Eastside Race and Leadership Coalition Volunteer Alice Fong leads the discussion group on the rise of hate crimes on the Eastside and what people can do about them. Evan Pappas/Staff Photo

Eastside Race and Leadership Coalition Volunteer Alice Fong leads the discussion group on the rise of hate crimes on the Eastside and what people can do about them. Evan Pappas/Staff Photo

Eastside Race and Equity Summit returns for second annual event

More than 100 people gathered on March 29 for the second annual Race and Equity Summit.

More than 100 people from around the Eastside gathered at the Bellevue Presbyterian Church on March 29 for the second annual Race and Equity Summit.

Hosted by the Eastside Race and Leadership Coalition (ERLC), the summit brought together individuals doing equity work in King County to discuss advocacy around race, equality and representation in leadership.

Ken Wong, volunteer member of the ERLC, said the 2018 event was organized to make connections and workshop actions people can take to further goals of equity in representation and in social interaction. This year, he said, the goal was to start conversations about developing actions to begin making changes in the community. To that end, two keynote speakers were invited to the event and several smaller workshops were held all day to facilitate group conversations between attendance.

“We knew the Eastside has unique issues, and so we wanted to make sure it was Eastside-centric,” Wong said. “A lot of the folks here live in and work in our community.”

Burien Mayor Jimmy Matta gave the first keynote presentation, telling his life story in regards to racial and economic discrimination. Matta walked through his experience growing up as the son of immigrants as well as his path to the city council and the office of the mayor.

A second keynote speech was given by Kalika Curry, community impact manager for Eastside Pathways, about how her experiences have given her the tools needed to build community and relationships.

After sharing stories of her childhood and some of the things she experienced as a biracial person who is half black and half white, Curry noted that she is trusting the community to value her three children as she values them.

“I’m trusting you all with my kids,” she told the audience.

In addition to the speakers, several smaller group sessions were held all day on a variety of topics including what people can do about the rise of hate crimes in local communities, how to support leaders of color and advance representation, how the white community can work as allies to minority groups, and what people can do to support and empower youth of color.

“Bringing all of our participants together to have that discussion to share what they are doing, the challenges they have and even some plans for what their next steps are,” Wong said.

In the session on hate crimes, conversation revolved around intervening with people before harmful or violent action occurs. People in the group acknowledged that many people don’t hear about or are otherwise protected from some of these behaviors due to their socio-economic status, so education throughout a community is an important action. They also considered the influences on a person that can make them so radical to take action against their neighbors.

During the afternoon sessions, a common thread throughout was the question of where white people fit into the conversation.

“Am I really wanted in that space?” one man asked.

There were also discussions on how people of color navigate the workplace as well as other spaces that have historically discriminated against them, such as the health care system and owning property.

More information on the Eastside Race and Leadership Coalition can be found at www.eastsiderlc.org.

Burien Mayor Jimmy Matta gives a keynote speech about his experience with racial and economic discrimination. Evan Pappas/Staff Photo

Burien Mayor Jimmy Matta gives a keynote speech about his experience with racial and economic discrimination. Evan Pappas/Staff Photo

More in News

Gov. Jay Inslee speaks to protesting nurses on April 24 at the State Capitol Building in Olympia. Inslee indicated he would sign the bill for meal and rest breaks into law if it passes both chambers. Photo by Emma Epperly, WNPA Olympia News Bureau
Lawmakers approve ‘nursing bill’ for mandatory meal and rest breaks

Nurses show up in Olympia to support bill, protest Sen. Walsh’s remarks.

Scott Barden stands next to the pit that will house the newest, and possibly final, section of the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill near Maple Valley. The pit is 120 feet deep, and around another 180 feet will be built on top of it over the next decade. Aaron Kunkler/staff photo
King County’s landfill is going to get bigger

A ninth cell will be built, extending its life by another decade.

An aircraft is pictured at King County International Airport, also known as Boeing Field. Photo courtesy of kingcounty.gov
King County wants to end deportation flights for ICE

Legal challenge expected from federal government.

Bellevue resident assaulted by multiple suspects in Crossroads area

Too early to say if violence was gang related, police say.

April 2019 special election preliminary results

LWSD levy passing; Fall City fire merger and hospital bond coming up short.

Men’s shelter construction leads to search for secondary location in Bellevue

Congregations for the Homeless is looking for a shelter location during the summer months.

Filing week for 2019 elections starts May 13

Registration to run for office begins next month.

Most Read