Julie Nelson is a Senior Fellow at the Haas Institute where she is working with Director john powell on a national project to support and expand local government’s work on racial equity. Julie was the Director of the Office for Civil Rights for the City of Seattle from 2007 to early 2014, where under her leadership a vision was crafted for the city where all people enjoy equity, opportunity and freedom from illegal discrimination and institutionalized inequities. Julie led the Office for Civil Rights in its pursuit of racial and social justice for everyone in Seattle through education, policy work, and enforcement of civil rights laws. The Office for Civil Rights led Seattle’s Race and Social Justice Initiative, working within City government and the community to get to the root cause of racial inequity: institutional racism. To challenge racism, the Initiative looks beyond individual acts of prejudice to the systemic biases that are built into our institutions.
Julie worked for the City of Seattle for over twenty years, beginning as an intern in the Seattle Water Department. Her positions have included work with the Seattle Human Services Department, Administrative Services and the utilities. She also served as a Community Builder Fellow with the federal government at Housing and Urban Development. Julie has a Masters degree in Economics from the University of Washington and a BA from the University of Arizona with a double major in Economics and Finance. Julie is a strong advocate for the potential of government to overcome the historical legacy of creating and maintaining inequity.