(Editor's note: Jackie Martinez-Vasquez is the Sound Transit Chief Civil Rights, Equity & Inclusion Officer)
Like much of the nation, we at Sound Transit are grappling with the recent incidents of racially motivated bias and acts of violence that have led to the senseless deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd.
Along with members of our community, we mourn the lives of not only these three individuals but the countless others who have been subjected to racial inequality at the hands of systems and institutions that were built upon a foundation of white supremacy.
As an agency that employs and serves a global and diverse community, we have a responsibility to recognize and dismantle these harmful and pervasive systems of inequity. At the same time we acknowledge the need to reflect on how these inequities show up in our own institution which will enable us to address and eliminate them.
We have learned that becoming an anti-racist organization requires much more than merely saying the right things. It requires proving our commitment through action.
In 2019, Sound Transit took an important step by integrating equity and fairness into its newly developed agency strategic priorities. In addition, Sound Transit adopted its first ever Equity & Inclusion Policy and over the last year, the Office of Civil Rights, Equity & Inclusion has worked with staff from across the agency as well as members of our community to develop a first draft of our Racial Equity Tool (RET). When a final draft is completed, the RET will allow us to more intentionally center racial equity in decision-making processes.
While we are making some strides in the right direction, we still have a long way to go.
We may not always get it right the first time, but we are invested in a process of self-education and continuous learning so that we can do better. Our only ask of our riders and community is that you hold us accountable to these commitments as we work toward a more just future for all.
The Office of Civil Rights, Equity and Inclusion