Local organizations working toward racial equity and social justice

VISD Racial Equity Team

As we have seen on January 6th at our nation’s capitol, the fight for racial justice in America is ongoing work. As educators, one of our utmost responsibilities is to advocate for racially equitable education for all our students. The Vashon Island School District Racial Equity Team, with members from our community partners including, Parents and Friends for Racial Equity on Vashon, meets every other month to support our district racial equity policy and programs. Along with our individual building teams and our student-led Racial Equity Pact team, we build momentum as our program continues to emphasize and organize around Social and Racial Justice work. Our team welcomes any and all new members. Please contact us for any questions or dialogue.

VISD Racial Equity Page: https://sites.google.com/vashonsd.org/racial-equity/home

VISD Contact Info: smcsheehy@vashonsd.org or sspencer@vashonsd.org


Backbone Campaign

Backbone Campaign was started on Vashon Island in 2004 and today it a national leader in artful activism.  We are a not for profit and we invite volunteer help by Islanders who want to help frontline communities get their messages out in big, media-savvy and attention-grabbing ways.  We build banners in our warehouse at the Sheffield Bldg that get shipped across the country; volunteers can help make banners by working remotely at home, or in our warehouse with physical distancing. We also recently started a Time Bank, the Vashon Island Time Exchange. It is open to all Islanders to join, for free at VashonTime.org and is a tool for connecting people to get the services and help they need. As part of our time bank, we host monthly Teach-Ins for Islanders to present in a 20-30 minute session what they are passionate about and interested in sharing with others. It’s all about building community resilience and the circular, sharing economy!


Info: email info@backbonecampaign.org


Vashon Youth & Family Services – Latino Outreach Services

For 43 years, Vashon Youth & Family Services has been a vital member of the Vashon Community and the Vashon Community is a vital part of VYFS. The mission of Vashon Youth and Family Services is to foster a thriving community of emotionally healthy and resilient children, youth, adults and families. Services include: Child, youth and family counseling; substance use disorder assessment and treatment; after-school enrichment and licensed childcare; parent education; case management and crisis intervention.

The Latino Outreach Program helps overcome the language and trust barriers that exist for Latino Islanders in accessing childhood education and social services. Program staff work directly with Latino students and parents in Vashon’s public middle and high schools, providing translation and interpretation services to help them navigate the education system and succeed academically. In cooperation with other Island organizations, the program also facilitates culturally-appropriate opportunities for developing connections and a sense of welcome in the larger Island community.

206-463-5511 ext. 233



The DOVE Project

The DOVE Project (which stands for Dignity, Opportunity, Voice, Empowerment) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit supporting survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault on Vashon Island since 2011. DOVE offers a wide range of services including direct services advocacy, prevention education and community outreach and engagement. DOVE values diverse perspectives and strives to incorporate an anti-oppression lens in all aspects of our work. We acknowledge that racism is the root of all oppressive systems and continue to hold the systems we navigate accountable for anti-racist practices. Our goal is to build a community in which abuse is eliminated and personal empowerment is promoted through prevention, education, and training.





Parents and Friends for Racial Equity on Vashon

Our parent committee’s mission is to partner with VISD and serve as a resource to help all children and families promote inclusion, racial equity and social justice, to create permanent systemic change, and to close the opportunity and achievement gaps.

Our goal is to teach children and their parents how to recognize and combat racism and racial discrimination, as well as engage in dialogue about race issues with respect and integrity.

Our parent and community wide committee of now hundreds is officially partnered with VISD’s equity team, and the school board formerly approved a racial equity policy in September 2017.  We meet every other month with the school district’s leadership team to continue to work together to lift up all students.

If you would like to learn more or become more involved, please join our Facebook page, “Parents and Friends for Racial Equity on Vashon” and join our mailing list by contacting springhecht@gmail.com


Vashon-Maury SURJ

Vashon-Maury SURJ – Showing Up for Racial Justice – is a chapter of the National Organization, which focuses on calling in white folks to become informed, educated, and engaged as collaborators with Black and other People of Color in the quest for racial justice and equity. On Vashon, we have focused on partnered with other social justice groups such as Backbone, Parents & Friends for Racial Equity and Indivisible Vashon in pursuit of our goals. We have followed the lead of off-island POC led groups, including Numbers to Names, We R Here Families Shoulder to Shoulder, and BlackPAC. Our recent focus has been on getting out the vote in both the national and GA elections, and on Criminal Justice, which we have addressed primarily through court witnessing and legislative action. We invite you to join our mailing list, follow us on facebook and otherwise engage in taking action for racial justice.

Contact: Janie Starr starrboogie@earthlink.net