After several council session discussions, the Kirkland City Council approved a resolution to say Black lives matter and work towards ending structural racism, as well as a funding towards more community engagement in this effort.
Resolution R5434, “Affirming that Black Lives Matter and Approving the Framework for Kirkland to Become a Safe, Inclusive and Welcoming Community Through Actions to Improve the Safety and Respect of Black People in Kirkland and End Structural Racism by Partnering with Those Most Affected,” was passed unanimously by the council.
“The City Council has long been committed to doing the hard work to achieve our vision of being a safe, inclusive and welcoming community,” Mayor Penny Sweet stated in a press release. “R-5434 continues that commitment and helps us to ensure that Black voices are partners in our efforts to dismantle systemic anti-Blackness.”
According to the city, R-5434 was drafted based on four key guiding principles:
• Build on previous City work to become safe, inclusive and welcoming.
• Listen, learn and partner with the Black community and People of Color on actions and outcomes.
• Create broad community engagement to identify actions to increase the safety of Black residents and visitors and reduce structural racism.
• Create policy and program outcomes that are specific, measurable, timely and funded.
The City Council also approved $380,000 in early action funding requests to facilitate immediate implementation of community outreach elements, transparency elements, and national best practice research elements in the resolution. The funding will go towards new staff, consultants and technical support to begin the extensive community outreach needed to implement the items in the resolution.
Councilmember Amy Falcone thanked the Black community members in Kirkland who spoke to council on this issue and offered their intellectual and emotional labor in this process. She also acknowledged the city has an all-white council. They thanked the recently-formed Right to Breathe Committee, which formed from the Eastside Race and Leadership Coalition, for their work, much of which ended up in the council’s resolution.
“The city council recognizes that funding is required to make real change,” Councilmember Kelli Curtis stated in a press release. “Creating a community where Black people feel safe is going to take both an investment of dollars and a collective investment of time from all members of our community. The council has made a down payment on these efforts, and we strongly encourage everyone to get involved in this conversation as we move forward.”
More information about R-5434 is available on the City website.
Any community members wishing to be involved in this process can contact David Wolbrecht, Neighborhood Services Outreach Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.