1990s

Staff of Human Services Department, Office for Civil Rights and other City employees attend Undoing Institutional Racism training.


2000s

CityTalks about Race – voluntary lunchtime gatherings of City employees to talk about the impacts of racism on life and work.


2004

The Race and Social Justice Initiative began by focusing on the City of Seattle’s internal programs and operations. We developed a common language to address institutional racism, and created structures, tools and training that began to bring a racial equity lens to the City’s work.


2009

RSJI broadened its scope to partner with other institutions and the community on racial equity in key areas like education, criminal justice and development. RSJI also introduced ways to track and measure our impact, and began to develop a regional movement for racial equity.


April 3, 2014

Seattle Mayor Edward Murray signed an Executive Order affirming and expanding RSJI. Mayor Murray’s Executive Order requires City staff to establish new goals, track outcomes over time, and report on the City’s progress. The Executive Order calls on the City to apply a racial equity lens to all Citywide initiatives, and to broaden departments’ use of RSJI tools. It also calls on RSJI to deepen support for community-led racial justice work, and to prioritize building racial equity in education, equitable development and criminal justice – areas identified as top priorities by the community.

At the same time, the Seattle Office for Civil Rights released data from the first RSJI Community Survey. The survey showed overwhelming support for government to prioritize addressing racial gaps in jobs, health, housing and other areas.

Mayor Murray’s direction echoes what we heard from community members and City staff throughout our planning process in the summer and fall of 2014: we must strengthen RSJI accountability across City departments with measurable outcomes, and our approach must partner with the community.


2015

The Race and Social Justice Initiative completed a three-year plan that broadened the scope of the Initiative beyond Seattle City government and embarks on a new chapter in our work to advance the movement for racial equity.


2012 – 2014 Accomplishments and Lessons Learned Details of RSJI Timeline