Alaska Oregon Washington State-Area Conference

Workshop Descriptions

Saturday Workshops

Economic Development:

TAKING A PIECE OF THE PIE: Economic Justice for All
Across the area, NAACP organizers have united in the fight against the devastating impacts of economic inequality. This workshop explores how communities are restoring business and homeownership lost from the harmful effects of gentrification. Learn how to repurpose abandoned properties for public benefit; master the use of community benefits agreements; and grow your communities without leaving Black residents and entrepreneurs behind. We know that doors unlock with a quality education, but the expense costs more than its benefit leading borrowers drowning in debt. Join the conversation as we detail what activists are doing to reform student loan.


The Reality of Racism in Public Schools: What is Happening and What Needs to be Done
On May 7, 2019, Washington Govenor Jay Inslee signed into law that passing the SBAC is no longer a graduation requirement. This is huge as the OptOut movement was started in 2015 with Seattle's Garfield High School students and teachers with support from the Seattle King County NAACP Branch and the State Area Conference. This movement brought attention to the racially biased nature of these exams. After four years of work it has finally been signed into law making it possible for thousands of Washington State students to graduate.

Criminal Justice:

Return of Parole in Washington State: A Community Review Board
Many families and communities, especially families of color, have been devastated by the absence of loved ones, sentenced to decades in prison. Punitive approaches to incarceration do not have a net positive impact on society. Crime rates in Washington have not changed since the 1980s, yet the state has spent more money confining people to prison. More families have suffered the emotional and economic consequences of a loved one’s incarceration, and low-income neighborhoods have become more deeply entrenched in poverty. Mass incarceration has not done much to improve public safety, but it has harmed the health and well-being of disadvantaged communities.

Although most academic researchers, correctional agencies, and members of the public have come to accept the idea that rehabilitation is possible, it is still not the underlying philosophy behind most criminal justice policies in Washington. In 1984, discretionary parole review for the possibility of early release was eliminated in Washington for all but a few categories of people. This decision was motivated by the incorrect assumption that people who commit serious or violent offenses in Washington are incapable of change.

Washington CAN and Community Partners are fighting to bring back parole and create a Community Review Board. Expanding eligibility for parole review to the rest of the state prison population could:

  • Improve the economic and social well-being of neighborhoods decimated by indiscriminate gang sweeps and over-policing
  • Reduce the economic burden of mass incarceration on families who are supporting their love ones in prison and getting by in single-income households
  • Reduce the inequity of mass incarceration, disproportionately confining people in poverty and people of color to long sentences
  • Interrupt the cycle of incarceration by restoring children’s contact with their parents
  • Promote a criminal justice system based on rehabilitation and healing, rather than retribution and extreme punishments.

Civic Engagement:

Stay Woke 2 Vote and Approve I-1000: Community Education and Discussion on Referendum 88
I-1000 was a statewide initiative to the Washington State Legislature to make Affirmative Action a state law which promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion in public education, public employment and public contracting for qualified women, veterans, the disabled and people of color, without the use of quotas. I-1000 was passed by the Legislature last session, but a group gathered the signatures required to put I-1000 on the November ballot in hopes of overturning the Legislature's decision. Learn how to GET OUT THE VOTE and educate your friends, family and neighbors to keep fair opporunity in Washington State and Approve I-1000 on Referendum 88.