Equality and justice for all is the law.
Embracing equity requires us to identify, name, and dismantle institutional racism, economic injustice, and oppression. Racism, a construct of white supremacy, is used to marginalize and oppress people who are non-white/European as the ‘Other.’ The Washington State Office of Equity acknowledges that racism is ingrained in our history and deeply embedded in our institutions today, leading to the inequities we see across all sectors. We are committed to making anti-racism, anti-Blackness, and anti-poverty work primary focus areas as we also challenge and seek to undo discrimination against immigrants, the LGBTQIA+ community, people with disabilities, women, and veterans.
We recognize that inequities exist because of racism, economic injustice, and systemic oppression that hinder opportunities for individuals and communities to thrive. Eliminating racism, economic injustice, and oppression requires bold change and we are committed to using our power, privilege, and collective influence to propose policy and procedural changes that interrupt and dismantle historical systems of oppression. We will use our time to have real, bold discussions that lead to actionable laws, rules, policies and practices.
We acknowledge that we can only achieve equity and justice for all if the communities experiencing inequities where they live, work, and play are at the center of our work. They know best their assets, and needs, and solutions, especially when it comes to respecting treaty rights. We will intentionally set community tables and convene meeting spaces to listen, learn, and seek their input to inform our thinking and guide our work. We will incorporate their stories of lived experience into our decolonized, disaggregated data reports and legislative and policy requests.
We understand that the actions we take and decisions we make today will impact future generations. We commit to honoring the Seven Generation Principle1 as standing in the present, while looking back three generations to the wisdom and experience of our ancestors, thinking about issues in the current context, and planning forward for three generations for the protection of our children and the generations to come.
1 We acknowledge the Tribal and Urban Indian Pulling Together for Wellness Leadership Advisory Council, American Indian Health Commission for Washington State for sharing this articulation of the Seven Generation Principle with a state task force
The actions and decisions of the Washington State Office of Equity will be guided by the following principles of equity:
- Equity is not equality. Equity requires developing, strengthening, and supporting policies and procedures that distribute and prioritize resources to people in identify groups who have historically been and currently are marginalized, including tribes;
- Equity requires the elimination of systemic barriers that have been deeply entrenched in systems of inequality and oppression; and
- Equity achieves procedural and outcome fairness, promoting dignity, honor, and respect for all people.
Our legislative and rulemaking priorities, policy recommendations, and consultation with state agencies will focus on co-creating a seamless, integrated, world-class, equitable and just public service delivery system where a team of actively engaged public servants bring their whole self and A-game to work to provide a superior customer experience to Washingtonians seeking assistance. We will partner with others to decrease inequities in employment and contracting, improve access to state services, and surpass accessibility (language, physical, technological/internet) requirements across state government.
Finally, we recognize that existing laws, rules, policies, program, and practices (including budget decisions) can have adverse unintended consequences if equity is not intentionally and systematically considered. We commit to using an equity lens and a targeted universalism framework, where appropriate, to promote access to equitable opportunities, power and resources that reduce disparities and improve outcomes statewide across state government.
Existing Laws, Directives, Policies & Memoranda
A law is framed for bringing justice to the society, a policy is framed for achieving certain goals. Both the Washingtonians who come to state agencies for assistance and the state workforce who assist them need to understand their rights and responsibilities to ensure that everyone in Washington has full access to the opportunities, power, and resources they need to flourish and achieve their full potential. Some of Washington state’s laws, directives, policy statents and Governor memoranda are listed below.
HB 1042 Revising the International Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act
HB 1054 Requirements for Tactics and Equipment Used by Peace Officers
HB 1073 Expanding Coverage of the Paid Family and Medical Leave Program
HB 1090 Concerning private, for-profit detention facilities
HB 1152 Supporting Measures to Create Comprehensive Public Health Districts
HB 1273 Concerning Menstrual Products in Schools
HB 1457 Facilitating the installation of broadband facilities on limited access highways
HB 1783 Creating the Washington state office of equity
SB 5044 Equity, Cultural Competency, and Dismantling Institutional Racism in the Public School System
SB 5051 State Oversight and Accountability of Peace Officers and Corrections Officers
SB 5141 Implementing the recommendations of the environmental justice task force
SB 5194 Providing for Equity and Access in the Community and Technical Colleges
SB 5227 Requiring Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Antiracism Training and Assessments at Institutions of Higher Education
SB 5228 Addressing Disproportionate Health Outcomes By Building a Foundation of Equity in Medical Training
SB 5229 Health Equity Continuing Education for Health Care Professionals
SB 5313 Health Insurance Discrimination
SB 5405 Instructing the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee to Perform Racial Equity Analyses
State Human Resources Directives & Policy
State HR Directive 20-02 The directive requires state organizations to develop or update their workforce diversity plans
State HR Directive 20-03 The directive requires state organizations to develop or update certain workforce policies
OFM-State HR Business Resource Groups Policy Guidance to state agencies on how to support and manage employee statewide participation in Business Resource Groups (BRGs)