SDOT is dedicated to centering Black lives and fairness. All year-round we’re working to undo previous harms.
This month, Black Historical past Month, we’ll share methods wherein Seattle’s transportation has upheld racism and what we’re doing to raised serve our Black residents and guests.
Seattle has a protracted historical past of anti-Blackness, a type of racism in opposition to Black folks that strips folks of their humanity and worth.
One of the crucial blatantly racist practices that Seattle had traditionally allowed was Redlining. Immediately, the dangerous results of Redlining have created inequitable outcomes for a lot of Black Seattle residents.
Redlining was a method to hold Black and different minority teams from residing in white neighborhoods. It wasn’t until 1968 that Seattle City Council passed an ordinance to outlaw racist redlining practices to hold Black folks from proudly owning properties in Ballard, Fremont, Queen Anne, and different traditionally white neighborhoods.
Maps like this one of Seattle had been created to indicate areas that had been deemed “hazardous” or “positively declining” primarily based on the presence of Black and Brown communities residing there. Consequently, fewer and fewer white folks moved there.
Neighborhoods like Seattle’s Central District, which was a predominantly Black neighborhood, had been labelled “hazardous” because of deterioration of not solely housing, however additionally the deterioration of streets. There was lack of ample lighting at night time and plenty of different elements that might be thought of the Metropolis’s accountability to enhance.
Black, Indigenous, and Individuals of Coloration (BIPOC) communities have been perpetually underrepresented at tables of authority and all ranges of presidency.
The truth is, at SDOT, we’ve solely had two non-white administrators, Jon Okamoto and Daryl Grigsby.
With out ample illustration, BIPOC communities haven’t at all times seen transportation choices and concrete areas that mirror their wants. As an alternative, they’ve seen their communities left on the margins of funding and a spotlight.
Seattle’s historical past nonetheless impacts Black and different BIPOC communities right now.
We’re a piece in progress.
Over the previous few a long time, the Metropolis of Seattle has been actively working to undo most of the harms BIPOC communities and people face each day – and we nonetheless have a protracted method to go.
A lot of our efforts are guided by the Metropolis’s Race and Social Justice Initiative (RSJI), which was developed as a citywide effort to finish institutionalized racism and race-based disparities in Metropolis authorities.
Immediately in 2021, the present Metropolis management is without doubt one of the most numerous within the historical past of the Metropolis. Half of Metropolis management establish as a folks of colour, together with six division administrators who establish as Black.
Our vision for Seattle and our work to get there is guided by our six values: fairness, security, mobility, sustainability, livability, and excellence.
It’s with nice function and urgency that we positioned fairness as our first worth. We imagine transportation should meet the wants of all communities of all colours, incomes, talents, and ages. Our aim is to accomplice with communities to construct a racially equitable and socially simply transportation system.
After we fail to middle Black lives in our transportation mission, our efforts as an company can’t solely fall wanting correcting, but in addition threat perpetuating the deep racial inequalities stemming from how we’ve traditionally deliberate and constructed our transportation techniques and our communities.
Over the following few weeks, we’ll share ways in which SDOT is working to dismantle institutional racism.
- Cash: We’re supporting BIPOC-owned companies to develop portfolio, achieve entry to alternatives, and construct wealth utilizing the inclusive methods in SDOT’s implementation of the Metropolis’s Ladies and Minority Owned Enterprise Enterprise (WMBE) program.
- Coverage: The Racial Fairness Toolkit lays out a course of and a set of inquiries to information the event, implementation and analysis of insurance policies, initiatives, applications, and funds points to deal with the impacts on racial fairness.
- Neighborhood: Supporting true, real, and genuine group engagement with BIPOC-led communities and centering the work of the Transportation Fairness Workgroup.