January 11, 2022

Nick fisher


Inclusive communities
Guest author

Responding to inquiries about racial and social justice policies and the rise of social justice activism across the country, the MRSC previously wrote about how local governments can integrate diversity, equity and inclusion (DCI) in new and existing policies. This article will provide updates on DCI’s new and innovative efforts in Washington State.

There are several avenues available for local governments looking to develop DCI initiatives in their communities, including internal and external initiatives designed to promote DCI values. This blog highlights local government initiatives that are primarily racial equity focused and includes methods for community outreach and DCI analysis.

Start an IED program

The initiatives described in this section offer starting points that local governments can consider when developing their own DCI initiatives. Each example includes a basic description and highlights important aspects.

Bainbridge Island

The development of a community DCI commission or working group is important to develop effective local government solutions. The Town of Bainbridge Island began its DCI work by establishing an Internal Race and Equity Working Group, which eventually became a separate advisory committee (per Ordinance No. 2020-23) end of 2020. Codified as Racial Equity Advisory Committee in Chapter 2.72 of the city’s municipal code, the nine-member committee is charged with a variety of responsibilities, including helping the city implement racial equity goals and policies, recommending an action plan and implementation strategy. works for racial equity, provide public education and awareness, and support fairness-related audits of city policies and procedures.


In the fall of 2020, the city of Olympia recruited four community members from historically marginalized and under-represented communities to form a task force that would study the development of a commission to address social justice issues. , human rights and equity in the city. The task force presented its report to the Olympia City Council in November 2021 and in the same month the council approved the creation of the Social Justice and Equity Commission, instructing him “to eliminate racism and respect human rights for a fair and equitable Olympia for all”. The city is currently recruiting councilors and plans to start meetings as early as April 2022.


Local authorities can also start to develop their DCI initiatives through statements from heads of administration. In October 2020, the Mayor of the City of Kent, Dana Ralph, issued a mayor’s directive call on all city departments and employees to take specific action to advance issues of race and equity. In December of the same year, the city hired its first acting race and equity manager manage the creation of a strategic equity plan with the contribution of the municipal council, the Council of cultural communities (an advisory group formed in 2015), community leaders and other stakeholders.


from the coast Resolution No. 467 details the city’s anti-racist commitments, including the development of initiatives to promote DCI. This resolution became the basic policy of the equity and social justice goals.


Seattle was a pioneer in DCI’s efforts through its Race and Social Justice Initiative and has developed tools that can serve as a model for others, such as the Seattle Racial Equity Toolkit. As an example of policy, the Seattle Gender Justice Project aims to improve gender equity and promote inclusive practices in internal and external urban policies. This program is led by the Civil rights office in collaboration with external community partners.

DEI Toolkits and Guides

DCI Toolkits and Guides are what local governments use to create new DCI programs or integrate DCI considerations into their existing policies. Effective examples are listed below.

Racial Equity Toolkit

The Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE) Racial Equity Toolkit (2016) is frequently used by local governments in Washington to identify and resolve equity disparities and solutions. This toolkit identifies relevant internal and external parts to be addressed using an IED framework. It also includes a step-by-step process to identify and implement DCI’s goals using data analysis, community engagement, and planning. Finally, the toolkit identifies common barriers to DCI policies and how best to overcome them.

Equity Resource Guide

Association of Washington Cities’ Equity Resource Guide (2021) includes internal and external initiatives that cities must take into account in the implementation of DCI initiatives and their integration into existing policies. This guide also features studies on DCI budgeting, housing, transportation, human resources, criminal justice, and democratic access. Each case study describes modern practices to reduce inequalities and promote DCI values. There is also a methodology to assess the equity results of each initiative.

DCI Assessment

Measuring the impact of DCI initiatives requires quantitative and qualitative analysis that can accurately reflect changes within the community. Quantitative data identifies outcomes as numerical data and observations and is more effective in determining if and where inequalities exist. Qualitative data is collected through awareness-raising efforts, such as surveys or interviews, and is intended to determine the causes of inequalities. You can find more information on the analysis of inequalities in Data guide for the analysis of racial and ethnic inequalities in homelessness crisis response systems (2020) from the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness.

Using Equity Data for Quantitative Analysis

Data visualization is a common technique for measuring the occurrence and severity of inequalities. the Pierce County Stock Index Map uses geographic data to visualize fairness metrics across the county. This includes equity in education, health, demographics, and other important indicators. You can find more information on the methodology and data collection used in this tool on the website Tacoma Equity Index Web page.

Local governments can also use data-driven approaches to ensure fairness in law enforcement activities. the Pierce County Criminal Justice Scoreboard illustrates demographics for arrests and reservations to provide a higher level of transparency.

the King County RapidRide Fare Application Report (2018) uses data to assess the equity effects of transit citations on those who are homeless or unstable in housing. This report provides a qualitative background and recommendations to mitigate inequalities in the application of tariffs, recommendations that the agency has since put into practice.

Using equity data for qualitative analysis

Community outreach and engagement strategies are used to collect qualitative data from those who experience inequalities. Techniques such as interviews and community surveys help local governments determine which specific inequalities impact a community and refine more specific policy responses.

Bothell DCI survey results demonstrate how to conduct DCI staff and community outreach to understand community needs and demographics. This example provides feedback to the community and staff on DCI projects for both internal and external considerations.

Policy examples

Below are examples of specific policies to improve community DCI:

Additional resources

For more information or assistance, see these MRSC web pages:

  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Resources for Local Governments – Provides resources, tools and sample materials related to state-based local government DCI efforts.
  • Language Access – Provides language access requirements and resources for use by local governments in Washington State, including information on civil rights compliance issues related to limited fluency in English, language access plans, language requirements for voting rights, court requirements and other language services.
  • Community Engagement Resources – Highlights a variety of approaches for obtaining public input and for involving citizens in the development of plans and programs that significantly affect their lives.

MRSC is a private, non-profit organization serving local governments in Washington State. Eligible Washington State government agencies can use our free, one-to-one MRSC inquiry service to get answers to legal, political, or financial questions.

About Nick Fisher

Nick Fisher joined the MRSC in June 2021 as a policy intern. He is studying for his MA in Public Policy at the School of Global Policy and Strategy at the University of California, San Diego, specializing in environmental policy and program design and evaluation.

Nick’s previous experience includes internships with the Sacramento Utilities District, Riverside Utilities, and City of Del Mar. He has worked in the areas of climate action, energy, sustainability and public affairs.