Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Our work 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.

DSA is assessing our role in addressing systemic racism and developing actions we must take to become a more diverse, inclusive and equitable organization. We recognize this has not historically been an organizational strong suit.

In June 2020, we engaged two Diversity, Equity and Inclusion experts, Adana Protonentis and Leilani Raglin, from Ascending Leadership, to help us on this journey as we work to fulfill our mission and support the inclusive economic recovery of downtown.

Our efforts started with confidential conversations with our Black employees and have since included internal workshops. In October, we launched a DEI Task Force, including a number of board members and DSA/MID staff. At the direction of our consultants, the Task Force will seek to answer three key questions:

  • Why is this work important to DSA’s mission and vision for downtown?
  • What outcomes do we hope to achieve?
  • How will we implement and hold ourselves accountable?

Below is a list of those serving on the DEI Task Force, a detailed timeline for our ongoing efforts and future goals, and anti-racism resources provided by our consultants for our employees, board members and other stakeholders to pursue at their discretion. We will update this material as our efforts progress.

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

DSA DEI Task Force

  • Mark Barbieri, Washington Holdings, past DSA Chair
  • Marilyn Boss, Zurich, DSA Board Chair
  • Mari Horita, Seattle Kraken, DSA Board member
  • Coleen Spratt, Spratt Asset Solutions, DSA Board member
  • Angela Stowell, FareStart, DSA Board member
  • Kathy O’Kelley, Hines, DSA Board Vice-Chair
  • Colleen Echohawk, Chief Seattle Club, DSA Board member
  • Ben Franz-Knight, SOJ, DSA Board member
  • Rico Quirindongo, DLR Group, DSA Board member
  • Michelle Merriweather, Urban League, DSA Board member
  • Maria Chavez Wilcox, YWCA, DSA Board member
  • Jon Scholes, DSA President & CEO
  • Emily Bailor, DSA Director of Executive Administration
  • Chris Park, DSA/MID Outreach Manager
  • Regnell Hawthorne, DSA/MID Clean Team Supervisor
  • Lisa Brooks, DSA/MID Clean Team Assistant Supervisor
  • Kendle Bjelland, Senior Program Manager, Commute Seattle
  • Jacqueline Gruber, DSA Director of Built Environment

Timeline

  • May 2020: Conducted listening sessions along with confidential conversations and anonymous survey of Black employees
  • June 2020: Engaged outside consultant
  • July 2020: Formed task force of board members and staff
  • Continuing: Actively working to diversify board
  • October 2020: Facilitated workshops for all staff around diversity, equity, inclusion and systemic racism
  • November 2020: Finalize formation of affinity groups
  • December 2020: Recommend plan to full DSA Board of Directors
  • January 2021: Implement action plan

Continuing Action Plan Phases & Implementation

The framework below summarizes a larger, evolving plan to meet the needs of our employees of color. It is important to note that while there are concrete goals we want to achieve, becoming an organization with a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion does not have a “finish line.”

  • Preparation: Engage senior leaders and board members.
  • Establish a Framework: Develop a clearly articulated philosophy and vision about social equity and its connection to DSA’s mission.
  • Early Implementation: Conduct a deeper needs assessment and implementation plan.
  • Integration: Develop specific goals and implementation strategies related to daily operations.
  • Evaluation: Use informal and formal evaluations to assess overall organizational change and measure impact of efforts.
  • Redefinition: Use evaluation results to reexamine and redefine direction, clarify and focus goals and develop new strategies.
  • Consolidation: Identify the strategies and solutions that are working and continue to refine, deepen, and develop our understanding of diversity, equity and inclusion.

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