Kirkland City Hall on March 13, 2020. Mitchell Atencio/Staff Photo.

Kirkland publishes two-year report on equity, Welcoming Kirkland Initiative

The initiative began following a 2018 incident where a local Menchie’s called 911 over a Black man visiting their shop.

A report culminating nearly two years of community engagement and policy analysis to bridge gaps in equity and inclusivity for people of color, called the Welcoming Kirkland Initiative (WKI), has been completed and is available for review on the city of Kirkland website.

The initiative was developed to address issues that were identified in a 2018 incident at a Menchie’s in Totem Lake, where the store’s owner called 911 on a Black man sitting at the shop. The officer who arrived at the call asked the man to leave without questioning the reason why— it turned out he was at the yogurt shop as a court-appointed special advocate to watch a custody visit taking place, as previously reported in Kirkland Reporter.

The city says the events of that day highlighted concerns that people of color in general, and Black people, in particular, have lived experiences of an unwelcoming and inequitable community in contrast to the city’s stated goal to be safe, inclusive and welcoming for all.

In response to the 2018 incident, the Kirkland Police Department immediately changed its protocol addressing “unwanted person” calls. The city also partnered with Leadership Eastside (LE) to reevaluate and make recommendations for policy and protocols, and to implement community learning about racism and equity. The WKI planning and work groups included more than 20 leaders, representing a variety of public needs including the Kirkland Assistant City Manager and Kirkland Police Chief. Community talks included topics such as Preparing to be Color Conscious and Color Brave, which brought nearly 100 attendees. The community talk series was cut short in March due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since the WKI efforts began in 2019, the tragic killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota in May 2020 spurred protests, marches and rallies in Kirkland and nationwide, calling for an end to structural racism and affirming that Black lives matter. These events underscored the necessity of these efforts by the city of Kirkland.

In August 2020, the city passed Resolution 5434, affirming that Black lives matter and committing to end systemic racism. The upcoming biennial budget includes approximately $5.6 million committed for initiatives related to this resolution.

“We’re extremely grateful for the effort, thoughtfulness and dedication of all those involved in the Welcoming Kirkland Initiative,” Councilmember Neal Black stated in a press release. “The city is committed to continuing the difficult but productive conversations about racism that are needed to create a Kirkland where Black community members feel safe and respected. WKI has helped foster the relationships and groundwork that will help us identify and implement solutions to racism in all its forms.”

For more information on the WKI, or how to get involved, visit kirklandwa.gov.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@kirklandreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kirklandreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

Geographic dispersion of Washington State Patrol commissioned personnel who lost their jobs Oct. 18. (Washington State Patrol)
Rather than get vaccine, nearly 1,900 state workers lose jobs

Exactly how many people will be out of work for ignoring Gov.… Continue reading

King County Courthouse adjacent to City Hall Park (courtesy of City of Seattle)
County council votes to take dangerous park out of Seattle’s hands

City Hall Park, next to the courthouse in downtown Seattle, has had multiple reports of crime.

stock image
Health care workers call on state’s hospitals to help mitigate staffing crisis

Health care workers unions claim hospitals have the resources to fix the issue.

file photo
Eastside Fire & Rescue says their response times will not be affected by absence of unvaccinated employees

Spokesperson says about 13 employees have left the department at the moment.

File photo
Do you need to pay for your COVID hospital stay?

Washington state law requires hospitals to provide free care for certain income brackets.

Stock photo
State AG Ferguson leads effort supporting local journalism

Federal legislation offers tax credits to subscribers, businesses and news organizations

C-17 at Joint Base Lewis McChord airstrip (courtesy of United States Military)
King County councilmember proposes program to aid transition of Afghan interpreters who served the U.S. overseas

Program would provide job training and learning opportunities for Afghan interpreters and advisors.

Vaccinations taking place. File photo
Inslee: No ‘massive disruptions’ as worker vax rates hit 90%

A surge in vaccinations has eased concern about service slowdowns ahead of a Monday deadline.

King County Councilmember Kathy Lambert (file photo)
Lambert removed from King County Council leadership roles

Lambert received backlash after her campaign used flyers that depicted her opponent as a puppet.

Most Read