The Thurston Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday, March 9, voted unanimously to approve a resolution declaring racism a crisis in the county.
The resolution, passed by both the Board of County Commissioners and the Board of Public Health, made up of the same representatives, is a first step allowing the county to act on the issue and create a county Racial Equity Action Plan by June 30 this year.
“This is the beginning of a long road to improve the lives of Black, indigenous and people of color,” said Commissioner Carolina Mejia, originally from the Central American nation of Honduras, in a statement. “I am proud that soon we can finally provide some action behind our words. This is a step forward for all of Thurston County.”
Commissioner Gary Edwards, who represents the eastern portion of Thurston County, including Yelm, said in a statement: “I appreciate the awareness this resolution brings to the issue of racial inequality and look forward to doing our part to support efforts to promote fairness and equity for all. There is always room for improvement.”
The resolution also allows the county to establish a policy advisory committee to advise the board on meaningful policies to advance racial equity. County departments will be asked to review their hiring practices to recruit and retain Black, indigenous and people of color.