Voice your support for Whatcom County Council passing an ordinance establishing a Racial Equity Commission / Noisy Waters Northwest

Click the image of the event information graphic for the Whatcom Racial Equity Commission Bring All the Bright Celebration to access information on the Facebook information page for the event

October 10, 2022 Dena Jensen

I sent in my email of support for the Racial Equity Commission this last weekend. I’m including that email, a response from Whatcom County Executive Satpal Sidhu, plus my email reply to him below. 

Meanwhile, there are addresses at the bottom of this post where you can send your own. There is a Public Hearing for the ordinance establishing the REC at the October 11, 2022 Whatcom County Council meeting that starts at 6:00 p.m. Additionally, there is a celebration starting at 4:00 p.m. the same day on the Bellingham Public Library lawn in honor of all the work that has been done to create this community-driven public/private advisory commission.  (Pizza and cupcakes will be shared!)

Here is the link to the Facebook event information page: https://www.facebook.com/events/496086295411393

Here is a copy of the email chain I mentioned above:

My email to the County Council Members

Sent: Sunday, October 9, 2022, 08:51:27 AM PDT

Subject: Support for passing the ordinance establishing a Racial Equity Commission

Dear Whatcom County Council:

I am writing to call on you to approve the ordinance establishing a Racial Equity Commission. I have been following much of the process of community members and officials working together to learn and collaborate in order to make such a commission as effective as possible in addressing community impacts and concerns related to racial equity.

I wanted to speak to the points raised by some of the Council Members about broadening the equity scope of the commission and removing the sole focus on racial equity. Besides the obvious sense of rejection and rebuke that many members of the BIPOC community members would feel in diluting the focus of racial equity – especially due to the historical context and trauma of black, indigenous and people of color being oppressed and mistreated – I will tell you that I believe that retaining the racial equity scope of this commission will actually help it to better accomplish meaningful and beneficial goals. 

I have followed many other boards and commissions and there is always a struggle for members to review, cover, and prioritize the many issues related to their particular focus. I suggest that it would be a great idea for Council Members to encourage and help develop more advisory boards for historically oppressed and mistreated communities who they feel are currently underserved in receiving a focus for equity.

I am grateful for the work of Council Members who have helped remove obstacles from the path of our community achieving racial equity and who are taking further steps to empower their community with resources to remove racially discriminatory practices and policies from their government. 


Dena Jensen

Birch Bay, WA

Whatcom County Executive Sidhu’s response to my email above

Sent: Monday, October 10, 2022, 09:59:02 AM PDT

Subject: RE: Support for passing the ordinance establishing a Racial Equity Commission

Dear Dena,

Thanks for your endorsement for the establishment of Whatcom County Racial Equity Commission.

I however, feel that the just focusing on “Racial Equity” is not where the world is going to be in next decade or two. This commission should engage to a society of grandkids would live in and not what our grandparents faced. I have made this argument in the taskforce deliberations during the past 12 months.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion actually cover the “racial equity” much thoroughly the equity issues in our society, than just color of one’s skin.  While I am aware of the past racial inequality history of America and having a lived experience for past 40 plus years, I still believe the scope of commission should be broader than making it narrower.

 Kind regards,

Satpal S Sidhu BS BSEE MBA Fulbright Scholar Whatcom County Executive
360 778 5200 ssidhu@whatcomcounty.us
311 Grand Ave Bellingham WA 98225

This email is subject to disclosure under Public Records Act

My email reply to County Executive Sidhu

Sent: Monday, October 10, 2022, 06:00:01 PM PDT

Subject: Re: Support for passing the ordinance establishing a Racial Equity Commission

Dear Executive Sidhu:

Thank you for actions you have taken to support the Racial Equity Commission.

I can see that it could be possible, perhaps, that if the Racial Equity Commission is able to eliminate enough racial inequity and discriminatory practices and policies over the coming years, that it could assess that its members have the time and resources to handle other community equity issues. At this time, however, I support what I assume is the consensus decision of the REC stakeholders, which is to focus on racial equity. I believe this will also help address the issue that is a present day one, where many marginalized peoples are understandably prone to feeling erased and unacknowledged when their specific names and their specific issues are not allowed to be spoken or intentionally focused on.

And while the Racial Equity Commission will be prioritizing focus on racial equity, I have no doubt that their actions will have positive impacts toward increasing the kind of innovative learning, policy and practice changing, and collaboration needed to at least improve equity for different kinds of marginalized communities, as well.

Meanwhile, other communities who are being subjected to inequity should not be left behind or feel ignored. The injustices that they are experiencing need to be presently addressed, as well. I am additionally very supportive of new boards and commissions being formed as soon as possible to focus on the specific equity needs of other communities facing discrimination, oppression, persecution, and other forms of mistreatment. We can broaden our scope of achieving equity, while not restricting it to being the job of only one board, commission, etc. 

As always, I call on all of our leaders to become increasingly active in empowering community members to create solutions and means to collaborate to achieve well-being for every individual. 


Dena Jensen

Birch Bay, WA

The emails above were sent to the following addresses:

To: Council <council@co.whatcom.wa.us>; Todd Donovan <tdonovan@co.whatcom.wa.us>; Kaylee Galloway <kgallowa@co.whatcom.wa.us>; Barry Buchanan <bbuchana@co.whatcom.wa.us>; Carol Frazey <cfrazey@co.whatcom.wa.us>; Kathy Kershner <kkershne@co.whatcom.wa.us>; Tyler Byrd <tbyrd@co.whatcom.wa.us>; Ben Elenbaas <belenbaa@co.whatcom.wa.us>; Satpal Sidhu <ssidhu@co.whatcom.wa.us>

Cc: info@chuckanuthealthfoundation.org <info@chuckanuthealthfoundation.org>; mayorsoffice@cob.org <mayorsoffice@cob.org>; ccmail@cob.org <ccmail@cob.org>; Health <health@co.whatcom.wa.us>