Racism and inequality are looming problems in Washington State. They cast a shadow over the lives of many Black people, leading to a lack of economic security, poor health, and high levels of stress. A new study commissioned by an independent coalition seeks to encourage citizens and leaders to address these issues, engage in conversations focused on solutions, and develop policies and laws to help Blacks gain equal footing with other races and ethnicities.
The report, “Creating an Equitable Future for Black Washingtonians,” outlines some of the major ways our social, economic, and political systems in Washington state intertwine to create barriers to opportunity that impede progress within the Black community.
The coalition releasing this report is composed of Centerstone, the Washington State Commission on African American Affairs, and the African American Leadership Forum.
The report identifies multiple solutions for improving opportunities for Blacks in our state. These proposals would not only help to improve the well-being of Blacks as individuals and as communities, but they would also serve to strengthen our state’s economic and civic future. Some of these solutions are:
- Enable economic policies to ensure that all families in Washington state can meet their basic needs.
- Expand learning opportunities and resources for Black children and families, from early learning through higher education.
- Improve state policies and programs to better meet the needs of Black youth to reduce their involvement with the criminal justice system.
- Create community-driven strategies to create a more just and equitable political system.
- Promote policies so that everyone in the Black community has adequate access to health insurance and care.
By working toward these changes, we can strengthen the lives of our residents, enhance the communities in Washington State, and ensure that Blacks have the opportunity to contribute to our state’s economy now and in the future.
This report is the first phase of a longer effort by the coalition to elevate and amplify the voices of Black Washingtonians in the decision-making processes that influence their everyday lives.
The Budget and Policy Center conducted the research and analysis for this report. The research focuses on five key areas of well-being (which correspond directly with some of the key areas highlighted in our new Progress Index) – economic security, education, health, criminal justice, and civic engagement – to highlight conditions in the Black community and contribute to a robust conversation about what an equitable future in Washington State looks like.