June 27, 2020
Eileen Quiring, Council Chair Clark County Government P.O. Box 5000
Vancouver, WA 98666-5000
Dear Chair Quiring,
As an organization dedicated to helping ensure equality of rights and eliminate racial hatred and discrimination, we, the NAACP of Vancouver, are deeply concerned by your denial of the systemic racism that exists in Clark County. Your comments and attitude prove that you lack the knowledge, integrity, and vision to competently lead our county. For the best interest of all Clark County residents, we call upon you to immediately resign as County Chair.
In your argument opposing the letter of support for Clark County Sheriff Chuck Atkins' decision to order removal of “thin blue line” decals from county property, you stated that you "do not believe that there is any systemic racism in Clark County." This belief reflects ignorance at best, given facts such as the State Attorney General's recent finding that children of color are disproportionately disciplined over their white counterparts in Vancouver School District; the county's infamous history of workplace racial discrimination, lawsuits, substantial settlements, inability to sustain meaningful workplace diversity; and disparities in local policing.
The majority of your fellow council members, key leaders such as Sheriff Atkins, and many Clark County residents have embraced anti-racism and a different vision for the future. As County Chair, you are required to "articulate council policies, vision, strategies, and plans; represent the county before the governor, state legislature and other state and federal agencies.” You cannot effectively perform these duties while lacking introspection and the ability or willingness to recognize the reality of racism — including implicit bias, white privilege that sustains the status quo, and the adverse impact on people of color.
We challenge you to become educated on racism and examine your own privilege and racial bias. Meanwhile, neither people of color, Clark County nor the world can continue to wait for you to become educated, reflective, and truly open to change while occupying the County Chair position. Time is of the essence to attain political, educational, social, and economic equality for all people in Clark County. We urge you to step down to make way for a leader with the depth and desire to make our county a safe and welcoming place for all.
President, NAACP Vancouver Branch 1139