This is how the government appartus operates: first it creates a "problem", then it creates (well-paid) jobs to "fix" said problem. Case in point: a posting on governmentjobs.com according to which "the City of Seattle's Race and Social Justice Manager will provide leadership and vision to ensure innovative, effective strategies to achieve racial equity in the City of Seattle." The job will pay anywhere between $90,000 and $115,000.
Don't have a university degree? Fear not: clearly geared at millennial candidates, the posting seeks "any combination of education, experience and measurable performance that demonstrates the capability to perform the duties of this position."
Any aspiring race-equality crusaders must be ready to answer the following questions:
- Briefly, share an example of the most impactful work you have done to eliminate institutional racism. What was your role?
- Describe your approach to working with fearful and resistant individuals and groups on social justice issues.
- Give an example of how you have helped elected officials and/or executives to recognize the race-based disparities currently in their organizations and/or communities. Once learned, how were you able to leverage this new perspective to make change?
- What have you done to develop your own racial equity skills as well of those of your staff?
- Tell us about the most important partnerships you have built in order to eliminate institutional racism?
- From the posting:
- Position Description
The City of Seattle's Race and Social Justice Manager will provide leadership and vision to ensure innovative, effective strategies to achieve racial equity in the City of Seattle.
History of the Seattle Race and Social Justice Initiative
The Race and Social Justice Initiative (RSJI) is the City of Seattle's long-term commitment to end institutional and structural racism and achieve racial equity in Seattle. RSJI builds on the work of the civil rights movement and the ongoing efforts of people 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.
When RSJI began eleven years ago, no U.S. city had ever undertaken an effort that focused explicitly on institutional racism. Since then, Seattle has been a national leader in a growing effort by local governments to support the movement for racial justice by working to change their own practices and building partnerships with grassroots community groups, non-profit organizations, philanthropy and other institutions. Across the United States, local governments are acknowledging that institutional and structural racism restrict opportunities for people of color, including immigrant and refugee communities. At the same time, RSJI recognizes the intersectionality of oppression and centers its efforts on racial equity while also working to eliminate other barriers to equity.
In 2015, RSJI unveiled a new three year plan to achieve racial equity, particularly in education, equitable development and criminal justice. Over the next three years, RSJI is committed to changing the City of Seattle as an institution and supporting the community's vision of systemic change.
- Job Responsibilities
Details of this Opportunity
The ideal candidate is an experienced and effective advocate for structural change, grounded in principles of racial equity and social justice; a creative thinker; and an effective collaborator, supervisor and project manager.
The RSJI Manager reports directly to the Director of the Seattle Office for Civil Rights (SOCR), which coordinates RSJI across Seattle city government. The RSJI Manager and the SOCR Director serve as the primary public faces of the Initiative, establishing and ensuring the integrity and impact of the Initiative within City government and the community. The RSJI Manager supervises 5-7 SOCR staff members who work directly on the Initiative.
Key Roles and Responsibilities
Visionary, strategic leadership and oversight.
- Work to eliminate institutional and structural racism and its intersections with other forms of oppression, including sexism, heterosexism, classism and ableism.
- Provide vision and coordination to the Mayor, City Council and City departments on Race and Social Justice.
- Develop and oversee high impact RSJI-related policies and programs to further the Initiative.
Team leadership and collaboration.
- Lead the RSJI Team to develop and implement citywide strategies for the Initiative's four spheres of influence: Internal City, City-funded, other governments and institutions, and community. This includes training, communication, policies, partnerships and coordination of interdepartmental efforts in education, equitable development, criminal justice and other key equity areas.
- Support the RSJI Team's anti-racism leadership and growth.
- In addition to City government partners, work closely with community leaders, community-based organizations, other jurisdictions and philanthropic institutions.
Grounded in principles of racial equity and social justice.
- Understand the history of racism and the impacts of institutional and structural racism.
- Recognize the unique role of government to address institutional and structural racism.
- Honor the leadership of people of color and other marginalized communities.
The following qualifications in education and experience will help the RSJI Manager thrive on our team.
a) At least five years of experience in a government or related setting with at least three years of experience supervising staff and leading programs that build racial equity and inclusiveness OR
- Education: requires one of the following:
b) Bachelor's degree in public administration, social work, political science or a related field and three years of experience in government or related setting, including at least two years of experience supervising staff and leading programs that build racial equity OR
c) Any combination of education, experience and measurable performance that demonstrates the capability to perform the duties of this position.
- Experience managing a high-powered team using an anti-racist, pro-equity, collaborative decision making approach.
- Strong interpersonal skills, humor and compassion.
- Outstanding administrative skills, including the ability to produce, track and manage multiple deliverables with overlapping deadlines in a high-performing environment.
- Excellent oral and written communication.
- Proven ability to analyze situations with a racial equity lens and utilize effective organizing strategies.
- Demonstrated leadership within the racial justice community.
- Demonstrated ability to develop collaborative, productive and respectful relationships with leaders and other institutions and groups, including but not limited to communities of color, immigrant and refugee communities, business and philanthropy.
- Experience developing and managing programs to address institutional and structural racism.
- Experience developing partnerships between government, non-profit organizations, educational institutions and grass roots community groups.
- Experience working within local or state government a plus.
- Bilingual language skills a plus.
- Additional Information
In addition to completing the online application, please attach:
- A cover letter explaining your qualifications for this role as well as your thoughts on the role government should play in addressing institutional and structural racism
- A resume
- Examples, with links if appropriate, of racial equity work product – presentations, blogs, videos, editorials, policies, etc.