Tacoma City Profile on Racial Equity

Tacoma, Washington
Tacoma, Washington

For the City of Tacoma, the push toward racial equity demonstrates the power that lies in the hands of concerned residents. Over a year before the city government took public action, local leaders were urged by community members to analyze the racial disparities in Tacoma’s hiring practices. After examining the lack of adequate representation in both race and gender among city government employees, they knew that a change was needed. With community members acting as catalysts, Tacoma has become dedicated to the cause of “Equity and Empowerment” for all residents. Learn how this port city is working to promote racial equity and enhance outcomes for all of its residents.

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This city profile is part of a larger series sponsored by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation.

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Key Takeaways
  1. A Solid Foundation of Unified Goals: Tacoma’s racial equity efforts started with establishing the Equity and Empowerment Framework, laying out a set of clear goals that would guide the city’s work.
  2. Government and Community Partnerships: Tacoma created the Office of Equity and Human Rights (OEHR) to execute the policies laid out in the Equity and Empowerment Framework. The office uses its capacity to provide a platform for community organizations through the Equity and Empowerment Capacity Building Fund.
  3. Acknowledging a history of inequity: Tacoma utilizes presentations and trainings to educate city staff on inequitable policies that have shaped city government.
  4. Institutionalizing Equity: While analyzing how to make Tacoma’s staff more representative of the city’s population, Tacoma developed the Handbook for Recruiting, Hiring & Retention: Applying an Equity Lens to Recruiting, Interviewing, Hiring and Retaining Employees, to institutionalize these practices and educate other groups. 

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Tacoma Cover
Tacoma Cover
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