The Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday adopted a proclamation for African American History Month, recognizing Black peoples' achievements and contributions in local history.
"This is an important piece of our local and national history," District 3 Commissioner Menser said. "I'm really optimistic about what we're able to accomplish with the [Racial Equity] team's work."
District 2 Commissioner Gary Edwards said it is about time to bring local history in the proclamation.
This year's county proclamation highlighted the contribution of Washington's first black pioneer, George Bush, who established Bush Prairie that is now known as Tumwater. The county also recognized William Owen Bush, the first African American in the Washington Legislature, who introduced the bill establishing Washington State University.
"Thurston County Commissioners… encourages all citizens to recognize the continued need to battle racism and to build a more just, peaceful, and prosperous society for all," the proclamation read.
In line with the proclamation, District 1 Commissioner Carolina Mejia said she is looking forward to the county's Racial Equity Program committee projects, led by Program Manager Nicole Miller. Miller and some workgroup members also attended the Feb. 8 meeting to witness the declaration.
The Racial Equity policy advisory committee was established in 2021 when Thurston declared racism a County and public health crisis.
According to the Regional Planning Council, nearly 30% of Thurston County residents are people of color – identifying as Hispanic, Latino, or a race other than white.
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