King County Councilmember Larry Gossett
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: https://www.aclu-wa.org/news/termination-program-dreamers-act-cruelty.
Council Approves a Flat Fare for Metro Riders
The King County Council unanimously approved steps simplifying Metro Transit's complex fare structure to a flat $2.75 adult fare. The new fare plan eliminates a payment system that fluctuated between time and distance and could cost an adult rider between the ages 19-64 anywhere from $2.50 to $3.25 a ride. The new fare eliminates the Peak and Zone Fares for Single Adult Rate and does not affect the roughly 1 in 3 Metro riders who pay ORCA Lift—Metro’s low income fare program— or youth, senior, and disabled fares. The new fare structure will go into effect in July of 2018.
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
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
Click here for information on the 10 year anniversary of the county logo
What’s Happening in District 2
Winter is here and the new year is fast approaching. 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
Free Bilingual Legal Clinics
Wednesday, January 10, 2018
6pm - 8pm
El Centro de la Raza, 2524 16th Avenue S. Seattle, WA 98144
On the second Wednesday of every month from January to November, El Centro de la Raza will host a free bilingual legal clinics with volunteer attorneys from the Law Office of Schroeter Goldmark & Bender and the Latina/o Bar Association of Washington. Sign up for consultations is on a first-come, first-served basis and will open at 4 PM. Read more here in English or here in Spanish. A few upcoming dates are February, 14 and March 14, 2018.
Martin Luther King Celebration Committee 36th Annual MLK Day Celebration
Monday, January 15, 2018
8:30 - 11:30am - Opportunity fair in the Commons
9:30 - 10:50am Workshops in classrooms
11am - Rally in Gymnasium
Garfield High School, 403 Jefferson Ave, Seattle, WA 98122
This year marks the 36th year the Martin Luther King Seattle Celebration Committee will host a full day of activities to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This year’s theme is “Take a Knee for Justice!” The Committee has organized activities for the entire family. Featured speakers include: Nikkita Oliver, Gerald Hankerson, and Nikki Etienne. All are welcome and all events are FREE. The march will leave Garfield at 12:30pm. Following the march & rally there will be a free meal at Garfield High School, Commons. Click here:http://www.mlkseattle.org/ for more details.
Everyday Black Opening Reception
Saturday, January 13, 2018
7pm - 9pm
Northwest African American Museum, 2300 Massachusetts St., Seattle, WA 98144
Come celebrate the opening of the new exhibit, Everyday Black, Saturday with a night of great music, open dialogue, and free tasty food and drink! Everyday Black from local photographers Jessica Rycheal and Zorn B. Taylor showcases the work of two artists as they explore the intersections and identities that are held within blackness. Free and open to the public. MORE INFO: http://bit.ly/2ARxJah
Montlake Community Club Board Meeting
Tuesday, January 9, 2018
7pm - 8:30pm
Boyer Children's Clinic, 1850 Boyer Ave E, Seattle, WA 98112
Board meetings are held the 2nd Tuesday of the month – 7 p.m. September – May. All residents, property owners and business operators, 18 years of age or older, with street addresses in the Montlake neighborhood are members of the Montlake Community Club.
Northwest Tap Connection’s 4th Annual Close the Gap Dinner & Auction
Saturday, March 3, 2018
6pm - 9:30pm
Renton Pavilion Event Center, 233 Burnett Ave. S, Renton, WA 988057
Join Northwest Tap Connection for their 4th annual dinner and auction to close the gap Northwest Tap Connection is a race and social justice oriented dance studio located in the Rainier Beach neighborhood. The mission of Northwest Tap Connection is to train, inspire, and nurture young dancers towards artistic excellence, and to train the whole dancer. Your support of this event is your opportunity to play an integral role in changing the lives of young people for a better future. Please help us provide this priceless opportunity of dance to the youth in our community. Tickets are available: https://closethegapnwtapc.brownpapertickets.com/
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.