Tag Archives: King County Equity Now

Block Party Lays Groundwork for Proposed Youth Achievement Center

by Elizabeth Turnbull


Last Sunday, the Seahawks cheerleaders, local activists, and graffiti artists gathered along Martin Luther King Jr Way South and South Angeline Street in Columbia City for one purpose — to bring a youth achievement center to that block of South Seattle.

The building proposal for the center consists of a north and south site which will provide permanent and emergency housing and amenities for different age groups, in addition to space for commercial businesses. Both sites are located next to each other along Martin Luther King Jr Way South adjacent to the Columbia City light rail station. 

Continue reading Block Party Lays Groundwork for Proposed Youth Achievement Center

PHOTO ESSAY: South End Marks First Federal Juneteenth With Celebration and Joy

by Susan Fried, Ronnie Estoque, and Maile Anderson


From marching, dance, and roller skating, to meditation, music, and a restaurant homecoming, South Seattle marked the first federally recognized Juneteenth 2021 with beautiful spirit and joy. Emerald photographers hit the streets on Saturday to capture some of the many happenings around the South End. Among them: In the morning, “No Healing, No Peace!” A Walking Meditation for Black Liberation was held at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park and Jackson’s Catfish Corner celebrated their grand opening and return to the Central District. In the afternoon, It Takes a Village Juneteenth Festival took place in Othello Park while KCEN’s annual Juneteenth Freedom Celebration marched from 22nd Avenue and Madison Street to Jimi Hendrix Park. Black Girls Roller Skate hosted a Juneteenth roller skating party at Judkins Park and, in the evening, Wa Na Wari wrapped up the day at their Juneteenth Outdoor Celebration with live music.

Continue reading PHOTO ESSAY: South End Marks First Federal Juneteenth With Celebration and Joy

PHOTO ESSAY: ‘Honoring Our Black Wall Streets’ Commemorates Tulsa Massacre

by Ronnie Estoque and Susan Fried


Almost 200 Black-owned businesses participated in “Honoring Our Black Wall Streets” on Memorial Day, in the Central District, to honor Black Wall Street on the 100th anniversary of its tragic destruction. The memorial event was organized by King County Equity Now, Black Dot, and Africatown community organizers and celebrated the resilience of the local Black business community.  

In May of 1921, a white mob in Tulsa, Oklahoma attacked the predominantly Black neighborhood of Greenwood, which was known as “Black Wall Street.” The Tulsa Massacre claimed the lives of around 300 Black people living in the community, with many of their businesses and homes burnt to the ground in the riot. Activism in recent years has shed more light on this horrendous event, and those in the Black community in Seattle are continuing to honor the legacy of Black Wall Street through continuing their demands of anti-gentrification measures and reinvestment into historically Black neighborhoods.

In addition to all kinds of businesses including clothing, book, jewelry and food vendors, numerous artists were also represented on Monday. The event was kicked off by the singing of the Black National Anthem and an honoring of Black people who have passed away. The day also included live performances and a community “Electric Slide” for over 20 minutes. Although the day acknowledged a terrible moment in American history, the people gathered paid tribute to the Black community of Tulsa, Oklahoma by supporting Seattle’s many Black-owned businesses and artists.

Continue reading PHOTO ESSAY: ‘Honoring Our Black Wall Streets’ Commemorates Tulsa Massacre

Community Expresses Support for Investing Federal Relief Funds in Black Community

by Chamidae Ford


On Tuesday evening, May 4, the Seattle City Council held a public comment forum to hear how the community would like to see $239 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding spent. 

The forum lasted two and a half hours, featuring nearly 80 community members calling in to voice their opinions.

Continue reading Community Expresses Support for Investing Federal Relief Funds in Black Community

OPINION: Seattle Activists’ Continued Fight for Mutual Aid, True Equity, and Defunding SPD

by Luna Reyna


One-quarter of the entire 2020 Seattle city budget was allocated to the Seattle Police Department (SPD). While last summer’s protests over anti-Black police violence and calls to defund the police resulted in an 18% decrease in the 2021 SPD budget, $364 million was still allocated to SPD. This is an affront to community-led organizations like King County Equity Now (KCEN) and so many others who have been providing much-needed community support and succeeding in creating real public safety

KCEN, which started as an informal coalition of over 60 Black-led community organizations like Africatown Community Landtrust, Community Passageways, and Blaq Elephant Party, is now a formal, pro-Black 501(c)(4) dedicated to achieving equity for all Black peoples across all measurable metrics, including, wealth, health, land ownership, safety, college matriculation rates, organizational control, and more. 

In the ’70s, the Central District’s population was 75% Black, but as a result of Seattle’s tech boom and resulting gentrification, the CD is now only 15% Black. 

“My family was gentrified from the Central District in 2003,” said TraeAnna Holiday, an organizer with KCEN. “I remember wondering why my family couldn’t stay in our neighborhood. This was our neighborhood; I knew it in and out.” 

Continue reading OPINION: Seattle Activists’ Continued Fight for Mutual Aid, True Equity, and Defunding SPD

Housing Finance Commission Biased Against Black-Led Projects, Say Community Groups

by Ashley Archibald


A state commission that doles out debt financing for affordable housing projects is working with community members on reform after criticism that its method for allocating needed money leaves out communities of color.

The current point system used by the Washington State Housing Finance Committee (WSHFC) to assign bonds that help finance affordable housing projects has no allowance for Black- or POC-led projects and promotes less expensive studio and one-bedroom units that don’t work for larger families, critics said in a Feb. 25 meeting in which roughly 80 community members, organized by King County Equity Now, called in to express their anger and frustration.

The process ultimately excludes Black communities from access to appropriate affordable housing and homeownership and also Black developers and construction managers from participating in the government-backed program, said K. Wyking Garrett, president of the Africatown Community Land Trust (ACLT). ACLT had applied for financing for its Africatown Plaza project in the January round but did not receive funding.

Continue reading Housing Finance Commission Biased Against Black-Led Projects, Say Community Groups

Durkan Administration Asks State to Expand Scope of Audit Into City Council Contract

by Erica C. Barnett

(This article was originally published by PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.) 


On Monday, the director of the city’s Department of Finance and Administrative Services (FAS), Calvin Goings, and the city’s finance director, Glen Lee, signed a letter to the State Auditor’s Office (SAO) asking the auditor to expand the scope of its ongoing audit of the contract between the city’s Legislative Department and the Freedom Project, which served as the “fiscal agent” for a $3 million project to study participatory budgeting and alternatives to policing.

However, PubliCola’s reporting indicates that the letter was written not by Goings and Lee but by Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office — and that Goings and Lee were less than thrilled to sign their names to such a blatantly political series of requests and leading questions.

Continue reading Durkan Administration Asks State to Expand Scope of Audit Into City Council Contract

Dear Nikkita, Thank You for Helping Us Envision a Liberated Future

by Jenna Hanchard


Listen to the full audio recording of this interview.

From Fannie Lou Hamer to Stacey Abrams, Black womxn organizers have historically had one of the biggest impacts on transforming our communities and improving the social outcomes of our neighborhoods. In the last year in Seattle, there is no doubt Nikkita Oliver (they/them) has served as one of the community’s north stars as we look for solutions for eradicating police and State violence and building a community that we want to live in. In this pivotal moment in U.S. history, where more people have joined the fight for Black and Brown Liberation, Lola’s Ink journalist Jenna Hanchard was in conversation with Nikkita Oliver to talk about their leadership and imagining a future where someday they could just fade into the background.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity

Jenna Hanchard: What does Black Liberation look like, smell like, taste like, feel like?

Continue reading Dear Nikkita, Thank You for Helping Us Envision a Liberated Future

The Morning Update Show — 2/9/21

The Morning Update Show — hosted by Trae Holiday and The Big O (Omari Salisbury) — is the only weekday news and information livestream that delivers culturally relevant content to the Pacific Northwest’s urban audience. Omari and Trae analyze the day’s local and national headlines as well as melanin magic in our community. Watch live every weekday at 11 a.m. on any of the following channels, hosted by Converge Media: YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, Periscope, and whereweconverge.com.

We’ll also post the Morning Update Show here on the Emerald each day after it airs, so you can catch up any time of day while you peruse our latest posts.

Morning Update Show — Tuesday, Feb. 9

LIVE — Natasha Marin | Black Brilliance Parts Ways With KCEN | KCEN Introduces Community Stewards | Black History Today — Danny Cage Jr. | Vaccine Inequity in Washington State | Is Snow in the Forecast?

Continue reading The Morning Update Show — 2/9/21

Black Brilliance Research Project, born from Seattle’s Black Lives Matter protests, moving on without King County Equity Now

by JSeattle

(This article originally appeared on Capitol Hill Seattle Blog and has been reprinted with permission.)


One of the most concrete outcomes at Seattle City Hall of the summer’s Black Lives Matter protests is showing cracks and fissures. Monday afternoon, people working on the Black Brilliance Research Project said they have chosen to “part ways” with King County Equity Now, a coalition of Black-led organizations, including the Central District’s Africatown, that formed during the protests and rallies of 2020 and grew into a new nonprofit to end the year.

“We know that our liberation is intertwined, and we will continue to build alongside all people invested in Black liberation,” the announcement reads. “However, we do not have confidence in KCEN leadership’s current capacity and ability to bring this research project to the finish line in a way that meets the needs of our researchers and community and serves the best interests of the project’s vision and responsibility moving forward.”

Continue reading Black Brilliance Research Project, born from Seattle’s Black Lives Matter protests, moving on without King County Equity Now