County Opening Dialogue on Systemic Racism

Listening sessions were requested by NAACP, other organizations

Advocates for racial justice will join public officials from Clark County to hold three public listening sessions, beginning this week to learn about how systemic racism has impacted residents of Clark County.

The sessions come after Council Chair Eileen Quiring said last month that she does not believe systemic racism exists in the county. Several request for her resignation, including from the Vancouver NAACP chapter, followed.

The listening sessions beginning Friday, July 31 will include members of the Clark County Council, YWCA Clark County, NAACP Vancouver, the Southwest Washington League of United Latin American Citizens and hosted by the Clark County Volunteer Lawyers Program.

County officials said the sessions will be a part of informing the county’s response to systemic racism and representing first steps in the county’s effort to take action surrounding racial justice, systems inequities and structural racism in Clark County.

Session details are as follows:

Session 1: Friday, July 31, 6-8 p.m. Representatives from the four partner agencies sponsoring the listening sessions will share information and background on the impacts of systemic racism in Clark County as it pertains to their organizations. The public is invited to watch and listen to this moderated series of presentations.

Session 2: Wednesday, Aug. 12, 6-8 p.m. Members of the public are invited for a moderated opportunity to share their experiences and answer the question, "How has systemic racism in Clark County impacted you?" Speakers will be asked to follow a three-minute time limit. This listening session will be recorded and will become a part of the public record.

Session 3: Wednesday, Aug. 26, 6-8 p.m. Members of the public who would prefer to share their experiences privately are invited for a moderated opportunity to answer the question, "How has systemic racism in Clark County impacted you?" Speakers will be asked to follow a three-minute time limit. This meeting will not be recorded, and a summary without identifying details will be provided afterward for the public record.

Anyone interested in registering to attend the sessions as a viewer, or signing up to speak at Session 2 or Session 3 may do so at the following links: Session 1: https://tinyurl.com/y343tkz3. Session 2: https://tinyurl.com/yyyj4s8j. Session 3: https://tinyurl.com/yydpeuhc.

Clark Vancouver TV will livestream Sessions 1 and 2 on www.CVTV.org and cable channel 23. Session 3 will not be recorded. A summary of Session 3 without identifying details will be made available at a later date. Spanish language and ASL interpretation will be available.

Information on the sessions is available on the county’s website at www.clark.wa.gov/councilors/listening-sessions.