Equity, Inclusion & Belonging Committee (EIB)

WRPA is launching a new committee in support of our commitment to Equity, Inclusion & Belonging (EIB).  The EIB committee was formed in recognition that many public service institutions were created during a time when societal norms privileged and included some groups, while they disadvantaged and excluded others, creating inequities. The founding policies, practices, culture, behaviors, and beliefs our institutions formed day-to-day barriers for equity-seeking communities which have compounded over time. The legacy of these barriers is sustained, in our current time, through unconscious, unrecognized practice of doing things as they have always been done. If left unexamined and unchanged, our current policies, practices and procedure recreate the historical exclusions set their predecessors. *

WRPA’s EIB Committee is an invitation for members of our professional community to connect, collaborate, and increase equity within our profession. If you are interested, please email the WRPA Office at [email protected].

Shanyanika (Shan) McElroy - Chair
Policy and Organizational Performance Analyst, Seattle Parks and Recreation 

Ways to Get Involved

Join the Committee

  • Attend the Equity, Inclusion & Belonging Committee meetings. If you are interested, please email the WRPA Office at [email protected].
  • Invite other Change Agents to join the committee.
  • Help develop and finalize the goals and strategies of the Equity, Inclusion & Belonging Committee.

Participate in a Racial Identity Caucus

Suggested Equity, Inclusion & Belonging Committee Goals

  • Increase Washington Recreation and Park Association’s capacity to uphold equity as a core value.
  • Support the work change agents throughout Washington’s Park and Recreation professional community.

Suggested Equity, Inclusion & Belonging Committee Strategies

  • Develop and implement policies, practices, programs and services that increase equity, inclusion and belonging for equity-seeking groups.
  • Normalize equity discussions, practices, and build organizational capacity in partnership with other WRPA Committees.
  • Addresses meeting community needs, wants, desires without causing unintended consequences
  • Develop an Equity and Inclusion Plan for Washington Recreation and Park Association

More on Equity, Inclusion & Belonging

Equity vs Equality

Equality is one of the central principles of democracy and is based on the belief that all people should have the same opportunities to be successful and have a productive, enjoyable life. Equality is rooted in fairness since it is linked to another American ideal, that of a meritocracy. The idea of equality is key to the notion that everyone will be able to achieve based on their efforts and contributions to society instead of their status or position. Equality was particularly important during the civil rights era when nonwhites didn’t have equal standing or treatment before the law. More recently there has been a debate about whether equality is enough and whether equity is a more important principle.

Equity recognizes that everyone doesn’t begin in the same place in society. Some people face adverse conditions and circumstances making it more challenging with the same effort to achieve the same goals. Equity advocates for those who may have been historically disadvantaged, making it difficult for them to be successful. What is “fair” as it relates to equity isn’t a question of what is the same but rather the point from which a person begins. Equity takes into account historical and other factors in determining what is fair.

Bias and Oppression

Equity-Seeking Groups

Equity-seeking groups are communities that experience significant collective barriers in participating in society. This could include attitudinal, historic, social and environmental barriers based on their group’s positionality in society.

Equity-Seeking Groups Barriers to Equity
  • BIPOC/Racialized Group(s)
  • 2SLGBTQIA+
  • Immigrants & Refugees
  • Persons with Disabilities
  • Women
  • Youth
  • Seniors

Some examples of other people who are vulnerable:

  • Persons with low-income
  • Victims of violence
  • Persons with low literacy
  • Persons who are homeless or under-housed
  • Residents in Neighborhood Improvement Areas
  • Access to Education, Training, Employment and Pay Equity
  • Access to Affordable Housing
  • Access to Food
  • Access to Health Services
  • Access to Affordable Childcare
  • Access to Affordable Eldercare
  • Access to City Information
  • Access to Economic Development Opportunities
  • Access to City Services
  • Access to City Spaces
  • Access to Parenting Supports
  • Access to Public Transit
  • Access to Shelters
  • Discrimination
  • Identity & Belonging
  • Civic Engagement & Community Participation Poverty
  • Safety & Security

Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Resources

Resources for Allies

* Adapted from University of British Columbia’s Equity and Inclusion Glossary