On Wednesday, October 6, the Lynnwood Times facilitated an interview forum with several candidates running for Mayoral, City Council, and School District positions in Lynnwood and Mukilteo. It was an insightful experience listening to each candidates’ response and perspective. There was one question in particular, though, that has left staff both puzzled and concerned: What does equity mean to you?
To understand what equity means, the Lynnwood Times spoke with Assistant Professor of Sociology and Medical Education and Clinical Sciences from Washington State University, Dr. Anna Zamora-Kapoor. While some believe that equity implies equal outcomes, Dr. Kapoor explains how equity focuses on achieving equal opportunity.
“The concept of equity is close to fairness and equal opportunity, and usually contrasted to equality,” she says. “Equality provides everyone with the same resources while equity recognizes that some groups need additional resources to have an equal opportunity to thrive.”
When given cash with no strings attached, low- and middle-income parents increased their spending on their children, according to Washington State University research. The study, published in the journal Social Forces, also found that the additional funding had little impact on child-related expenditures of high-income parents.
For the study, WSU sociologist Mariana Amorim analyzed spending by recipients of the Alaska Permanent Fund payments. Funded by state oil revenues, the fund is the closest program in the United States to a universal basic income. Every resident in Alaska receives a payment called a dividend; the total amount varies each year, but during the time span of this study, 1996-2015, payments averaged around $1,812 a person, or $7,248 for a four-person family, when adjusted for inflation to 2014 dollars.
“The data suggests that lower-income parents are responsible using cash payments, so we don’t need to be so afraid to give poor people money that can help their families,” Amorim said. “Low-income parents do need to spend a greater part of the money they received on basic necessities—for instance to catch up on bills or to fix a broken car—but they still managed with the leftover amount to invest in their children.”
Data from the FBI’s 2020 Uniform Crime Report show the number of homicides rose nearly 83% from the previous year.
In 2020, there were 53 homicides reported. In 2019, there were 29. The number of homicides reported in 2020 is more than double the number in 2018 and 2017.
In February 2021, Clay Mosher, a sociology professor at Washington State University Vancouver who studies crime trends, told KOIN 6 News it’s possible crime during the COVID-19 pandemic years could prove to be a statistical anomaly and he’s interested to see what the long-term data will show.
In 2021, the Portland Police Bureau says there were 60 homicides reported between January and August.
Helping to bridge divides of understanding within communities is at the heart of four free, public presentations by Washington State University professors to be hosted online in October.
Sociologist Jennifer Sherman will present “Diamonds in the Rough: The Gentrification of Rural Washington” on Tuesday, Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. and on Tuesday, Oct. 12, at noon. Philosopher Michael Goldsby will present “Why Deny Science” on Wednesday, Oct. 6, at 5:30 p.m. and on Wednesday, Oct. 27, at 6:30 p.m.
In addition to Sherman and Goldsby, WSU professors Bill Kabasenche in philosophy, Matthew A. Sutton in history and Steven Stehr in political science are members of the Humanities Washington (HW) Speakers Bureau for 2021–23.
The non-partisan Foley Institute seeks to broaden the educational experience of WSU students and the surrounding community by engaging prominent speakers who encourage thought-provoking discussions and by supporting student internships in public service and scholarly research into public policy and political institutions.
Eight professors from across the country will present research related to inequality in a lecture series hosted online by Washington State University this fall.
The Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service hosts the distinguished lectures to “broaden the educational experience of WSU students and the surrounding community by bringing engaging and influential opinion leaders to campus in encourage thought-provoking discussions and ideas.”
While The Foley Institute looks to host a diverse set of lecturers, Jennifer Sherman is taking a local look at systemic inequality. Sherman is a current WSU associate professor of sociology and will present her lecture, “The gentrification of Washington,” on Oct. 12 at noon.
“A lot of us have gone a year and half without seeing people in our departments and additional committees,” Sherman said. “To be around people who share the same interest and passion as you around the campuses is really exciting.”