Photo depicting a group of diverse friends at a summer outdoor party cooking over a BBQ grill.

Your City, Your Budget: Decide How to Spend $27M of Public Funds at This Sunday’s Free Cookout

“This [budgeting] process is powered by you. We’re putting the mic in your hands.”

by Julie-C

On Sunday, July 23, 2023, from 12 to 7 p.m. at Othello Park, a “$27 Million Dollar Cookout” will take place, and the whole city is invited. This family-friendly event will feature a community open mic, a youth step-team performance by Black Coffee Northwest’s Northside Step Team, and live DJ sets by Seattle hip-hop staples Toya B and Vitamin D. Ezell’s Famous Chicken, Lil Red Takeout and Catering, Winnie’s Cafe & Deli, and The Greedy Vegan are among the local Black-owned businesses providing free food for the function. However, as much as it is a celebration of community, this event is also a call to action.

Sunday’s cookout is sponsored by the Participatory Budgeting Project (PBP) to launch the idea collection phase of Seattle’s new PB process. Throughout the event, attendees will be invited to contribute their ideas for how the City of Seattle should spend $27 million in public funds. The ideas will then be synthesized into proposals in five focus areas: housing and physical spaces, mental health, youth and children, economic development, and crisis and wellness. The public will then vote on their favorite proposals for the next budget cycle. The first 100 people to contribute ideas will receive $25 gift cards, and raffle prizes will include $50 gas cards.

Though PB isn’t new to Seattle, this most recent evolution is the direct result of a long path of advocacy that sprung from the local 2020 George Floyd uprisings for Black lives. The framework was laid out by the community-led Black Brilliance Research Project, and has been bolstered by the advocacy of the Seattle Solidarity Budget for the last three years.

In addition to in-person participation on Sunday, PBP will also be gathering ideas at the Skyway Resource Fair on Friday, July 21, as well as online.

“This participatory process is powered by you. We’re putting the mic in your hands, asking you to tap into your radical imagination and lived experience,” read Tuesday’s announcement of the event sent out to the PBP mailing list. “Share your suggestions with us at these upcoming live events and stay tuned for a link to our online idea submission portal.”

Readers can follow the PB process by signing up for the mailing list online.

Headshot depicting Julie-C

Julie-C is a hip-hop artist, storyteller, and network weaver surfing intersections of creative and cultural organizing, self and community empowerment, collective imagination, collaborative manifestation, and the holistic healing of all things relational. Co-founder of On the Block Seattle, Forever Safe Spaces, and Seattle ACED, she believes in alchemy through the upliftment of artists and human creativity. Follow her @JouleSea on all platforms.

📸 Featured Image: Photo via tool2530/

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