Our Operating Principles & Commitments

Equity and justice for all, statewide across state government.

Achieving equity requires us to identify, name, and dismantle systems of institutional racism, economic injustice, and oppression. We recognize that race is not a matter of biology. Rather, it is a social construct that describes people of color as intellectually or morally inferior and uses these false descriptions to justify marginalizing, oppressing, discriminating against, and treating people of color as “Other.” While we recognize that multiple personal elements, such as race and gender, can lead to various kinds of compounded discrimination that lack the civil rights protections given to individual, protected categories (intersectionality), we will invest our time, talent, and treasure where the needs are greatest at the intersections of all systems of oppression/injustice. We will set a pro-equity, anti-racism, social justice theory of change to build a state culture of equity and belonging that achieves sustainable diversity, well-being, and innovation.

Our actions and decisions must be guided by the principles of equity (RCW 43.06D):

  • 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.

Bold, revolutionary, transformative action is required to dismantle systems that hinder access to equitable opportunities, power, and resources individuals and communities need to thrive. We commit to using our power, privilege, and collective influence to uproot and dismantle historical systems of oppression while working to institutionalize policy and procedural changes that create a climate and culture that allows everyone to flourish and reach their full potential. We commit to being comfortable with discomfort and speaking truth always to garner trust among those served by state government and those who serve them. We will have real, bold discussions to assess ways in which state government formally and informally participates in creating a climate of assimilation, anti-Blackness, and dehumanization. We will take a stand against dehumanization and injustice as it impacts employees and public policy, acknowledging past harms and repairing harm to those most impacted by present-day systems of oppression.

Centering the voices and experiences of people facing past and current-day marginalization, inequities, and oppression.  We commit to listen deeply to people who know best the access, assets, opportunities, and solutions they need to inform our thinking and guide our work. We will embrace the paradigm shift that occurs during the unlearning of dominant normative values and addressing coded language. We also recognize that one universal equity strategy does not fit or impact all people the same way, especially when it comes to respecting treaty rights and addressing intersectionality. Therefore, we will create and publish new narratives, use decolonized, population-specific data, and share the stories of people with lived experience to make real lasting change.

We will own the consequences of our actions. We recognize that existing laws, rules, policies, program, and practices (including budget decisions) can have adverse unintended consequences among social identity groups if equity is not intentionally and systematically considered. We commit to applying an equity lens within a targeted universalism framework to promote access to equitable opportunities, power and resources that reduce disparities and improve outcomes statewide across state government. Equally important, we understand that the actions we take and decisions we make today will impact future generations. We commit to honoring the Seven Generation Principle by making decisions today that lead to both the protection of our children and a sustainable world for seven generations and generations to come.