Pursuing Freedom from the Shackles of Debt

Please join our community convening as we learn and explore strategies to prevent further harm and directly address racial equity to close wealth divides.

Debt can crush souls and our economy. It has long been an instrument of racial inequality. Nearly 1 in 4 people in Washington state hold debt in collections, while nearly 1 in 3 people of color hold debt in collections. Debt impacts health, access to education, employment, housing, and even the right to vote, continually constraining life chances for individuals and their families. At the same time the magnitude of debt is weighing down our economy as people can’t afford to purchase a home, buy a car, start a business, or create new families.

Please join the discussion as we dive into the national scope and scale of the types of debt and their impact. We’ll also take a closer look at court ordered and consumer debt in Washington state, including recently released research from Pierce County.

We’ll discuss strategies to prevent or mitigate debt or insure that consumer debt is secured under the best terms. We’ll explore local solutions already in play as well as new solutions to consider and together identify potential ideas and strategies and raise questions for further exploration.


  • Joanna Smith Ramani, Aspen Institute, Expanding Prosperity Impact Collaborative
  • Karin Martin, Daniel J. Evans School of Public Policy and Governance, University of Washington
  • Marcy Bowers, Statewide Poverty Action Network