General Government Committee joint work session with the Founding Member Work Group

On August 31, the City Council General Government Committee held a joint work session with the Founding Members Work Group (FMWG) that is leading the process to establish a new Social Justice and Equity Commission.

The purpose of the work session was for the FMWG to share what they heard from the community, what they learned from researching different commission frameworks, and to discuss with the Committee their preferred options for establishing a new Social Justice & Equity Commission.

The FMWG shared that the new Commission’s purpose should be to eliminate racism and fulfill human rights for a just and equitable Olympia for all people. They recommended that it continue to be called a Social Justice & Equity Commission and that its scope includes:

  • Investigation of complaints of racial discrimination and other forms of oppression;
  • Mediation to help resolve complaints;
  • Advice for City staff on education and outreach; and
  • Providing advice to Council and staff on eliminating racial discrimination and systemic barriers to achieving equitable outcomes for all community members.

Next steps

The FMWG will next develop a final recommendation to share with the General Government Committee at their meeting on October 27, 2021. The recommendation will include a Commission name, purpose, jurisdiction, membership, and scope. The recommendation will be considered by the full City Council on November 9, 2021.

It is anticipated that recruitment for the new Commission will open in November, with new members being interviewed and appointed January-March of 2022. Newly appointed Commissioners will start their terms on April 1, 2022.

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