New Equity Tool brings community considerations to decision making  

King County’s Office of Equity and Social Justice has created a new Equity Impact Awareness Tool in partnership with Headwater People to ensure that impacts on low income communities of color are fully considered by the County in its COVID-19 mitigation strategies and decision making.  

The tool was initially created to address the concerns of community members who were worried that the County would make decisions about quarantine and isolation facilities without considering the burden that will fall on communities who are vulnerable to the health and economic crisis.  

Janine Anzalota, Equity and Civil Rights Manager for the Office of Equity and Social Justice, worked with Headwater People to help create the tool, collaborating with Tom Koney, Deputy Director for the Department of Executive Services, and Erica Cox, Inclusion Manager for the Office of Equity and Social Justice, who advised on the measures of the tool.  

“The impact of public health emergencies to low income communities of color is always severe, particularly to our Black/African American, Native American/Indigenous, and Immigrant and Refugee Communities,” Janine said. “In response to community concerns, I contacted Tom Koney, Deputy Director for the Department of Executive Services, asking if it would be helpful if we were able to create a tool for his staff to use for siting potential quarantine and recovery facilities.” 

The tool supports the Facilities Management Division and Real Estate Services with the quarantine sites in Kent, Shoreline, and White Center. It’s important to note that this tool was developed after quarantine sites in White Center and Kent were already announced.  

The intention of the tool is to provide awareness of where sites are being concentrated, which allows for staff to see the potential impact to low income communities of color. In addition, Public Health is adding distribution and other types of sites to the tool.  

“The tool isn’t perfect, but it gave us an important starting point,” Janine said.  

Equity Impact Awareness Tool was developed in response to the COVID-19 crisis and should not replace the Equity Impact Review and other tools that include more inclusive community engagement processes. This tool was developed by Headwater People in partnership with the Office of Equity and Social Justice. To learn more about different resources and tools, visit Office of Equity and Social Justice website.