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Creating Inclusive Communities


Many Washington communities have seen the growth of non-English speaking residents and minority populations from different racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds. The challenge is to integrate these residents into the community and at the same time preserve cultural heritages. The term "inclusive communities" is often used. Definitions vary from a simple statement such as Auburn's: "A community without boundaries where people take care of each other regardless of their differences." It desires to be proactive in maintaining inclusive activities that build bridges of common interests while maintaining respect for our unique differences. (Auburn Community Services) - to a complex definition that includes elements such as helping people thrive by: supporting hospitality, welcoming diversity, promoting civility and safe and affordable dwellings, enabling participation in community services and local government, supporting fairness in access to opportunities and services, reducing violence, supporting social justice, encouraging awareness and understanding of opportunities/limitations, making residents aware of human rights commission, and working for a more sustainable community for present and future citizens (Adapted from Morgantown, WV Administrative Code, Human Rights Commission Definitions, Section 153.02)

This page focuses on creating inclusive communities. It covers topics related to integrating immigrants into the community, overcoming language barriers, and programs that focus on creating inclusive communities. We have also included information on civil rights compliance issues related to limited English proficiency and language access plans required for recipients of federal funds and Washington trial court requirements.

Building Inclusive Communities

  • Building Inclusive Communities: A User-Friendly Handbook for Those Who Care About Self and Others, by Pamala V. Morris, Journal of Extension, 06/2002 - This is a review of a manual authored by Ann C. Schauber, Diversity Leader for Oregon State University Extension Service
  • Cultural Diversity Resources, League of Minnesota Cities
    • Building Inclusive Communities Action Guide, League of Minnesota Cities, Cultural Diversity Task Force, 2002 - Resource guide for city officials facing growth of ethnic populations and how to include them in the community.
  • Enhancing Cultural Competence, The Community Tool Box, Work Group for Community Health and Development at the University of Kansas - A culture is defined as a group or community that shares common experiences that shape the way they understand the world. The organizations and communities within which we work are becoming increasingly diverse - made up of people and groups with experiences and histories different from our own. These differences are a source of valuable perspective and strength, but they can also lead to misunderstanding and poor communication that may hinder our effectiveness. This part of the Community Tool Box provides a framework and support for assessing and enhancing cultural competence in you, your organization, group or community.
  • Rethinking Audiences in Times of Demographic Change, Met Life Foundation and Partners for Livable Communities, 2011 - Offers new audience-building opportunities for arts and cultural organizations to engage two of America's fastest growing populations: immigrant and older adult populations.
  • Working with Differences in Communities: A handbook for those who care about creative inclusive communities, by Ann C. Schauber, Oregon State University Extension Service, Manual 13, 03/2002 -  (Available through MRSC Library Loan)

Community Outreach Programs

  • Bellevue Multicultural Outreach - The city provides a range of services for Bellevue�s growing multicultural population. Connections are constantly being built to bridge gaps between diverse cultural and language groups, other community groups and the city.
  • Clark County Diversity Strategic Plan 2011/2013, Department of Human Resources
  • Eastside Human Services Forum - Mission is to foster strong public and private partnerships for a stable network of health and human services for the benefit of all East King County residents. Eastside cities participate in this program.
  • Federal Way
    • Diversity Commission - Advises the City Council on policy matters involving the community's cultural and ethnic differences, ensuring that these differences are considered in the decision-making process. Site includes link to 2013 work plan.
    • Federal Way Municipal Code Ch. 2.65 - Diversity Commission
  • Lynnwood
    • Neighborhoods and Demographic Diversity Commission - Monitors demographic trends of the City of Lynnwood and identify and recommend to the Mayor and City Council ways to encourage mutual understanding among citizens about the increasing demographic diversity of Lynnwood
    • Community Outreach Demographics - The Community Outreach Specialist, in collaboration with the Neighborhoods and Demographic Diversity Commission, is charged with monitoring the changing demographics of the City of Lynnwood and identifying and recommending to the Mayor and City Council ways to encourage mutual understanding among our citizens about the changing demographic diversity of our city.
    • Lynnwood Municipal Code Ch. 2.28 - Neighborhoods and Demographic Diversity Advisory Commission
  • Seattle
    • Race and Social Justice Initiative - A citywide effort to end institutionalized racism and race-based disparities in City government. RSJI builds on the work of the civil rights movement and the ongoing efforts of individuals and groups in Seattle to confront racism. The Initiative's long term goal is to change the underlying system that creates race-based disparities in our community and to achieve racial equity.
    • Immigrants and Refugees Access - As part of the Race and Social Justice Initiative, the City works to strengthen how government serves immigrant and refugee communities living in Seattle
    • Immigrants and Refugee Commission
  • Tukwila Equity and Diversity Commission - Mission is to: To promote understanding that accepts, celebrates, and appreciates cultural diversity within the community; To serve as a resource for the community by providing information and educational forums that will facilitate a better understanding and acceptance of cultural differences; and To provide recommendations to the Mayor, City Council, and School Board that would identify opportunities to address cultural diversity issues or promote cultural diversity programs
  • Redmond's Diversity, Redmond Focus, Winter 2005 - Outlines various education, social, cultural, and religious programs, both government and private, available to its growing multi-cultural community.
  • Wenatchee Diversity Advisory Council - Vision and Mission: Wenatchee is a community where diversity is welcomed, valued and celebrated. The Diversity Advisory Council advocates recognition, respect, inclusion and celebration of the greater Wenatchee area's diverse people.

Engaging Immigrant Communities

Overcoming Language Barriers

Law Enforcement

Federal and State Limited English Proficiency Requirements

General Civil Rights Compliance - Recipients of Federal Funds

Voting Rights Act

Four Washington counties are required by the federal Voting Rights Act to provide bilingual election information and ballots. King County must provide these materials in both English and Chinese, and Adams, Franklin, and Yakima counties must provide ballots and election information in English and Spanish.

Washington State Trial Courts

Last Modified: July 05, 2016