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Dreamers Legislation Passes Unanimously

This week, the King County Council passed legislation calling on Congress to swiftly and comprehensively protect the legal status of thousands of Dreamers. The motion, passed 9-0, also directs King County’s federal government relations team to prioritize efforts in Congress to continue DACA protections. It also requests this team commence efforts to build a broad coalition of county officials nationwide. This heartless action from the White House punishes people who were raised, educated and contribute everyday to the only home they know--the United States. Congress must act to protect DREAMERS! A copy of the legislation is now being shared with Washington’s congressional delegation. For more information on the termination of the Dreamers Program and various resources, visit:

Metro Proposes a Flat Fare

For several months Metro has explored options to simplify Metro’s adult fare structure and make it more consistent with other agencies. They’ve engaged the public with online surveys and through direct outreach to people unlikely to participate in online surveys. A strong majority expressed a preference for a $2.75 flat fare, with no zone or peak surcharges. No changes are being considered for youth, senior, disabled, ORCA LIFT, or Access fares at this time. The fare legislation will be heard soon in the Transportation, Economy and Environment Committee. You can find details on the fare legislation Ordinance 2017-0350 at: If you would like to provide input, please email me at

Melba Ayco Recognized for Bringing "Rhythm to the Region"
Longtime director of Northwest Tap Connection receives MLK Medal of Distinguished Service

Over the last two decades, Melba Ayco has been bringing rhythm and wisdom to young people throughout South Seattle. Ayco’s devotion to all forms of dance was recognized today by Metropolitan King County Councilmember Larry Gossett when he presented “Ms. Melba” with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Medal of Distinguished Service.

“For over three decades, Ms. Melba has been a servant of the people,” said Gossett. “She has used her talents and love of children to give them access to the arts, thus, continuing to build Dr. King's ‘beloved community’ in this region.”


Ayco has worked for the Seattle Police Department for over three decades, but her passion is dance. Since the 1990’s—first as the Program Director and Artistic Director at TTapp Central, and now as the Founder and Artistic Director of Northwest Tap Connection—Ayco’s mission has been to provide a space of support and respect for artists of color to create artistic works “relevant to our past, present and future.” 

Race and Social Justice is the foundation of Northwest Tap Connection. Its mission is inclusive of providing quality dance and job opportunities to under-served communities, but also to raise a generation of socially conscious artist that product work that foster change. The studio has been committed to the support of Artists of Color through employment, use of their music through tribute shows and the history of their contributions to the Art World.

For thousands of students—from kids just out of diapers who are part of the fabled “10 o’clock” class, to young people who have performed on Broadway—Ayco has been there as teacher, mentor and friend. 

Ms. Ayco has choreographed for Seattle Theatre Group, the Northwest Folk-life Festival, Chicago Human Rhythm Project, Seattle Children Museum, and MoPop (Experience Music Project). Her community service has been recognized by the City of Seattle, as a recipient of the 2009 Mayor’s Art Award for outstanding leadership, and by Africatown, which recognized her as a Community Builder earlier this year. 

Ayco is one of nine citizens living across King County whose contributions to their community echo the incredible selfless leadership of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The MLK Medal of Distinguished Service recognizes those who have gone above and beyond in their efforts to make a difference in communities across King County. 

Communities of Opportunity 

Brother's Keeper

Community of Opportunity (COO) started as an innovative partnership in 2014 between King County and the 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 the 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.




Councilmember Gossett featured on Prosecutor's Partners

Celebrating Asian Pacific Islander Heritage 

The Martin Luther King, Jr. County Council declared May 2017 as Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month in King County and encourages all residents to join in this celebration and participate in the many festivities planned to recognize Asian Pacific American heritage. The month of May was chosen as Asian Pacific Heritage Month to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the US on May 7, 1843 and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869, as the majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants. 

Click here to read the King County Council's proclamation of the month of May as Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month in King County.


Celebrating Black History Month: King County's Logo

MLK logo 225pxClick here for information on the 10 year anniversary of the county logo


What’s Happening in District 2

It’s almost fall and that means the leaves will be falling and 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

Seattle Black Panther Party 50th Anniversary Kickoff
Sunday, September 10, 2017
4pm – 6pm
Northwest Film Forum
1515 12th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122

Sneak preview film screening & fundraiser, featuring a discussion with former Panthers *

In April 1968, the Seattle Black Panther Party was established as the first Black Panther Party chapter outside of the State of California. In April 2018, the Seattle Chapter will hold its 50th anniversary commending the years of service to the people of Seattle and beyond. Join us for a film screening and celebration of 50 years of struggle for People’s Justice.

The event will feature discussion with former Panthers, and a sneak preview of a new documentary about the founding of the Seattle chapter of the Black Panther Party. Through the eyes of the 19 year old founder, Aaron Dixon, we witness the courage and commitment of the young men and women who rose up in rebellion, risking their lives in the name of freedom. The film retraces his journey to Oakland as he learns from influential activists Bobby Seale, Huey Newton, Elaine Brown and Ericka Huggins. The film traces the early forming of the party, the COINTEL PRO operation, the election of the first Black mayor of Oakland and the fall of Huey Newton, and the rise of the first female leader of the party. An unforgettable tale of triumphs, tragedies, and the enduring legacy of Black Power.

This event is part of the Seventh Art Stand, an ongoing act of cinematic solidarity against oppression. Tickets available at

James Baldwin's Blues for Mister Charlie Play
September 14-17, 2017
Franklin High School
3013 S. Mt. Baker Boulevard, Seattle, WA 98144

The play is set in a small southern town, a white shopkeeper kills a black musician. As the case heads to trial and tensions rise, a Reverend, a journalist, and the shopkeeper’s wife struggle to make sense of the truth. Written in 1964 and dedicated to the memory of Baldwin’s friend and civil rights activist Medgar Evers, Baldwin’s rarely produced masterpiece explores race and violence in the United States with honesty, music, dark humor, and compassion.

In a small southern town, a white shopkeeper kills a black musician. As the case heads to trial and tensions rise, a Reverend, a journalist, and the shopkeeper’s wife struggle to make sense of the truth. Written in 1964 and dedicated to the memory of Baldwin’s friend and civil rights activist Medgar Evers, Baldwin’s rarely produced masterpiece explores race and violence in the United States with honesty, music, dark humor, and compassion.

The Williams Project is proud to partner with Emerald City Bible Fellowship and Franklin High School to bring this American classic to Seattle. Every performance of Blues for Mister Charlie will be followed by a post-show discussion. All tickets are Pay-What-You-Can. (less). For more information:

Educator Forum on DACA
Monday, September 18, 2017
5pm - 7pm
Cleveland High School
5511 15th Ave South, Seattle, WA 98108

Educators are often the first point of contact of our youth and our families. With the school year starting, we want to make sure that all educators have accurate information, resources, and best practices to support their undocumented students and families. Join the Washington Dream Coalition, Colectiva Legal del Pueblo, and the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project to learn:

  • Updates on DACA
  • Options after DACA
  • Best practices on how to best support undocumented students and families

Free parking available. Please share with fellow educators!

Free Credit Counseling Workshop 
Tuesday, September 26, 2017 & October 24, 2017 (workshops held every 4th Tuesday of the month)
Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle
105 14th Avenue, Suite 200 Seattle, WA 98122

This is a workshop to inform and educate you on your credit report. You can receive a copy of your credit report, learn how to read your credit report, what items impact your credit score rating, how to improve your credit score and learn about the fair debt collection practice act. This workshop requires registration, call 1-800-368-1455 or call 206.461.3792 for additional information.

The Griot Party Experience 3.0
Friday, October 12, 2017
7pm - 9pm
Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute
104 17th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98144

The Griot Party Experience continues its legacy by providing you with stories that heal. The Griot Party Experience is the celebration of stories that heal. Griot is a west African word that means storyteller or poet. Oral history is a custodian of the cultural history of Black and Brown people. The Griot Party Experience encourages the participants to heal via the celebration of story telling. Your story makes you human and anyone who strives to deny you of your story is attempting to deny you of your humanity. The Griot Party Experience is a deliberate attempt to help people claim and reclaim their humanity via sharing their story. Feel. Heal. Build. Grow. Ase. Agape. Namaste. Amen. Please join us in the celebration of stories that heal. Feel. Heal. Build. Grow. Please purchase tickets via this link:

Sherman Alexie Loves: Nikki Giovanni
Friday, October 27, 2017
7:30pm - 9:30pm
Benaroya Hall \ Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall Seating
200 University St, Seattle, WA 98101

Poet, activist, and educator Nikki Giovanni has captured America’s heart with her fiery, funny, and insightful verse for over 30 years. Giovanni is the author of over 30 children’s books and poetry collections. To purchase tickets to this event to go:

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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