Black wealth remains near zero due to centuries of systemic anti-Black racism and is on a trajectory to only worsen. In Seattle, white wealth is nearly 20x more than Black wealth. What specific actions will you take to close the Black-white wealth gap?
How much of the Black-white wealth gap will you close while in office?
Who are you working with in the Black community to close it?
How will you support investing federal funding directly and specifically into the Black community in the next two years?
As Mayor, I’ll take direct action to address the wealth gap and create an economic climate where every community can prosper and thrive. I have a proven history of fighting for economic fairness for Black communities – in addition to representing Black workers in class action lawsuits against unfair and discriminatory practices, as well as helping get Black small businesses off the ground – on Council, I was a lead negotiator in ensuring the $15 minimum wage, I sponsored and passed “ban the box”, and championed the Race and Social Justice Initiative.
I have a number of policies and programs I’ll drive with the purpose of addressing the wage gap. One of my top priorities is the creation of a Seattle Jobs Center. Through this program, we will use all means to help employ every possible person who seeks employment, including providing resources to re-tool and retrain job applicants seeking work. There will be a specific focus on connecting underrepresented communities with opportunities for apprenticeships, skill training, and other resources to both help them succeed and improve representation across industries.
I will also create the Seattle Empowerment and Opportunity Program – a new mentorship program that will pull mentors from all industries and fields to connect with youth in the Black community. Teachers, lawyers, doctors, artists, and the like will provide career counseling, networking, wealth building guidance, and, most importantly, proven pathways to success.
I’ll build on the work I did as an attorney supporting minority-owned small businesses. Seattle will be nationally recognized for our involved efforts to support BIPOC businesses. We will take on I-200, and offer improved methods of contracting and supplier practices that ensure these businesses can succeed. As we receive our second round of American Rescue Plan funds and other federal support, I’ll daylight funding so distribution is both clear and equitable.
We need innovative and bold ideas to close the wealth gap and support Black communities. In addition to Black community and business leaders and organizations, I would gladly work with King County Equity Now in pursuit of these efforts and others.