The Washington State Office of Equity, located within the Office of Gov. Jay Inslee, released the state’s inaugural five-year Washington State Pro-Equity Anti-Racism (PEAR) Plan & Playbook today.
The release coincides with the signing of Executive Order 22-04, which requires all state agencies to develop a PEAR Strategic Action Plan. Following a roundtable discussion, Inslee signed the EO along with Dr. Karen Johnson, director of the Office of Equity, and community and state agency leaders who helped co-create the plan and playbook.
The EO requires state agencies and the Office of Equity to partner with communities to set metrics for measuring progress, conduct equity impact reviews, develop PEAR Strategic Action Plans, and ensure transparency through regular reporting mechanisms. The Office of Equity will create an online dashboard to publish statewide and agency-specific plans, performance measures and outcomes and submit an annual report to the governor and Legislature due Oct. 31, beginning in 2022.
The PEAR EO and playbook are the next step in the state’s commitment to eliminate barriers to state government services and inequities based on race, ethnicity, gender, and other characteristics.
“We will no longer replicate and reinforce systems, processes and behaviors that lead to inequities and disparities among various communities,” Inslee said. “I appreciate how closely the Office of Equity has worked with underserved communities to create this plan and playbook. It will equip state agencies to center equity and meaningfully engage with the communities most impacted by our programs and services. Dr. Johnson’s leadership is helping us make sure Washington state is a place that affirms the humanity, dignity, and equal worth of every Washingtonian.”
The Office of Equity co-created the state’s PEAR Plan & Playbook with community members, state employees, partners across many sectors, and members of all branches of state government. The office held 89 listening sessions and received more than 9,400 online survey responses.
“I thank the governor for his commitment to create a new, more just normal in Washington and the thousands of partners from many sectors across Washington for co-creating PEAR strategies and actions to create a more just state government system that works fairly for everyone,” Johnson said. “This work is transformative. It requires us to rethink basic assumptions about who state government serves and how programs should be designed and delivered to serve all people well.”
“The Office of Equity is committed to sharing decision-making with people most impacted by state laws, policies, programs, and practices to, ultimately, ensure that people who work in and are served by state government receive what the need to succeed in a way that lets them know that they belong," said Johnson.
The Legislature and governor established the Office of Equity in April 2020 to promote equitable access to opportunities and resources that reduce disparities and improve outcomes statewide across state government.
Visit www.equity.wa.gov to learn more about the Office of Equity.