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Office of Equity

Inclusive Auburn

Message from the Mayor

As public servants of the City of Auburn, each of us take great pride in the trust that we hold with each other, our residents, businesses and guests. Perhaps more than any other type of organization, we, as a municipality, hold the responsibility of ensuring that every member of our community is heard and has opportunities to participate and flourish in our city.

On July 15, 2019, the City Council soundly approved Resolution #5427 Inclusive Auburn Initiative to accomplish the following goals:

  • Eliminate systemic causes of disparities, racial and otherwise, in the City of Auburn
  • Promote inclusion and create opportunities for full participation for every resident and business in the City of Auburn
  • Reduce, and eventually eliminate, disparities of outcomes in our community

Phase One of the Inclusive Auburn Initiative focused on providing professional development to the City’s senior leadership team and City Council. Department directors and Mayor Backus participated in a six-session Inclusive Auburn Initiative training designed to help us address systemic barriers and elevate opportunities within the City by interweaving equity and inclusion tools throughout our operations. During this phase, we will also be creating a City-wide Equity and Inclusion Team that can help support these efforts.

Phase Two of this crucial work involves professional development for managers and staff. This work included reaching out to staff for participation in both surveys and focus groups. The data collected will be central in ensuring that we are providing our team with the right training and solutions to reach our goals. 

The work that we are doing will require us all to move out of our comfort zones and to view our world through a lens that may be unfamiliar or uncomfortable. We are all challenged to embrace that discomfort and to honor the experiences, perspectives, questions, and knowledge that we all bring to the table, knowing that what we begin in this year will have lasting impacts in our community and beyond.

Mayor Nancy Backus

Investing in an Inclusive City


  •  October 2018: Human Resources & Risk Management began researching consultants to kick start the City of Auburn’s racial equity program.
  • January 2019: Received proposal from Racing to Equity co-founder, Bernardo Ruiz.
    • January - April 2019: Conducted meetings with Mayor and staff
  • May 2019 – Contract discussed with Council with modified cost and proposal.
  • July 2019 – Two year contract approved for $140k investment in racial equity program.
  • August 2019 – Inclusive Auburn kick off meeting with Racing to Equity.
  • September 2019 – Six day training with Mayor and Directors began.
    • Topics covered:
      • Shared Analysis of Team Auburn leaders on racial equity and social justice
      • Understanding the role of government in advancing racial equity and social justice
      • National best practices to transform City to dismantle institutional and structural racism
  • January 2020 – Six day training program for Mayor/Directors ends
  • January 2020 – Employee interviews and focus groups begin
  • February 2020 – Community engagement workgroup begins
  • March 2020 to current –
    • Development of employee and community survey
    • Community outreach and engagement to set up community focus groups
    • 5 day Governing for Equity training for Council
    • Citywide implicit bias keynote
    * All items were previously scheduled, and had to be canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions.


  • Employee survey engagement
  • Online racial equity and implicit bias training for staff
  • Finalization of organizational assessment using interviews, surveys, focus group data on identifying areas of continued work in the City of Auburn on racial equity issues
  • Reschedule Governing for Equity training for Council as restrictions permit
  • Reschedule citywide keynote speaker on implicit bias (Dr. Marks)
  • City of Auburn Equity Team creation, formation and training
  • City of Auburn affinity caucusing
  • Equity tool development
Diversity and Inclusion Glossary

View the UWT’s Diversity Resource Center's Diversity and Inclusion Glossary (PDF).

Additional Resources