King County Council, District 9

Chris Franco

Question

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?

  1. How much of the Black-white wealth gap will you close while in office? 

  2. Who are you working with in the Black community to close it? 

  3. How will you support investing federal funding directly and specifically into the Black community in the next two years?

Answer

MLK County must be uncompromising in calling out anti-Black racism everywhere we see it. This includes continued efforts to suppress the accumulation of Black wealth in our communities, most recently by King County’s inequitable dispersal of PPP loans to local businesses to help mitigate the financial hardships of the COVID-19 recession. These investments hardly reached any Black businesses, businesses that have faced the lion’s share of permanent closures since the start of the pandemic. These types of disinvestments from our Black communities have to be called out and rectified. We can’t close the wealth gap by simply enacting policies in an equitable way moving forward, we need to also invest heavily and retroactively in our communities of color to begin recovering from the damage caused by generations of financial neglect and outright theft.

I don’t want to mislead or over-promise here. Closing the Black-white wealth gap is a generation-long task that will take massive financial investments and coordination between our federal, state, and local governments to reconcile centuries of exploitation and willful neglect. That said, while I don’t know how much of the Black-white wealth gap I can close while in office, I promise to fight every day to make sure that budgetary decisions made on the King County Council center those most impacted by our decisions and invest where needs are greatest. If we are to truly close the wealth gap we must institutionalize a seat at the table for our historically underserved communities to ensure the decisions we make do not perpetuate inequitable outcomes while meeting the needs of our community. That will include tackling the massive gaps in Black homeownership, funding for education, as well as access to healthcare, transit, green spaces, and jobs with living wages and benefits.

In order to do this, we must work with our state and local governments to ensure that federal loans are distributed equitably over the next two years as we build back from this pandemic. It is imperative that we as elected officials center those most impacted by our policy decisions to ensure that funding and aid are being allocated to where the needs are greatest. And right now our communities of color--and specifically our Black communities-- are in dire straights. That was true before the pandemic and it’s especially true now.

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Dow Constantine

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