2022 RSJI Summit

RSJI Summit logo. On the left, a triangle with interlocking hands inside. On the right, "RSJI Summit 2022".

A Time for Transformative Justice, Decolonization, and Collective Care

The 2022 Race and Social Justice Initiative Summit brought City of Seattle employees together to increase our collective capacity for race and social justice work, and hear from community members.

You can watch recordings from this virtual event below.

The 2022 RSJI Summit was presented by the Race and Social Justice Initiative, Seattle Office for Civil Rights, and Seattle Center.

Monday, January 17, 2022

Martin Luther King Jr. Unity Day

A thumbnail. On the left, "Martin Luther King Jr. Unity Day Event". On the right, a picture of Bruce Harrell with a text, "Bruce Harrell, Mayor, City of Seattle / Leading with Equity and One Seattle"

Watch | Mayor of Seattle Bruce Harrell shares his vision for how the City of Seattle can lead with equity.

A thumbnail. On the left, "Martin Luther King Jr. Unity Day Event". On the right, a picture of Debora Juarez with text, "Debora Juarez, City Council President, City of Seattle / A Message of Unity""

Watch | Seattle City Council President Debora Juarez shares a message of unity in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

A thumbnail. On the left, "Martin Luther King Jr. Unity Day Event". On the right, a picture of Michele Storms with text, "Michele Storms, Executive Director, ACLU of Washington / Keynote: A More Just & Equitable Society".

Watch | Michele Storms, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington (ACLU-WA), shares her thoughts on a more just and equitable society in the time of a pandemic. She identities some of the opportunities ahead and gives advice on how to survive while doing the work.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

The Pursuit of Transformative Justice

A thumbnail. On the left, "The Pursuit of Transformative Justice". On the right, a picture of Sean Goode with text, "Sean Goode, Executive Director, CHOOSE 180".

Watch | As a thought leader on transformative justice, Sean Goode believes that there is no greater power than the collective us. To create a city that honors our shared humanity we must learn from our past, live in our present, and lead in pursuit of justice. In this presentation, Sean talks about the power of transformative justice, followed by a Q&A.

Sean Goode is a speaker, facilitator, writer, podcast host, executive coach, and nonprofit leader who is driven by his mantra, “possibilities over problems”. Through his stewardship, the nationally-recognized nonprofit CHOOSE 180 won the 2021 Cityof Seattle Human Rights Award. He has worked to decriminalize youthful behavior and transform the very systems that have historically caused harmed to marginalized communities. He has also been appointed by the Washington State Governor to the Partnership Council on Juvenile Justice, where he serves as the vice chair. Sean is regularly sharing his own personal journey, the transformative power of grace and the impact of elevating possibilities over problems with a diversity of audiences in both the private and public sector.

Making Racial Equity into Law: Organizing for an RSJI Ordinance

A thumbnail. Text reading, "Making Racial Equity into Law: Organizing for an RSJI Ordinance".

Watch | For as long as the Race & Social Justice Initiative has existed, there has been organizing to enshrine the initiative and its work into law. After 18 years of effort, City of Seattle employees continue to push for an ordinance.

This discussion explained the importance of ordinances, explored the history of organizing within the City of Seattle, uncovered some of the barriers for racial equity legislation, and identified opportunities for change.

Transformative Budgeting for Racial Equity

A thumbnail. Text reading, "Transformative Budgeting for Racial Equity".

Watch | The City’s budget process has historically been a closed process with limited involvement from City staff. Although race and social justice analysis was included in the budget process, the City Budget Office (CBO), in partnership with the Seattle Office for Civil Rights (OCR), recognized that more work is needed to center equity. Over the past year, CBO has partnered with OCR and department staff to move toward a budget process that is more inclusive with the long-term goal of transformative budgeting for racial equity.

This session provided background on the City budget and how changes are made, as well as discussing the work underway to ensure that race and social justice is an indispensable part of the City's budget work. City employees will learn about resources where they can learn about their own department’s budget and process.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Black Directors Forum

A thumbnail. At the top is text reading, "Black Directors Forum". Below are five headshots: Royal Alley-Barnes, Seattle Arts & Culture; Robert Nellams, Seattle Center; Chief Harold Scoggins, Seattle Fire Department; Hon. Anita Crawford-Willis, Seattle Municipal Court; Mariko Lockhart, Seattle Office for Civil Rights".

Watch | What does Black leadership in government look like during the time of Black Lives Matter? This is the question we asked during the first Black Directors Forum in 2021. In this year's discussion, we continue the conversation with Black leaders in the City of Seattle government. They unpack shared history, shared ideals, shared struggles,and ideas about moving toward an anti-racist future.


  • Royal Alley-Barnes, Seattle Arts & Culture
  • Anita Crawford-Willis, Seattle Municipal Court
  • Mariko Lockhart, Seattle Office for Civil Rights
  • Robert Nellams, Seattle Center
  • Harold Scoggins, Seattle Fire Department

This panel was prerecorded in December 2021.

RSJI Retrospective: Race and Social Justice Activism Duringthe Pandemic

A thumbnail. Text reading, "RSJI Retrospective: Race and Social Justice Activism During the Pandemic".

Watch | As the COVID-19 pandemic challenged municipal governments across the United States, it became impossible to ignore the racial disparities affecting frontline workers and remote government staff, as well as thesystemic racism causing untold damage to communities of color

This discussion explores the experiences of City of Seattle employees who organized for racial justice during the pandemic. They share their unique stories andconsidered the future of activism in the City.

Solidarity in the Asian and Black Communities

A thumbnail. At the top is text reading, "Solidarity in Asian and Black Communities". Below are headshots and names: "Lulu Carpenter, KVRU; Alex Chuang, CID Community Organizer; Johnny Fikru, Community Organizer; David Heppard, Freedom Project; KL Shannon, Community Organizer".

Watch | Civil rights in the Asian and Black communities have been intertwined since the United States was founded. Despite this, the relationship between the communities is often labeled as adversarial. In this discussion, local activists in the Asian and Black communities talk about why solidarity is more important than ever, after rising anti-Asian hate during the pandemic and the fallout from the murder of George Floyd in summer of 2020.

Moderated by Mariko Lockhart of the Seattle Office for Civil Rights.


  • Lulu Carpenter, KVRU
  • Alex Chuang, Community Organizer
  • Johnny Fikru, Community Organizer
  • David Heppard, Freedom Project
  • KL Shannon, Community Organizer

Thursday, January 20

Storytelling, a Multipurpose Tool (2 Sessions)

Anyone can be a storyteller. Storytelling is one of the most accessible tools we have to fight social injustices, build community, facilitate personal healing for ourselves and others, and inspire. Via partnered, interactive storytelling exercises, participants will mine their unique lived experience for content and engage their imaginationwith accessible improv.

In addition to being interactive and fun, this session provides participants with a toolkit of exercises for future use in public speaking, community-building, and othercreative and collaborative endeavors. No prior storytelling experience required. Participants should be prepared to take notes.

Workshop host Sara Porkalob is an award-winning storyteller, activist, and creator of the DRAGON CYCLE. She is a 2021 Princess Grace Award Recipient for Theatre and has been named as one of Seattle Times', “11 Movers and Shakers to Watch This Decade”. Sara will make her Broadway debut in 2022, playing Edward Rutledge in the official revival of 1776. The first two installments of DRAGON CYCLE received three Gregory Awards in 2018 and two Elliot Norton Awards in 2019.

This event was an interactive workshop that was not recorded.

Practicing Self-Care Is Social Justice

Self-care allows us to be a better organizers and leaders. In this workshop, you’ll learn how self-care helps you show up for collective justice and collective care for others. Social worker Bonnie Wang leads the group in a mindfulness breath exercise, then shares her own experiences with burnout. She explains what techniques have helped her manage fatigue and continue to do the work that she loves.

Workshop host Bonnie Wang has 15 years of experience working in community-based organizations with minoritized individuals and families affected by substance use and co-occurring disorders. Ms. Wang is the Clinical Director of Washington Asian Pacific Islander (WAPI) Community Services in Seattle. She also holds adjunct teaching positions at Seattle University, Seattle Central College, and Highline College. She received her Master of Social Work at the University of Washington. Ms. Wang is a Washington State Substance Use Disorder Professional (SUDP), Mental Health Professional, and Nationally certified Master Addiction Counselor (MAC). She is also a certified Mental Health First Aid instructor and a Zumba Instructor.

This event was an interactive workshop that was not recorded.