by Mark Van Streefkerk
Representing the 37th district position 2, newly elected Kirsten Harris-Talley built her campaign and platform by organizing with her neighbors. In fact, she ran for office because members of the community asked her to. The first out, Black, queer femme to serve in the Washington State Legislature, Harris-Talley has spent the last 20 years building movements for progressive change. She was a founding board member at SURGE Reproductive Justice, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Washington, and former program director of Progress Alliance of Washington, as well as being involved in grassroots movements like No New Youth Jail. In 2017, she was the second Black woman ever to serve on the Seattle City Council, where she introduced the first version of JumpStart Seattle, a progressive revenue measure that passed this year to help fund COVID-19 recovery.
Now that she’s on her way to Olympia, Harris-Talley pledges to be transparent about policies and decisions that affect people in the 37th district through a future podcast, accountability council, and other tools. Her work is informed by aunties and elders in the community, as well as youth-led activism in the South End, where she has lived with her husband and family in Hillman City since 2004. “I’m going to be organizing with my neighbors. It’s the only way we can win,” she said. “Because I think politics is an organizing game. I don’t think it’s an ideas game — it’s an organizing game.”
Continue reading An Abolitionist in Olympia: How Kirsten Harris-Talley Became the 37th District’s New Legislator
by Ben Adlin
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced Wednesday the initial members of a new City taskforce to recommend ways to spend a proposed $100 million in funding aimed at benefiting Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities.
Coming in response to energetic Black Lives Matter protests throughout the spring and summer, Durkan first made the $100 million proposal last month as part of her budget plan for the coming year.
The mayor said the 28-member task force addresses “deep disparities caused by systemic racism and institutionalized oppression.” But some racial justice organizers say her plan overshadows demands made by protesters and could ultimately turn communities of color against one another.
Continue reading Durkan Announces Members of Proposed $100 Million BIPOC Task Force, Drawing Criticism From Activists
by Erica C. Barnett
(This article was originally published by PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)
UPDATE: Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office has confirmed that the mayor plans to use both JumpStart (payroll) tax revenues, which are currently earmarked for housing, people experiencing homelessness, and small businesses, and money from the Transportation Network Companies (Uber/Lyft) tax to help pay for her $100 million “new investment” in BIPOC communities. The details of that spending would be hammered out by a task force whose members Durkan will soon announce. (More information in original story, below.)
In a pre-recorded message complete with background music, multiple backdrops, and B-roll clips from around Seattle, Mayor Jenny Durkan unveiled a 2021 budget proposal today that relies heavily, as PubliCola was first to report, on revenues from the JumpStart payroll tax passed by the City Council earlier this year. The council expressed its intent to wall off the revenues from the tax for direct COVID-19 relief to Seattle residents in the first two years and to spend the money in 2022 and beyond on affordable housing, non-housing projects outlined in the Equitable Development Initiative, Green New Deal investments, and small business support. Durkan vetoed the spending plan (the council overturned that veto) and allowed the tax to become law without her signature.
Continue reading Durkan Unveils 2021 Budget that Uses JumpStart Tax to Fill Shortfall, Fund $100 Million in Unspecified BIPOC Investments