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Celebrating Black History Month

Black History Month is the history of our nation. Black History Month had its beginnings when famed activist, writer, and preeminent historian Carter G. Woodson influenced the American Historical Society in 1926 to designate the second week of February as “Negro History Week.” Carter G. Woodson, founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History ( now called the Association for the Study of African American Life and History), chose the month of February because the birthdays of two individuals who were very influential in the lives of African Americans—President Abraham Lincoln, and former slave and abolitionist Frederick Douglass—were born in February. In 1976, as America celebrated its bicentennial, Negro History Week became Black History Month, a celebration recognized in the U.S. and Canada. Black History Month is a time to remember the important people, events, and contributions of African Americans, historically and currently, not only in the United States, but throughout the world. It is also a time to illuminate the contributions of black Americans in the United States and the world community. Take time this month to learn something new:

Click here to read the King County Council's proclamation of the month of February as Black History Month in King County.

Communities of Opportunity

Brother's KeeperCommunity of Opportunity (COO) started as an innovative partnership in 2014 between King County and Seattle Foundation based on the research that where a child grows up—the community in which they live—greatly impacts their health and well-being. This unique public-private and community-based partnership allows for a greater achievement impact and broader system change than if we approached the work in independent silos. Complex challenges require new approaches and real community engagement. This requires that community members be at the table from the beginning to harness their perspectives, relevant knowledge and lived experience. Community members have a vitally important role in shaping COO. Since 2015, over 90 community residents along with 45 community organizations and their leaders have co-designed solutions in partnership with our subject-matter experts at King County and Seattle Foundation. The COO mission is creating greater health, social, economic and racial equity in King County so that all people thrive and prosper, regardless of race or place.

The COO Interim Governance Group will meet to review applications and take a vote on recommendations at their March 17, 2017 meeting. For more information, click here

Celebrating Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

As we begin the New Year, mark your calendars for January 15, 2017, the birthday of the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I hope you will be able to join me at two exciting events dedicated to celebrating his life and the continuing work to make his dream a reality.

Thursday, January 12: All King County residents are invited to the 2017 King County Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration to celebrate the memory of Dr. King. Now in its 30th year, the MLK Celebration recognizes the impact that Dr. King had on our community and our nation, and reminds us to keep striving toward his dream of equity and justice. As stated on the 2017 King County MLK Calendar:

America owes a debt of justice which it has only begun to pay. If it loses the will to finish or slackens in its determination, history will recall its crimes and the country that would be great will lack the most indispensable element of greatness -- justice.
--Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The 2017 celebration will be held at 12pm on Thursday, January 12 at the 5th Avenue Theatre, 1308 Fifth Ave. in downtown Seattle. This year’s keynote speaker is Alexs Pate, author, professor, and founder of the Innocent Classroom program for K-12 educators. Innocent Classroom focuses on ending educational disparities by closing the relationship gap between educators and students of color. Pate launched Innocent Classroom in 2012 with a vision to rebuild teacher-student relationships in school districts with some of the nation's widest gaps in achievement. Since that time, more than 2,300 educators in 170 schools and programs have participated in Constructing the Innocent Classroom workshops. Come help us mark three decades of keeping Dr. King's dream alive!

Monday, January 16: The Martin Luther King Celebration Committee announces the 35th annual region-wide Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration. This year's theme is “Stop the Hate: Come Together.” This yearly celebration of MLK Day occurs during a time of political and social unrest. The urgent need for our communities to unite and make a positive difference have inspired this years' theme as an acknowledgment that we have yet to achieve Dr. King's "Beloved Community." In the words of Dr. King, "[a]nd so the aftermath of violence is bitterness; the aftermath of non-violence is the creation of the beloved community; the aftermath of non-violence is redemption and reconciliation."

The celebration begins at Garfield High School, located at 23rd Avenue and East Jefferson Street, in Seattle. Workshops from 9:30 to 11 a.m., Rally at 11 a.m., and March at 12:30 p.m. The March starts at Garfield High School and concludes at the Federal Building 2nd & Madison with another rally & program. For more information, please visit or email

Councilmember Gossett featured on Prosecutor's Partners

What’s Happening in District 2

It’s Winter and there are some exciting events happening. Here are a number of events happening throughout the district you may enjoy.

University District Farmers Market
Saturdays, year round
9am - 2pm
University Way NE (the "Ave"), between 50th & 52nd streets, Seattle, WA 98105

Dance Theatre of Harlem: 40 Years of Firsts Exhibit
February 1 - March 19, 2017
11am - 5pm, daily
Northwest African American Museum, 2300 S Massachusetts Street, Seattle, WA 98144

Dance Theatre of Harlem: 40 Years of Firsts is an exhibition that highlights the many accomplishments of African Americans and other minorities who dared to overcome social norms and prejudices to pursue their passion and pave the way for future generations of world class dancers. The exhibit is organized by Dance Theatre of Harlem, California African American Museum, and The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, and toured by International Arts & Artists, Washington D.C., Dance Theatre of Harlem.

The colorful history and powerful social and artistic impact of the renowned ballet company and school is brought to life in the exhibition’s more than 250 objects, including costumes, historical photographs, set pieces, and documentary video excerpts from four dramatically-staged ballets that are iconic to the company: A Streetcar Named Desire, Creole Giselle, Dougla and Firebird.

Organized by Dance Theatre of Harlem, California African American Museum, and The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, and toured by International Arts & Artists, Washington D.C. For more information on the exhibit visit:

Step Afrika!
Thursday, February 16, 2017 - Saturday, February 18, 2017
8:00pm Nightly
Meany Hall, the west edge of the University of Washington campus, just minutes from the NE 45th Street exit off I-5.

The first professional company dedicated to stepping—a dance form that originated with African American sororities and fraternities—Step Afrika! makes its Seattle debut with The Migration: Reflections on Jacob Lawrence. This evening-length work integrates projections of the painter’s 60-panel masterpiece, The Migration Series, with rhythmic footsteps, body percussion and spoken word to create a multi-media performance chronicling the early 20th century exodus of African Americans from the rural south. Meany Center co-commissioned the remounting and expansion of this important work to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Lawrence’s birth. Tickets are available for purchase at:

Inspired Child Children’s Open Mic
Saturday, February 18, 2017
3pm - 4:30pm
Northwest Tap Connection, 8732 Rainier Ave S, Seattle, WA 98118

The Children’s Open Mic are dynamic events for children, families, and communities to come to together and be creative and connected.

Medicaid Transformation Demonstration Public Forum – Seattle
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
6:30pm – 8pm
NW African American Museum, Norman B. & Constance Rice Legacy Hall, 2300 S. Massachusetts Street, Seattle, WA 98144

King County Accountable Community of Health (ACH) will bring together leaders from multiple sectors with a common interest in improving health and health equity. Under the Medicaid transformation agreement, a key responsibility of the ACH will be to facilitate and coordinate projects to collaboratively address health priorities within the region. The King County Accountable Community of Health (ACH) is one of 9 ACHs in the state that will help carry out the activities of Medicaid transformation. The public forum on February 22 is intended to be an opportunity for you and members of the public to engage in meaningful dialogue on Medicaid transformation demonstration activities. Register online to RSVP.

Northwest Tap Connection’s 3rd Annual Close the Gap Dinner, Dance & Auction
Friday, March 10, 2017
6pm - 10pm
Renton Pavilion Event Center, 233 Burnett Ave. S, Renton, WA 98057

Northwest Tap Connection is a distinctive urban studio specializing in Rhythm Tap and all forms of dance located in the heart of Rainier Beach. But Northwest Tap is not just a dance studio.... this studio is about social justice and community. The studio bridges the gap for underserved youth and teaches the students about history, community, to work together, how to be leaders, and how to deal with discipline. This non-profit organization makes a real difference.

“Close the Gap” is a progressive scholarship program that supports discounted classes and enriching opportunities for youth; preparing them to be competitive in arts education and performances. I hope you will come see and hear about the amazing things this program is doing in our community.

$75 Tickets are available online at Brown Paper Tickets: Cocktail attire or black tie optional. Live band. Dance after dinner.

BlackPast Tenth Anniversary Celebration
Saturday, March 11, 2017
6pm, reception and 7pm dinner
Washington Hall, 153 14th Avenue, Seattle, WA 98122

Come dine and celebrate in support of the largest Black History web site on the internet. This event will feature Juan Huey-Ray and the Sounds of the Northwest Choir, cuisine from four African-American-owned Seattle restaurants ,Joyce Taylor from KING TV will emcee the evening, feature remarks from BlackPast founder, Dr. Quintard Taylor, include a historical reenactment by Euell A. Nielsen and you will have an opportunity to personally bring African-American history to life. For more information on this event and ticket purchase, visit

King County Takes on Racial Disproportionality in our Juvenile Justice System

In 2001, King County implemented the Juvenile Justice Operational Master Plan, or JJOMP. Its intent was to decrease the number of juveniles being detained in King County’s Youth Detention Center. While we were successful in drastically reducing the Average Daily Population (ADP) from approximately 200 in 2000, to our current ADP of approximately 60 youth, racial disproportionality increased in catastrophic ways.

For example, fifteen years ago, about 36 percent of youth in our detention facility were African American. Today, African American youth account for over 60 percent of the ADP. These numbers are beyond unacceptable, and call for a new paradigm shift in our system. As a result, in the fall of 2015 we convened the Juvenile Justice Equity Steering Committee (JJESC), a group of activists, organizers, and community members unlike any King County government has organized in the past. Many of the members of the JJESC represents our incarcerated juvenile population in terms of race, ethnicity, life experience, and cultural expertise.

While dismantling racial disparity is our top priority, it is just one part of a paradigm shift we are undertaking in our Juvenile Justice system. We need to stop criminalizing our youth, since studies show the longer and deeper a young person sinks into our system, the worse the outcome. This is not only counter to what our systems are SUPPOSED to do, it is counter to our stated principles of Equity and Social Justice. For more background information on this effort please visit:

Community input on our workgroups will be critical to our success! Please check for the time and place of the JJESC monthly meetings.

Contact Councilmember Gossett

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