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Best Starts for Kids (BSK) Aims to Provide Equal Opportunities for All Children, Youth & Families

Brother's KeeperBest Starts for Kids (BSK), a six-year levy King County voters passed on November 3, 2015, is expected to raise approximately $65 million per year, and to invest those funds in prevention and early intervention to assure opportunities for children/young adults from 0-24 years old. It will be the most comprehensive approach to early childhood development in the nation, starting with prenatal support, sustaining the gain through teenage years, and investing in healthy, safe communities that reinforce progress.

Half of the revenue raised through BSK will be directed toward children under five years of age, pregnant women, and new parents. Research indicates the earlier we invest in the lives of infants, children and their families, the better the outcomes. There will also be funds targeting programs for children and youth ages five through twenty-four. Since human brain development continues throughout this time, it is critical to implement measures around mental health and substance abuse during this span.

I want you to be engaged and be a part of the process with Best Starts. The Implementation Plan is available for your review here.  The Plan details the BSK vision Implementation drivers, fiscal management, evaluation, Youth and Family Homelessness Initiative, and next steps. I want to know your thoughts on how this process is going. The Health, Housing and Human Services Committee will review the plan and have meetings to discuss the plan in-depth.

There will also be funding for Communities of Opportunity (COO), a placed-based initiative to improve economic opportunities, safe neighborhoods, affordable housing, and healthy food, among other environmental factors. COO is a rather unique partnership between King County and The Seattle Foundation. Research indicates strongly that, yes, place matters, just as race matters in the equitable outcomes of residents.

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 98105

Community Viewing of the Documentary 13TH
Friday, December 9, 2016
6pm - 9pm
Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute
104 17th Ave S., Seattle, WA 98144

The title of Ava DuVernay’s extraordinary and galvanizing documentary 13TH refers to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which reads “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States.” The progression from that second qualifying clause to the horrors of mass criminalization and the sprawling American . Following the viewing Seattle High School BSU's will facilitate a Q&A. This is a film and discussion you don’t want to miss! Light refreshments provided

Rainier Beach Arts and Craft Market
Saturday, December 10, 2016
10am - 2pm
Rainier Beach Community Club
6038 S. Pilgrim St., Seattle 

Come to shop for uniquely handcrafted artisan gifts. The artists will be on site and we promise a rich and rare variety of offerings: Woodworking, jewelry, sculptors, art in all medias, natural products, culinary, quilts, glass, etc. An event not to be missed – treat yourself to the extraordinary and get to know the amazingly talented artists who live and work in Rainier Beach. For more information:

Kinship Caregivers Support Group
Tuesday, December 13, 2016 
12:30pm - 2:30pm
Renton Area Youth Services (RAYS) Cynthia Green Family Center
12704 76th Avenue S., Seattle, WA 98178

Kinship care is a family in which a relative—most commonly a grandmother—is the primary caregiver of another relative’s children. The Kinship Group meets 2 times per month. Join the group at Renton Area Youth & Family Services/ Cynthia Green Family Center on the 2nd Tuesday and 4th Thursday 12:30 - 2:30pm. This group will talk about health and nutrition, general wellness and of course what it’s like to be the primary source of care for a relative’s children. A light meal is included. More information: or contact 206-772-2050 or email Helen Sawyer at

Urban Holiday Stop & Shop
Wednesday, December 21, 2016 - Friday, December 23, 2016
6pm - 9pm, daily
2100 Building
2100 24th Ave S., Seattle, WA 98144

Urban 411 Entertainment & Blue J Consulting Firm Presents: Urban Holiday Stop & Shop for that last minute holiday shopping!! Wednesday-Friday from 6pm - 9pm. A variety of vendors will showcase their items from clothing, oils, scarves, books, jewelry and so much more.

Food, prize give a ways and lots of opportunities to get great gifts for your family and friends. SHOP SMALL, support our local businesses!! For more information visit or email Erinn at or call 323-310-7118. *Donate an unwrapped toy and be automatically be entered into a drawing for some cool prizes!!

Martin Luther King Jr. Youth March
Saturday, January 14, 2017
11am - 4pm
Martin Luther King Jr. Park
8815 Seward Park Ave. S., Seattle, WA 98118

You are cordially invited to join us for our youth led family event and Annual Martin Luther King Jr. March. March from Martin Luther King Jr. Park to the Rainier Community Center. There will be activities at the community center and dinner will be served. This year’s theme is, Honor the Cause: "First Class Citizenship for all Mankind." Free and open to all. More information:

35th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Committee March & Rally
Monday, January 16, 2017
9am - 3pm
Garfield High School, 400 23rd Avenue, Seattle, WA 98122

The Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Committee presents its 35 annual tribute to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Workshops will begin at 9:30 - 10:50am classrooms at Garfield High School; Rally at 11am in Gymnasium; March at 12:30pm This year celebration will feature the Second Annual MLK Day Opportunity Fair! Information and opportunities to learn about education, job training, & jobs! Over 50 exhibitors will include government agencies, nonprofit organizations, universities and job training programs, and private employers following the march at 1:30pm – 4pm at Garfield High School Seattle. For more information

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.

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