When a Seattle-area immigrant family sent their three children to school, they were happy that their children had a place to learn.
Then the bullying started.
Their sons, who have disabilities, were picked on. Their daughter came home crying. Some classmates tried to pull the hijab off her head.
In Washington state, the Governor’s Office of the Education Ombuds can help families work out issues with schools. But the family had no idea such help existed — and were too angry to reach out.
“The dad didn’t trust anyone,” said Hodan Mohamed, family support and advocacy manager at Kent-based Open Doors for Multicultural Families. “He didn’t trust the school. He felt his rights were violated.”
That’s where groups like Open Doors come in. With an outreach staff that speaks more than a dozen languages, they specialize in connecting clients — often immigrants, refugees and people of color — with services, education and help.
Groups like Open Doors are key partners as Washington strives to foster equity, diversity and inclusion in state government and with the people it serves.
“One of the hardest things in any organization is to institutionalize a culture,” Gov. Jay Inslee recently told a gathering of more than 100 state leaders. “That’s what we’re engaged in here: Embracing a culture of inclusion and diversity and equity that becomes embedded in our organizational DNA.”
The Jan. 31 meeting, convened by the governor’s Results Washington team, gave agencies a chance to share ideas about making government more accessible to all. That, Inslee said, includes building a welcoming, diverse workforce.
Read the rest of the story on the governor's Medium page.