SEATTLE, March 10, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Five Commissions from the Offices of the City of Seattle partnered to have a free community event at Seattle’s City Hall to host a Black History Month for “Beloved Community,” and to assist in raising awareness for the launch of the Participatory Budgeting Project. The event was sponsored by PB, in partnership with Black Brilliance Research Project.
The launch of the Historic Participatory Budgeting Project in Seattle is an unprecedented community-led process that allows the Community to be in control of $27 million dollars of the City’s budget in five key areas that the Community established through the Black Brilliance Research Projects Report.
This event also served as the official launch of a new Black-led participatory budgeting process designed by more than 100 local Black community members who gathered in 2020 as a result of the uprising in defense of Black lives. Attendees young and old participated in a station showcasing a mock participatory budgeting cycle to celebrate the launch of Black-led participatory budgeting in Seattle.
The event attracted a diverse crowd of community members, who were able to participate in a variety of activities throughout the day. The mock participatory budgeting station allowed attendees to simulate the experience of participating in a participatory budgeting process, which was of great interest to many who were not previously familiar with the concept. The official process actively seeks people to fill open paid and volunteer roles, so the event doubled as an outreach to fill those positions.
The festivities included a riveting opening which included Land and Labor acknowledgments to the Indigenous and African American People, followed by 23-year-old Jayza Duhon singing the Black National Anthem.
Seattle Women’s Commissioner Co-Chair Tana Yasu took the stage next, remarking “How unfortunate it is this song is still as relevant today as it was over 40 years ago,” then invited LGBTQ Co-Chair Andrew Ashiofu to read the Proclamation of Black History Month. This proclamation was drafted by the Human Services Department in partnership with Mayor Harrell’s office and the Mayor’s Council on African American Elders.
The 5 Commissions welcomed the Community into City Hall to view a screening of “Since I’ve Been Down,” an award-winning documentary film produced and directed by Dr. Gilda Shepard, shining light on the horrid effects of the “War on Drugs.” A panel discussion with the producer/director, members of BPC, and Emija Smith followed the film and provided a thought-provoking discussion for attendees.
Attendees were able to sample a variety of dishes provided by well-known Black Owned restaurants such as Lil Reds Jamaican, Def Chef Kitchen, and Catfish Corner. The event also included free child care, a photo booth, games, and activities for all ages. DJ Zach Zeta Tucker was on the 1’s&2’s keeping spirits high with music in the main atrium of City Hall, while panel discussions were carried out in the Bertha Knight Conference Room.
“We were thrilled to see such a great turnout for the Black History Month community event showcasing our community, our resilience, and our hopes for our futures. We’re also thrilled to use it as a way to kick off Black-led participatory budgeting because everyone in the Seattle area can be part of investing $27M to create vibrant futures for our communities, ” said Fundisha Tibebe of the Participatory Budgeting Project.
“It’s Black History Month. We’re creating Black resilience and Black futures,” said Tana Yasu, Seattle Women’s Commission Co-Chair. “We hope that attendees were able to learn something new, make connections with their community, and have a fun and engaging experience.”
For more information about the event and to view photos, please visit https://SOCRCommissionsBHMEvent.eventbrite.com.
If you would like to get involved with the Participatory Budgeting Project visit https://linktr.ee/pbseattle for information on opportunities.
SOURCE Black Brilliance Research