Olympia City Council establishes city's new Social Justice and Equity Commission


To address racism and discrimination in the community, the Olympia City Council approved the recommendation to establish the city’s Social Justice and Equity Commission during the regular city council meeting on Tue., Nov. 9.

In a presentation, Olympia Equity and Inclusion Coordinator Olivia Salazar De Breaux shared that the new commission will receive, investigate, and mediate complaints against unlawful discrimination.

These complaints might include discrimination based on a person’s race, religion, color, national origin or ancestry, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, marital status, familial status, honorably discharged veteran or military status, disability, or source of income. 

In addition, the commission will help the city in drafting more equitable policies as well as encouraging outreach and community engagement.

To honor the people behind the establishment of the new commission, the city council awarded the Mayor’s Coin to the members of the Founding Work Group: Megan Matthews, Anthony Markland, Joslyn Nelson, and Rusty Shekha.

“The gift of one of these coins are exceptional, meaningful, and rare,” Selby said. She believed that the establishment of the new commission qualifies as a “meritorious achievement.”

Matthews also thanked the council for their recognition, “We did put a lot of our hearts, and soul, time, and energy to this because we care about this city, and we want it to be a place where everyone can belong.” 

Councilmember Dani Madrone also read the city’s statement in support of the establishment of the new commission. “The City Council commits Olympia to become an anti-racist city, which encompasses not only the removal of barriers that impact black, indigenous, and people of color, but also repairing the harm it has been done,” the councilmember read. 

Recruiting commission members

The city issued an announcement today that they are recruiting candidates for seats on the new commission. Community members are invited to apply online by January 14, 2022. The Social Justice and Equity Commissioners will be fully seated in April 2022. For more information, contact Olivia Salazar de Breaux at osalazar@ci.olympia.wa.us.

Photo Caption: The Olympia City Council applauded members of the Founding Work Group, Megan Matthews, Anthony Markland, Joslyn Nelson, and Rusty Shekha, who had helped in establishing the city’s new Social Justice and Equity commission.

Courtesy: Photo taken from Zoom

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