The Thurston Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) will soon decide on a set of guidelines in selecting applicants for the Racial Equity and Inclusion Council (REIC).
Racial Equity Program Manager Nicole Miller presented three guidelines for the BoCC to choose from during their Wednesday work session.
The first option would be a council that is inclusive of black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) age 16 and up. Applicants must currently reside, work, or attend school in Thurston County and must not be elected officials or candidates running for office.
The second option would be a council that is organized by districts. Meanwhile, the third option would be a council that is prescriptive in nature, specifying demographics of interest for membership.
The commissioners said they are leaning towards the first option for a more extensive and more diverse applicant pool, emphasizing that there should be a specific step to ensure “geographical equity.”
“I wanna make sure that people from the non-municipal areas shall have a seat in the council. It does not need to be divided up by district,” Commissioner Tye Menser said.
Commissioners Gary Edwards and Carolina Mejia echoed Menser’s concern, saying that they agree not to include elected officials in the council membership.
“We do not want this to become political at all,” Mejia said.
The BoCC will finalize its decision on April 22 or as soon as is reasonably possible, with the REIC initially consisting of seven community members who identify as BIPOC. Council membership will increase over the next three years to fifteen community members.
On March 9, 2021, the BoCC declared racism a crisis in Thurston County, approving the establishment of the REIC on December 14, 2021.
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