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Race and Social Justice Initiative

Race and Social Justice Initiative

Race and Social Justice Initiative Committee
The Seattle Housing Authority’s Race and Social Justice Initiative (RSJI) is an agency-wide effort to educate staff on the effects of racism and its impacts on the work of Seattle Housing Authority, its employees, residents, and stakeholders, and eliminate the effects of institutional racism within SHA by examining SHA's policies and procedures and modifying those that have negative impacts. 

SHA's Race and Social Justice Initiative is focused on:

  1. Equity - Ensuring full race and social justice equity (no racial or other social justice disparities) in all areas of SHA's operations.
  2. Culture - Demonstrating cultural self-awareness and humility; working respectfully with others from different cultural styles; and practicing regular cultural sharing to bring life into our workplace and programs.
  3. Accountability - Demonstrating accountability to the people that we exist to serve, by: supporting our residents and tenants in building community with each other; supporting anti-racist leadership among our residents and tenants; building relationships with individuals and organizations who are trusted in the diverse communities that we service; and engaging our residents and tenants meaningfully and early in policymaking that will affect their housing.
  4. Systemic Change - Serving as an active partner working with our residents and tenants to end the economic, racial and other social justice disparities in the housing education, employment, health, criminal justice and other systems that impact their lives.

The Race and Social Justice Initiative is supported by an agency-wide committee of employees from diverse backgrounds and roles within SHA who are focused on providing training, tools and resources for all SHA employees to work proactively for race and social justice equity.
News from the RSJI
  • Race and Social Justice Guiding Questions - SHA employees are encouraged to consider these race and social justice questions when making day-to-day decisions in their work team.
  • Race and Social Justice Toolkit - SHA has developed this structured, 8 step process based on the City of Seattle's Racial Equity Toolkit to support employees in checking proactively for the race and social impacts of SHA polices, procedures and practices.
  • Race and Social Justice Questions in the SHA Budget Process - All SHA departments responded to these questions when requesting adds or cuts to their 2019 budget.  SHA is also incorporating race and social justice questions into our Moving to Work (MTW) planning, our agency project chartering process, and other key agency decision making processes.
  • RSJI Training for SHA Employees - All SHA employees complete a 4.5 hour RSJI Foundation training, which focuses on:  the mission of SHA's Race and Social Justice Initiative; the difference between individual, institutional and systemic racism; the difference between explicit and implicit bias; reflection on individuals' early experiences with race; the past and curent impact of racist policies in U.S. housing and citizenship on our community; and the fole of all SHA employees and departments in working proactively for race and social justice equity.  In addition, SHA's Human Resources Department coordinates ongoing training for SHA employees on how to work proactively to advance race and social justice equity.

For more information about the Race and Social Justice Initiative, please contact Tera Oglesby, Manager-Staff Career Development & the RSJI.