Tag: #boycottindiana

Black Brilliance Project Outlines Ambitious Public Safety Agenda That Includes $1 Billion Land Acquisition Fund

By Paul Kiefer

As the Seattle City Council wrapped up their 2021 budget deliberations, representatives from King County Equity Now’s (KCEN) Black Brilliance research Project held a press conference on Monday afternoon to announce an ambitious slate of potential city investments and social programming aimed at replacing police and improving community safety in Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities.

The Black Brilliance Project, which KCEN announced in September, encompasses the preliminary research for next year’s proposed public safety-oriented participatory budgeting process. The project will be funded through a $3 million grant to the Freedom Project, which will subcontract with KCEN; the city has not yet finalized and published the contract.

The council is poised to adopt a 2021 city budget that allocates $30 million to participatory budgeting, and programs identified through that process, next year, including $18 million reallocated from Mayor Jenny Durkan’s proposed $100 million Equitable Communities Initiative.

Despite the lack of a finalized contract, KCEN research director Shaun Glaze said the organization has already fielded nine research teams to conduct interviews, surveys and community meetings to assemble a list of priorities for public safety spending. Based on the presentations on Monday, the research teams are using a broad definition of public safety—one that encompasses secure housing and land ownership, physical and psychiatric health care, and employment, in addition to emergency response services and crisis management.

Some of the concepts announced Monday include a proposal $2 million in “paid employment and mentorship opportunities” for Black youth, which could include positions for youth on advisory committees for city departments; a “Seattle Equitable Internet Initiative” to provide internet service to underserved communities across the county in partnership with the the Detroit Community Technology Project (DCTP) and Allied Media, the creators of the Detroit Equitable Internet Initiative; and a $1 billion “anti-gentrification land acquisition fund to support the redevelopment of a Black cultural core in the Central District, including both housing and social services.

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Glaze said KCEN hasn’t identified a specific revenue stream for the $1 billion—an amount equivalent to two-thirds of the city’s general fund budget, and nearly one-third larger than the city’s budget for public safety.

The members of the Black Brilliance Project team also presented several more immediate public safety-related proposals, largely centered on emergency response teams and neighborhood-based community safety “hubs” in places like South Seattle and Aurora Avenue North. These hubs, Glaze explained, would require the cooperation of volunteers and nonprofits to provide food, COVID-19 testing, internet access and other essential services on a neighborhood scale. “While this doesn’t mean that every neighborhood would get its own hub,” they said, “it does mean that we are looking to build and fortify existing support networks.”

Continue reading “Black Brilliance Project Outlines Ambitious Public Safety Agenda That Includes $1 Billion Land Acquisition Fund”

Hey, Mayor Murray: There Are Progressives in Indiana, Too



This morning, Mayor Ed Murray announcd an executive order barring city employees from traveling to Indiana on city business or with city funds.

Murray said the travel ban would ensure that “none of our taxpayer dollars [will] go toward supporting this discriminatory law.”

In the same breath, he said that by participating in #boycattindiana, the city was showing its solidarity with progressive Hoosiers as they “continue [their] efforts to end discrimination and protect civil rights for everyone.”

Murray is also directing city staff to make sure the city doesn’t have any contracts with companies based in Indiana.

This sort of thing, more than lofty declarations like the council’s resolution last week to oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership, makes my blood curdle. It’s one thing to say that Indiana’s anti-LGBT law (which explicitly allows businesses to discriminate against gays, lesbians, and transgender people); it’s quite another to say entire cities should “boycott Indiana” by withholding their business from Indiana companies—companies that, incidentally, employ gay, lesbian and transgender individuals.

What the “boycott Indiana” movement is really arguing for is action that would do the most harm to the people with the least, including struggling LGBT-owned businesses. It’s stereotyping an entire state (a phenomenon with which I, as a Mississippi and Texas native, am all too familiar) as a bunch of illiterate corn-pone bigots. Yet there are plenty of progressives in Indiana, and plenty of people fighting against discrimination and the very law Murray and others claim to be standing up against by opposing investment in their state.

As my pal Melissa McEwan noted pungently at Shakesville:

And if you understand that this “religious freedom” bill was a reactionary act by people who were angry that the federal government did something they didn’t like (force them to legalize same-sex marriage), then you should understand that a reactionary act by people angry at our state government because they did something you didn’t like (codify bigotry) is just part of the same damn problem.

It’s not thoughtful and it’s not compassionate and it’s not helpful.

And let’s be honest here: It isn’t like the vast majority of people who are cheering “Boycott Indiana!” had any plans to visit Indiana and spend money in this state, anyway. It’s just a slogan to shout at a state they perceive to be full of fat, poor, lazy, conservative, straight, cis, white people.

Which underlines what’s really the worst thing about this idea: It’s reflective of a vicious stereotype that disappears the existence of the very people for whom the sloganeers purport to care.

Melissa’s Twitter feed is blowing up now over the #boycottindiana meme right now, and I strongly suggest you check out her perspective and positive suggestions for what progressives can actually do to help LGBT people and their allies in Indiana.
Hint: It isn’t withdrawing money from their already crippled economy. Mayor Murray would do more for LGBT people in Indiana by donating money to progressive groups in the state than he is by supporting a misguided boycott that will only hurt the state’s most vulnerable citizens.