Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County launches Black-led community investment fund

SEATTLE — Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County announced Saturday that it has launched a Black-led community investment fund with nearly $250,000 in its first round of grants that will go to seven organizations.

BLMSKC said it also endorsed a roster of demands made by the King County Equity Now Coalition for repurposing underused public lands.

The fund was created to put donations that were recent back into the community, according to BLMSKC.

BLMSKC said $170,000 was raised in connection with the “March of Silence” June 12. That march brought out an estimated 85,000 people who marched in the streets of Seattle and also mobilized thousands across Washington state, the organization said.

The organization said the grants will include gifts that will go to the Mothers for Police Accountability and KCENC.

A $25,000 grant will support MPA and $50,000 will go to KCENC in its efforts to continue to support the “basic and emergency needs of black children and youth in the Central District.”

The other grants will go toward other organizations like black community media outlets, according to BLMSKC.

As for KCENC’s demands for repurposing underused public lands, it proposed this:

  • The decommissioned Fire Station 6 on 23rd and Yesler become William Grose Center for Enterprise, per the City of Seattle Equitable Development Plan.
  • The vacant Sound Transit Lot on Martin Luther King Jr. Way South and South Angeline Street become the Youth Achievement Center.
  • The Paramount Nursing Home, formally Black-owned and recently acquired by Washington state, revert to Black-community ownership.
  • The Seattle Housing Authority Operations Site on Martin Luther King Jr. Way South and Dearborn become affordable housing.
  • A halt to development at the King County Records Site project on 13th and Yesler until it includes equitable participation by a Black-led, community-based organization.
  • A halt to development at Yesler Terrace West until it includes equitable participation by a Black-led, community-based organization.
  • A halt to the Washington State Department of Commerce’s corrupt Priority Development Area proposal for the Seattle Vocational Institute. A new request for proposal process that is truly open, transparent and accountable to the Central Area’s Black community should commence.
  • A halt to all predatory development in the Central Area and other historic areas of color.
  • The establishment of a $500 million anti-gentrification, land acquisition fund to help the Black community acquire property in the Central Area and support Black economic development. The fund shall include:
  1. Technical assistance resources for Black contractors to ensure equitable participation opportunities in the development of projects in their community.
  2. Access to capital and culturally responsive business development training for small businesses to grow their businesses by participating in public projects.
  3. A displacement mitigation fund for property owners and small businesses that have endured redlining.
  • Redistribution of $180 million from the Seattle Police Department (SPD) budget. Seattle faces a $300 million budget shortfall due to COVID-19. Instead of defunding education or scaling back on much-needed social services in a recession, Seattle City Council must reduce SPD’s $363 million budget by at least half to help cover the city’s deficit. This permanent, annual cut should lead to increased investment in Black-led, community-based organizations.
  • Investment of at least $50 million from the SPD budget should be injected directly into the Black community. It is equally important to shift resources into Black-led, community organizations to ensure that COVID-19 does not exacerbate the only widening racial resource and wealth gap.
  • A severing of all existing contracts and all financial ties between Seattle Public School District and SPD.
  • A dropping of all charges against police violence protesters. The city attorney must not prosecute protesters — including those arrested for violating curfew and living in encampments. Protesters took to the streets to end the murders of Black people by police. SPD unnecessarily escalated tensions and violence.