, DLS
  • Emmanuel Rivera, Health and Environmental Investigator IV, DNRP
  • Iva So’Oto, Customer Service Specialist IV, DES
  • Mary Rabourn, Communications Specialist III, DNRP
  • Sung Cho, Project/Program Manager III, DCHS
  • Stephanie Santos, Data Solutions Manager, DES
  • Wan-Lin Tsou, Customer Service Coordinator, MTD
  • Mark Manuel, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Program Manager, MTD
  • Shelby Cramer, Community Engagement Manager, King County Council

Anti-Racist White Action Group (ARWAG)


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


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.


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:

Current leadership members
  • Richard Gelb
  • Shannon Harris
  • Steve Klusman
  • Geneva Neubauer
  • Barbara Ramey
  • Christina Riley
  • Katie Schneier

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: Elena Edwards 
  • Administrator: Arone Andu
*To join the Black African Affinity Group, contact Arone Andu.

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.


Black/African Women

The Black/African Women’s Affinity Group provides a platform for Black/African employees who identify as women to have a voice, network, support one another, and address societal and workplace issues that are unique to the Black Woman’s experience. We are a community driven group based on Sistahood, culture, support, and empowerment.






We not only support one another, we also strengthen and lift each other up. The Black/African Women’s Affinity Group is community focused, realizing that community only truly thrives when its most marginalized members do.

Sistas with voices!

Our is motto: “We Gon Change This Joint!”

We work towards dismantling systematic racism and inequity as well as provide a platform for underserved communities to have a voice. We actively seek to create space and opportunity for Black/African Women in spaces they have been historically excluded from.


Miesha Vaughn,

Ebony Frazier,

Please contact us if you are interested in joining the Black/African Women’s Affinity Group, would like more information about the group, or seeking collaboration.


Disability Equity Network Affinity Group

KCDEN has a new website!

The King County Disability Equity Network aims to serve the disability community through fellowship, by providing support, and in the co-creation of equitable policies, practices, and approaches – all in service to the disability community, including King County employees.


Latinx Affinity Group

KCLx has a new website!

Get information about our mission and values, learn more about the affinity group, and keep up with Latinx initiatives and events.



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:


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


  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

To be notified of upcoming meetings, events and other important information please email to be added to the VMAG email distro list.

Contact Information: