Pro-Black Stance on Participatory Budgeting
KCEN is a Black community-led organization dedicated to building collective Black power and equity (ownership) for Black communities across all measurable metrics—wealth, land and home ownership, education rates, birth rates, healthcare, organizational control, etc.
We were birthed from a strong, locally-rooted Black ecosystem of family, cousins, friends, church-goers, educators, activists, organizers, and siblings who’ve worked alongside each other towards Black liberation for decades, some for generations. Our core ethos and strategic understanding centers Black peoples and Black communities and support pro-Black policies that advance self-determination and agency.
Participatory Budgeting efforts (PB) in Seattle thus far have not reflected our initial understanding and have been anti-Black. We advocated (vigorously) for funds divested from the police budget to go directly to Black communities—not watered-down and reduced broadly to investment in "BIPOC" communities.
More, it is fundamentally anti-Black for the entire population of an overwhelmingly white, non-Black city—with abysmal wealth, education & homeownership gaps; roots in white supremacy and deep history of white and non-Black folks historically and presently profiting-off of Black plight and Black death at the hands of police—to all vote to help determine how Black people and Black communities can spend their investments.
To truly honor the deep history of Black advocacy, thought-leaders, and longstanding Black community relationships that were (highly) leveraged to make this process a possibility, much less a reality: rooted, accountable Black community leaders and activists must be at the forefront.
Based on a misalignment of values and strategic analysis, we do not accept PB efforts in its current form. The current process is still being shaped and with much room for improvement, KCEN will continue our work in community to ensure that our and many others’ significant efforts in advocating and manifesting this project, and importantly, the views of the thousands of Black community members that supported the PB process through our platform, are appropriately honored. Read our full statement here.