Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Our efforts to create a more equitable and just workplace and downtown

The murder of George Floyd in May 2020, along with the killings of other Black men and women, and the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color, have once again brought front and center the deep racial injustices that exist within our country.

Since that time, under the guidance of DEI consultants, DSA has been assessing our role in addressing systemic racism and developing an action plan to become a more diverse, inclusive and equitable organization. We recognize this has not historically been an organizational strong suit. Our efforts started with internal dialogue and employee workshops. In the fall of 2020, we launched a DEI Task Force, including board members and DSA/MID staff.

In 2021, the DSA Board of Directors created a new standing board committee to provide guidance and direction to our DEI work as well as advise on our implementation strategy to ensure that DEI remains a top organizational priority. The group, chaired by Mari Horita of the Seattle Kraken and Ben Franz-Knight of Shiels Obletz Johnsen, meets monthly and provides regular updates to the DSA Board of Trustees. Additional members include:

  • Mark Barbieri, Washington Holdings
  • Marilyn Boss, Zurich
  • Michelle Merriweather, Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle
  • Fred Rivera, Seattle Mariners
  • Sung Yang, Pacific Public Affairs

The committee will initially be working to revise our mission, vision and values to reflect a commitment to DEI and an inclusive downtown recovery. Members will support the recruitment of new board members that reflect greater diversity and will provide formal training opportunities for the board.

Below are anti-racism resources provided by our consultants for all to pursue at their discretion.

Questions can be directed to Emily Bailor, DSA director of executive administration, at emilyb@downtownseattle.org.

DEI Priorities, 2021-2022

Internally focused:

  • Incorporate DEI into DSA’s vision, mission and values
  • Develop DEI key metrics and accountability strategy
  • Build program for board members to have opportunities to engage with DSA/MID line staff
  • Provide formal DEI training opportunities for members of the DSA board executive committee
  • Establish board recruitment goals
  • Host regular DEI presentations/education opportunities with full board
  • Diversify leadership of DSA executive team
  • Establish anti-bias hiring and recruitment strategies
  • Host ongoing DEI staff learning/training sessions
  • Ensure that staff, leadership and stakeholders are confident and skilled at talking about race and racism and its implications for the organization and the downtown community
  • Develop short- and long-term strategies to address occupational segregation

Externally focused:

  • Form clear business case for DEI work
  • Incorporate a DEI lens into DSA advocacy/policy decision-making criteria
  • Ensure DSA solicits/engages diverse vendors/consultants/artists
  • Include diverse voices in DSA member programming

Anti-racism Resources

  • Scaffolded resources is a working document to guide from colorblindness to developing an anti-racism practice.
  • The Obama Foundation offers this comprehensive list of education and action resources.
  • The National Museum of African American History and Culture launched an online portal with tools and guidance for talking about race.
  • The Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley is helpful for understanding the roots of racism and addressing bias. Some resources for parents are also included.


Self-care Resources for Black, Indigenous and People of Color

  • The American Psychological Association offers this resource guide for dealing with the impact of racism on mental health.
  • Liberate is a meditation app made by and for BIPOC.
  • The BEAM Collective helps to remove barriers to mental-health care for the Black community and offers help finding a culturally responsive mental-health provider.
  • Self-published a list of 44 individuals, organizations and collectives that focus on Black well-being.
  • The Loveland Foundation offers a therapy fund for Black girls.

Self-education Resources for Aspiring Allies