Thurston County Nonprofits Call on Elected Leaders to Align with Racial Justice Policies

Thurston County, Wash. – In response to the movement and demand for justice for Black Lives, more than a dozen Thurston County nonprofits and nonprofit leaders have signed onto a collective letter indicating their intentions to align with Racial Justice and a local race equity-focused policy agenda, and they are calling on Thurston County elected leaders to do the same.

The letter states, “Our nonprofits hold collective power in this community and have a responsibility to use that power wisely and for justice. We know that until we dismantle systemic supremacy none of us can meet our missions for the wellbeing of people and our planet.”

The nonprofits and nonprofit leaders that that signed onto this collective letter aim to act in solidarity with the changes that Black Leaders and Communities of Color are calling for. Communities of Color are most impacted by systemic oppression and are therefore the experts at knowing which solutions are needed.

With advisement from BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) Communities, the nonprofit group has outlined several policy priorities that they are asking local elected and appointed leaders to research and to swiftly put into action.

The nonprofit partners who signed onto this call to action said, “It is clear that there have been good intentions and that several local jurisdictions have taken important steps to address issues of inequality and yet, these efforts have fallen short of what is needed. The caliber and direction of our work together must be amplified to address the significant harm, stress, fear and pain BIPOC communities are facing every day. This set of policy priorities acknowledges the gravity and pace of change that is needed to address these harms.” The group said they are looking forward to working with elected and appointed leaders in the coming months.

Thurston County Elected and Appointed Leaders are being asked to:

  • Declare racism as a public health emergency
  • Install community-led public safety accountability bodies to direct a fundamental shift in how our local criminal justice system operates; significantly reduce the scope and power of these systems
  • Reallocate funds from criminal justice system to community-based services; Install sanctioned (with decision making power) community-led, participatory budgeting processes to determine where the reallocated funds are invested
  • Redesign and reinvest current school resource officer contracts into student supports and school counselors
  • Adopt and align with the federal Justice in Policing Act of 2020 and Washington State Initiative 940
  • Denounce white supremacist hate groups and armed vigilante groups and take tangible steps to prevent them from inciting violence
  • Ensure Human Rights Commissions are led by People of Color and those whose rights are impacted, and fund their work
  • Prohibit all collusion with ICE and eliminate system practices that include sharing information with ICE
  • Extend eviction moratorium with a rental relief fund for households financially impacted by COVID-19, which has been proven to disproportionately impact BIPOC
  • Create and adopt Good Cause Eviction and non-possessory policies
  • Create accountability metrics and systems of transparency with regards to the above-named priorities; make progress on demands transparent and up-to-date based on priorities of impacted communities

The nonprofits and nonprofit leaders recognize that some members of the community will misconstruethis call for equity to be divisive, suggest that it is anti-police and might even perceive it as threatening.However, this is a community movement and dialogue based in care and a sincere value of non-harming.Recognizing the ongoing harmful impacts of interlocking systems of oppression on Communities of Color,it will take a strong, multi-faceted, systems change approach to truly shift our community into one that isequitable and just.

While each of the nonprofits and nonprofit leaders that have signed this call to action have different missions and focus areas, it is recognized that the group holds collective institutional power in the community and are aligning in order to use that power for Racial Justice. The group is calling on more Thurston County nonprofits to join.

For more information contact:

Meagan Darrow, Executive Director, TOGETHER!, mdarrow@thurstontogether.org

Hillary Detamore, CEO, YWCA Olympia, hdetamore@ywcaofolympia.org

The following organizations have signed on in support:

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By Hillary Detamore

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