KING COUNTY EQUITY NOW:

Addressing BLMSKC


We want to acknowledge the serious accusation that Black Lives Matter Seattle King County (BLMSKC) made of the King County Equity Now Coalition (“KCEN”). The allegations are false. We invite readers to watch the video that BLMSKC references. It shows plainly no transphobic or homophobic statements were made.[1] In fact, our coalition includes and stands in strong solidarity with Black Trans and LGBTQ+ folx, whose unique experiences drive KCEN’s analysis and advocacy.

More, the nature of the allegations are reckless and harmful. Using a false accusation to publicly denounce our entire collective to a mostly white audience is anti-Black. It weaponizes and promotes the erasure of the Black queer, trans, LGBTQ+ community members within KCEN, and harms the fight towards equity.

KCEN’s efforts are grounded in a love for Black peoples, and include: reintegrating folx preyed on by the carceral criminal punishment system, caring for and nurturing at-risk youth, developing affordable housing, driving City-wide anti-gentrification efforts, cultivating artistic expression and providing resources for creative development, or simply finding time and space for the Black community to fellowship, heal and thriveto name a few. The organizations standing behind KCEN know each other well, through a myriad of community relationships and shared history of service and accountability to local Black communities.

KCEN was created to empower dozens of local, long-standing, Black-led and Black-focused community organizations doing frontline work. With deep roots and relationships to the communities we serve, we[2] reflect thousands of Black folx—including many prominent queer and trans activists. To name a few member organizations, KCEN includes Creative Justice, WA-BLOC, Village of Hope, Wa Na Wari, Community Passageways, the entire Africatown suite, Rainier Beach Action Coalition, Multicultural Community Coalition, Black and Tan Hall, Federal Way Youth Action Team, Flourish Financial, Nurturing Roots, Black Power EPICenter, Blaq Elephant Party, and many, many more.

When BLMSKC[3] recklessly and irresponsibly brandished all of KCEN, it miscast an entire Black ecosystem of activists, organizers, elders, healers, families, and educators. What’s more, BLMSKC’s allegation came conspicuously at a time when KCEN is actively and aggressively challenging establishment political institutions and non-profits in our region that have failed to effectively serve and care for the Black communities of Seattle-King County.[4]

KCEN believes deeply in restorative and transformative justice. We organize intentionally towards a future grounded in mutual aid, relational transparency, and accountability. We will approach BLMSKC directly to engage in restorative dialogue to address the harm that these false allegations caused within the community.

Until then, we do not wish to accept any funds from BLMSKC. Using a false accusation to publicly denounce our collective to a mostly white audience is anti-Black. And the nature of the allegations weaponize and promote the erasure of the Black queer and trans community members within KCEN.

 

Signed,

King County Equity Now


[1] We are first and foremost accountable to our community. Before writing this response, several of our Black LGBTQ+ members and supporters reviewed the conversation and reflected on what they saw. All of them determined that no homophobic or transphobic language was used.

[2] For clarity, KCEN is a coalition. We do not have a singular leader. We organize together, intentionally, to underscore the depth and strength of our collective work. In its allegation, BLMSKC conflates KCEN with Africatown Community Land Trust (ACLT). ACLT is one of KCEN’s more public-facing member organizations. 

[3] In contrast, BLMSKC was formed in 2017 with little-to-no connection to Seattle’s larger Black organizing efforts or community. And though very similar in name and branding, BLMSKC is not an official chapter of the national and well-respected Black Lives Matter global organization. In fact, BLMSKC’s recent, rapid rise in visibility and platform is tied closely to its name association. See here for helpful context from BLM founder Patrice Cullors on the misuse of “BLM” name at local levels.

[4] Notably, BLMSKC is in close relationship to the Urban Metropolitan Leaguelong-established corporate interest gate-keepers.