In 2020, Executive Constantine and Public Health -- Seattle and King County declared racism as a public health crisis.
On Thursday, King County Executive Dow Constantine announced $25 million in grants awarded to 123 nonprofits, community organizations, and small businesses.
King County Executive Dow Constantine said that the county “…is honored to partner with organizations and businesses that are and have been developing solutions to repair the harms of racism, bringing healing and well-being to Black and Indigenous communities.”
Constantine, who is also co-chair of the Racism is a Public Health Crisis effort, added, “King County is actively confronting the reality of racism and acknowledging its historic and present-day impacts on marginalized communities. This $25 million investment will help to combat the public health crisis that racism truly presents in our communities while forging a path toward a more equitable and just future for all people."
According to a press release, since March 2022, “King County and the co-chairs have met weekly with the Gathering Collaborative, a group of diverse and trusted community members, to co-create the grant program. The Collaborative is the result of reimagining a different grants process in partnership with Black and Indigenous communities, and to equitably distribute grant funding to advance economic and racial justice in communities.”
Nearly 800 applications requesting over $230 million. 123 organizations were funded including those “…working to address food access, economic justice and resiliency, youth mentoring and support, housing, peer support networks, art, creating healthy and safe spaces in nature.”
Dr. Ben Danielson, co-chair of the Racism is a Public Health Crisis effort said, "I’m deeply inspired by the brilliant folks I’ve watched drive this effort and I celebrate the continued possibilities for transforming the ways governments function. All thanks to the clarion voices of communities and the undampened torchlight of anti-racism.”
The Gathering Collaborative has announced that it will “…continue its work in creating a long-term vision to support the county to advance its anti-racism and pro-equity values.”
The awards were granted even as King County is facing a $50 million budget gap and King County Public Health is bracing in anticipation of having the largest reduction among county departments in response.
The King County Council also announced on Thursday a plan to grant $1 million to help re-open the Cinerama movie theater which has been closed for the last three years.
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