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American News Jul 9, 2021 12:05 AM EST

Washington state county declares racism a public health crisis, but ignores racism of public officials

The Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer failed to mention racism by elected officials in the county including, Seattle City Councilmembers that have advocated for the firing white police officers to make room in the police budget as part of their "defund the police" movement.

Washington state county declares racism a public health crisis, but ignores racism of public officials
Katie Daviscourt Seattle, WA

King County Chief Equity and Inclusion officer Anita Whitfield sent out an email to county employees outlining "pro-equity actions" that need to be implemented with a sense of "urgency" to address racism, which the county declared a "public health crisis" last June.

"As you know, the events of 2020 [including the COVID-19 pandemic and the social awakening sparked by the murder of George Floyd] led King County to declare that Racism is a Public Health Crisis," Whitfield said.

"We must move with urgency to address this public health crisis. Our efforts must be stronger than the systems that keep organizational, institutional, and societal racism [and other 'isms'] in place."

Despite being one of the most progressive county's in the nation, Whitfield placed a strong emphasis on King County's dire need to address the alleged "crisis" that's preventing marginalized people from prospering.

"Together, as one King County, we've made great strides to address the public health crisis, which is racism. Yet, we all know there is still much more to do to truly reach our True North – "A King County that is a welcoming community where every person can thrive" – and a beloved King County community where Black, Indigenous, and People of Color [BIPOC] and all marginalized people live in power, peace, and prosperity," Whitfield continued.

Although Whitfield expressed the need to address racism towards the BIPOC community, the Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer failed to mention racism by elected officials in the county including, Seattle City Councilmembers that have advocated for the firing white police officers to make room in the police budget as part of their "defund the police" movement.

Additionally, only black small business owners in Seattle are being offered free websites by the Office of Economic Development.

"One of King County's core values is that 'we are racially just' and that 'we are champions for racial justice.' We also have more work ahead of us to fully realize this core value," the memo continued.

The four "Pro-Equity Actions" detailed in the memo included: share power, interrupt business as usual, replace it with something better, and get comfortable with discomfort.

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