Skip to main content
HomeDEI & Justice Committee
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (DEI) 

Revised Land Acknowledgement 2023

Today, we acknowledge the original stewards of the land we call Thurston County: the Nisqually, the Chehalis, and the Squaxin Island people who thrived here for thousands of years. We also confront the truth that their land was unjustly taken, causing generations of trauma to its people.


Acknowledgement is just the beginning. It is our responsibility to educate ourselves on the history of these tribal nations, on our joint history, and on the role they continue to play in the Thurston County community.  We must create authentic connections with our neighbors, amplify their voices, recognize the unique concerns they face, and support their continued call for justice. 


Purpose of DEI & Justice Committee

Accordion Widget
The purpose of the LWVTC Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice (DEI & Justice) Committee is to lead through the lens of equity and make a commitment to:
The purpose of the LWVTC Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice (DEI & Justice) Committee is to lead through the lens of equity and make a commitment to:
  • Recognize systemic and institutional racism exists at all levels and is endemic within our political and social order, including history of the LWV.
  • Deepen our understanding of the complexities of community issues and make recommendations to the LWVTC Board of Directors regarding public policy.
  • As individual community members, be well informed, advocate for and support actions within our community promoting racial, social, and economic justice.
  • Become educated and engaged to advocate and promote equality and diversity within the LWV organization.
  • Connecting with community organizations sharing common values, issues and advocacy strategies which advance the principles and practices of this policy.
  • Coordinate with and gain knowledge from community organizations that encourage diversity and awareness of justice-related issues within the Thurston LWV community
  • Develop educational programs and participate in activities offered by others to expand knowledge, perspectives and mindfulness to hone Thurston’s DEI and Justice lens. 




September: 9/20/23 at *5:00 - 6:30pm on Zoom 
*New time
Get the meeting Zoom link by emailing



  1. Thurston County Racial Equity efforts by Devi Ogden, BoCC Racial Equity Manager
  2. Discussion of the book, "The Untold Story of Women of Color in the League of Women Voters," by Carolyn Jefferson Jenkins. As we look to bring this important story to the Thurston Community, we'll discuss specific chapters and the lessons we learn to create an inclusive LWVTC. Update on future speakers and topics to further our understanding of creating a welcoming community.
  3. There are 3 copies of The Untold Story of Women of Color in the League of Women Voters book available to borrow. Copies are also available at the Timberline Library. To borrow a copy from DEI&J Committee email 



Do you have ideas for a program or project where we can:

  •  engage a broader group of members committed to promoting equity and belonging within the LWVTC and Thurston County
  • connect with each other as we strengthen ties to historically marginalized neighbors, and learn more about our community
  • continue to educate ourselves and reflect on personal experience and learning


09 Mar 2023 12:04 PM |
by Amy Peloff, Administrative Director
Adapted from a presentation.

Washington State Capitol Dome

  I can’t help noticing that this idea—which the internet has shorthanded as "Your Fave is Problematic"—seems to be the theme of this decade. And, having spent the past two years immersed in that topic and how it relates to pop culture, I find myself bringing that lens to the topic of the campaign to ratify the Amendment and the early history of the Women’s Suffrage Movement. This discussion of the complexity of our history has been foregrounded in much of the coverage of the centennial, in LWVUS' communications, media coverage, and museum exhibits—no one is letting this go by unacknowledged right now. Just this past Thursday, I listened to a presentation by the LWV of Ohio on Building Inclusive Suffrage and Anniversary Programs, in which they argued that we should use the language of commemoration rather than celebration when we discuss the anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment in recognition that this was not a victory for all women. And that is absolutely how it should be, because the history of the US Suffrage movement and that of the League of Women Voters is complicated. There is some amazing stuff in there! For all of us who have read Elaine Weiss’s book The Woman’s Hour, we know that the ratification of the 19th Amendment was the culmination of a lot of hard labor, dangerous activities, and political cunning. These women in their fancy dresses, white sashes, and snazzy hats were, excuse my language, serious badasses.

 Nothing can erase the fact that LWV Founder Carrie Chapmen Catt was the mastermind behind the state-by-state strategy to pass and ratify a Constitutional amendment to protect women’s right to vote, that she dedicated decades of her life pursuing this goal, that she mentored other women in leadership roles, and laid the foundation for this organization which is respected for its commitment to protecting the voting rights of all people in this country.

But those successes also can't obscure the fact that in her laser focus on her goal of winning the war for women’s suffrage, she was willing to sacrifice the rights of other groups. Whether she personally bought into these beliefs or not, we don’t know. But we do know that she was perfectly willing to invoke racist rhetoric and eugenic language to sway people to her cause. The fact that she made these arguments makes a lot of sense. Women's social power derived from their role within the family. In the Progressive Era, women were able to build lives outside of the household by articulating their work as an extension of that role. Temperance, abolitionism, and the Settlement House movement were all movements that frequently invoked women’s moral and civilizing influences within the home to justify their involvement in political work outside of the home. This made it very tempting for white suffragists to use those ideas to argue for the need for white women's suffrage to offset the votes of the non-white, the immigrant, and the poor. Thus, we end up with these haunting quotes from Carrie Chapman Catt:

In 1894, Catt warned that the United States was "menaced with great the votes possessed by the males in the slums of the cities and the ignorant foreign vote." "White supremacy will be strengthened, not weakened, by women's suffrage."

 And it is tempting to argue that as a product of her time, she should not be judged too harshly for voicing these ideas that were prevalent at the time. So yes, and there were also people pushing back against that tactic from early on in the suffrage movement. In 1851 Sojourner Truth delivered her famous "Ain’t I a Woman?" speech at the Ohio Women's Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio. In 1869 Frederick Douglass and Lucy Stone engaged in a very public argument with Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton about sacrificing black male suffrage for white women's suffrage. To argue that Catt and other white suffragists should not be held accountable for their decisions to not just prioritize white women's suffrage over the voting rights of others, but to actually perpetuate racist, xenophobic, classist, and ableist rhetoric, because they didn't know any better is, I suspect, wishful thinking on our part.

So to return to the theme of "your fave is problematic," I want to look at what Seattle writer Ijeoma Oluo (author of the book So You Want to Talk About Race) has said on this topic. In her essay, "Admit It: Your Fave Is Problematic," she argued that part of what makes us so resistant to acknowledging the flaws of our heroes, is a fear that if these people who we admire so much can be racist, classist, or homophobic, etc., what does that say about us? Well, she says that this means that we're flawed, too, and that we need to figure out how to not just make peace with this fact, but actually embrace it. As she says:

"But you can and you are at least some of these things sometimes. So am I. Own it. Learn from it. It’s not an attack, it’s the truth. Nobody is a perfect example of civil rights virtue. If you aren’t screwing up, you aren't trying."

I think that last part is really important because it gets to the heart of the work that we have before us, which is to TRY. Once we recognize that not only are we not perfect, but that perfection is, in fact, an unrealistic goal, we can focus on the more realistic work of being better. As Maya Angelou once told Oprah,

"You did then what you knew how to do. When you knew better you did better. And you should not be judged for the person that you were, but for the person you are trying to be."

 So, while LWV Founder Carrie Chapman Catt said some terrible things in her efforts to persuade people to support the 19th Amendment, she is also the person who in 1933 organized the Protest Committee of Non-Jewish Women Against the Persecution of Jews in Germanyand who pressured the federal government to ease immigration laws to make it easier for Jewish people to find refuge in the United States. The U.S. never did do that. While some Jewish people did manage to immigrate to the U.S. in spite of popular opposition, most did not. While her work in this area was unsuccessful, I think it is important to recognize that decades after disparaging the right of immigrants to vote, she worked to advocate for the need to increase Jewish immigration into this country when it was needed most. Her public work changed. She did better.

So what does this mean for us? As we reflect back on the immense successes of the last 100 years, and the areas in which we have failed to live up to our mission, this is an opportunity to think about the next 100 years. But I think it would be useful to approach this with an eye to the future: What story do we want people to tell about the League 100 years from now? And once we figure that out, what actions do we need to take now to make sure that’s what happens? I'm pretty sure that in 2120, we want to be able to say that the League has lived up to its mission of Empowering Voters and Defending Democracy, without any pesky asterisks.

Past DEI League Events


August 16th: Tour of Nisqually Reservation

The LET'S TALK ABOUT RACE book group meets every other month to explore inequities based on race and the intersectionality of race, ableism, disability rights, trans and gay issues. We also explore resources about implicit bias, race, economics, and politics. For information, contact Annie Cubberly. New members are always welcome!

Let’s Talk about Race 

Next Meeting: October 10th 2:00pm.

Our Migrant Souls: A Meditation on Race and the Meanings and Myths of “Latino” - Héctor Tobar, May 2023, 256 pages        (Audio, e-book, and book at Timberland Library) Book review below.

I have been searching for a book about migration that helps me understand the movement to the US of people from Mexico and further south. 

Tobar is a Pulitzer Prizewinning writer, faculty member teaching Latino students, andson of Guatemalan immigrants. He starts by addressing his Latinos students who wonder about their place in this country and with each other given the diversity of people lumped in the “Latino” category. He mixes in beautifully memoir material. His review of the various ways this population (Latinos) has been categorized by the US government reminds me that race and ethnicity are social constructs that can change quickly. Being “migrant” Tobar casts asepic in nature – each migrant family starts as an outcast then rises up against oppressive militarized US barriers to find a place in this new world. He offers his students and us readers a more uplifting picture of Latino migrants than the media portrayal. Loretta Seppanen


For more information about the book group contact Annie

For a list of books we previously  have  read, CLICK HERE
Have ideas for books this group should read? Send us an email.


The SO4E Program to evaluate the effectiveness of equity efforts by Thurston County governments was approved at the  LWVTC 2021 Annual Meeting.  The Program Work Group reported at our 2022 Annual Meeting that our one-year effort had been sufficient to provide a foundation for continuing this work in the context of other League structures and functions.
Accordion Widget
More about the SO4E program and our findings
More about the SO4E program and our findings

Program Work Group members Loretta Seppanen, Sandra Herndon, Darcy Huffman, Jody Disney, Keitha Bryson, Nicole Miller, and Peggy Smith set about examining new and emerging policies, programs, processes, and products of the cities of Lacey, Olympia, and Tumwater, as well as those of Thurston County. We were able to provide comments or letters of support for diversity/equity commissions or councils that were established by these jurisdictions. 

We evaluated the work done during the 2021-2022 program year and found:

  • The local jurisdictions are moving more positively than we had imagined in 2021. 
  • There are several League groups taking actions similar to those outlined in the program proposal associated with a number of local governmental policies and such. We had not imagined this over a year ago, either.
  • Work group members are contributing to equity enhancement efforts as part of other League or community partner groups. 
  • Our website provides a platform for telling members about progress being made in local equity efforts, as well as letting members and the community know about events of interest. 

Therefore, it was reported at the 2022 Annual Meeting that our one-year effort had been sufficient to provide a foundation for continuing this work in the context of other League structures and functions. Keep an eye on our website for related news.



 Our DEI Lens



DEI Resources


LWVWA Definitions 

Accordion Widget
Links to inclusive language, including non-binary pronouns
Links to inclusive language, including non-binary pronouns

REFERENCES & resources

Accordion Widget
  • Trailblazing Black Women of Washington State, Marilyn Morgan
  • How the Word is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America, Clint Smith
  • The Sum Of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone And How We Can Prosper  Together,  Heather McGhee*
  • Murder At The Mission: A Frontier Killing, Its Legacy of Lies, And the Taking of the American West, Blaine Harden*
  • Against Civility: The Hidden Racism in our Obsession with Civility, Alex Zamalin*
  • Caste:The Origins of Our Discontent, Isabel Wilkerson*
  • The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander
  • Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates*
  • So You Want to Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo*
  • Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People, Mahzarin Banaji
* Titles read by the Let's Talk About Race Book Group
Accordion Widget
  • The Language of Anti-Racism (excerpted from, “Stay Woke, A People’s Guide to Making All Black Lives Matter," Candis Watts Smith and Tehema Lopez Bunyasi, February 2020
  • Before you rage against Critical Race Theory, it might be helpful to know what it is, Marcus Harrison Green, February 2022
  • The Dictionary Definition of Racism Has to Change, John McWhorter, The Atlantic June 2020
  • Ta-Nehisi Coates Revisits the Case for Reparations, The New Yorker, June 2019
Accordion Widget
Movies & Websites
Movies & Websites
Accordion Widget
Recorded Workshops
Recorded Workshops


Accordion Widget
The State We're In - Your guide to state, tribal, and local government
The State We're In - Your guide to state, tribal, and local government
The League produces two compelling civics textbooks, The State We're In: Washington. A new version is designed for elementary grades 3-5, and  the eighth edition of the original is for grades 6 and up.


LWV dei event recordings

Accordion Widget
A Look at Local Tribal Approaches to Health Care
A Look at Local Tribal Approaches to Health Care

Link to recorded forum coming soon.

Featured speakers:

  • Vicki Lowe, Executive Director of the American Indian Health Commission for Washington State (AIHC)
  • Angela Tobias, Family Medicine Doctor and former Skokomish and Squaxin Tribe physician
Accordion Widget
Native American Women and the Suffrage Movement
Native American Women and the Suffrage Movement

 LWVUS Webinar - Native American Women and the Suffrage Movement


Accordion Widget
The League of Women Voters of Thurston County is proud to co-sponsor events and educational opportunities to:
The League of Women Voters of Thurston County is proud to co-sponsor events and educational opportunities to:
Amplify concerns and  work together with community partners to face inequities of historically marginalized people. 

Act when we can, after study and based on the teachings of those with knowledge of appropriate actions that are responsive to community.

Community partnerships have included:

P.O. Box 2203
Olympia WA 98507