City of Olympia invites residents to virtual discussion about new Social Justice and Equity Commission

Meetings begin next Saturday, May 22 - just three days before the anniversary of George Floyd's murder


Olympia residents are invited to participate in a virtual public discussion next Sat., May 22 to help the City of Olympia shape its new commission that aims to promote social justice and equity in the community. 

The public event will be held just three days before the one-year anniversary of the murder by Minneapolis police of George Floyd, which brought on a renewed sense of injustice by many in the United States.

The meetings will run from noon to 4 p.m., and the discussion will primarily focus on the issue of race and equity. The City aims to learn more about community experiences to help them make a framework affecting those who suffer from institutional racism and oppression.

To achieve its goal, the new commission will seek insights from community members. The city wants to reach out to residents, especially those that have experienced violence, inequality, and systemic racism.

The discussions and insights from the event will help the city to make informed decisions. These decisions include the new commission's name, membership, priorities, and work plan. Eventually, the city plans to present the framework to the city council for final recommendation.

To register for the event, residents are requested to fill out a quick survey.

With the creation of the new commission, Olympia aims to promote two things, social justice, and equity. Generally, the National Association of Social Workers defines social justice as the view that believes everyone deserves equal access to economic, political, and social rights and opportunities.

On the other hand, the Stanford Social Innovation Review states that equity recognizes these social inequalities and allocates additional resources and support for those who needed it most.

In addition, there are other avenues for residents to participate in shaping the new Social Justice and Equity Commission. In fact, locals can take short surveys or share their thoughts and experiences on the Engage Olympia website.

In addition, the city also hosts five focus group sessions from May 1 to April 24. The discussions revolve around the collective experiences of individuals coming from different backgrounds such as people of color, immigrants, indigenous, LGBTQ+, people with disabilities, and neurodivergent, as well as community members who were struggling with housing. The groups are divided based on issues that they face such as racism, housing, gender equality, persons with disabilities, and immigration.

To join a focus group discussion, residents need to register since each session is only limited to 40 participants.

In the upcoming months, the city will begin drafting recommendations and a work plan for the new commission. Their target is to submit the final proposal by August of 2021.

With these efforts, the city hopes that the new commission can foster a more inclusive, equitable, and just community.


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