Black Community Safety
Already experiencing COVID-19’s economic fallout, conditions for Seattle’s Black community are on a trajectory to worsen. Against that backdrop, KCEN and many others in the Black community mobilized to divest from policing and demanded correlating investment in pro-Black public safety solutions that work for us, for the first time in Seattle's history.
Emboldened by the overwhelming support of tens of thousands of community members, the Seattle City Council briefly upheld their decision to divest from a percentage of the Seattle Police Department (SPD)'s bloated annual budget and invest modestly in Black communities. It should not have taken such prolonged, sustained community efforts for this long over-due change but we acknlowedge the small percentage of divestment as a break from decades of votes to expand violent, anti-Black policing.
The work of reshaping this region into one that values all Black lives—and moves away from funding racist policing and towards resourcing true public safety for all—is long overdue and not for non-Black folks, unaccountable gatekeepers or non-rooted folks to dictate.
We advocated strongly for monies from the police budget to be invested directly into the Black community and are unmoved on that stance.
Defund SPD | Imagining Public Safety for the First Time
At the center of defunding, King County Equity Now’s platform focuses on community ownership of land, along with acquiring funding to address the root of inequities. At the crux of the group’s vision was a solution that community members had sought for many years without success: to defund the police and reallocate that funding to Black-led organizations.
Seattle Activists' Continued Fight for Mutual Aid, True Equity, and Defunding SPD
One-quarter of the entire 2020 Seattle city budget was allocated to the Seattle Police Department (SPD). While last summer’s protests over anti-Black police violence and calls to defund the police resulted in an 18% decrease in the 2021 SPD budget, $364 million was still allocated to SPD. This is an affront to community-led organizations like King County Equity Now (KCEN) and so many others who have been providing much-needed community support and succeeding in creating real public safety.
Veto-Proof Majority of Seattle City Council Pledges Support for #DefundSPD Effort
#DefundSPD is rooted in the principle that dealing with making our communities safer includes addressing the violence in our community as a cultural and public safety issue. Taxpayers should get a better return on their investments. Citizens should demand more effective solutions and better outcomes for the dollars invested. Police don’t stop crime. They respond to crime.