Eastside Race & Leadership Coalition kicks off a multi-city project engaging residents to counter an environment of escalating racial hostility.
Redmond Mayor John Marchione will participate in a public event organized by the Eastside Race and Leadership Coalition on Wednesday February 3rd. The event will invite members of the public to publicly declare their personal action steps toward creating a community where all are welcomed by rejecting racism and bigotry in all of its forms.
In recognition of this community effort, in conjunction with Black History Month, the Redmond City Hall will host an art exhibition created by the Eastside Race and Leadership coalition titled, Rejecting the Rags of Racism and Living into the Riches of Diversity. The title acknowledges a specific incident of racism that occurred at a local thrift store in Redmond last month while countering by amplifying the community’s overwhelmingly positive response. The exhibition invites community members to join and enlarge the community’s rejection of racism by writing specific personal action steps on a piece of colored fabric and physically connecting their commitment to others on an archway display. The archway, as a recognized symbol of peace in the Pacific Northwest, invites all to pass through from one state of being to another.
At the launch, the mayor, city councilmembers and other community dignitaries will publicly declare their written commitments prior to adding them to the display. Other community members are invited to review the commitments and add their own at the public event and throughout the week before the display moves to the Bellevue City Hall and other Eastside cities throughout Black History Month.
“The Eastside Race & Leadership Coalition was formed to empower leaders in our community to eliminate racism and increase equity in our community,” said Mariama Suwaneh, a coalition spokesperson. “I was born and raised in Redmond and I am proud our residents are coming together to say that we won’t tolerate racism here. We hope this demonstration will help create a positive context for anyone and everyone who wants to publically denounce racism on the Eastside.”
Formed in 2014, the Eastside Race and Leadership Coalition is a community group made up of individuals with the mission of bringing together local stakeholders who are committed to the value of diversity and inclusion. The coalition’s purpose is to empower current and emerging leaders to eliminate racism and increase equity on the Eastside.
The coalition includes Jo Anderson Cavinta, Alaric Bien, Tom Brewer, Karin Duval, Alice Fong, Silvia Honores, Doug Jackson, Suzanne Kagen, Joyce Kidder-Miller, Mark Manuel, Helena Stephens, Susan Sullivan, Mariama Suwaneh, James Whitfield, Ken Wong, and several others.