Have you heard about the City Council proposal to Jump Start Seattle for a more just economy?
Here is a letter of support SSCAN and others recently sent to Seattle’s Mayor Durkan –
As community organizers and social, environmental and climate justice advocates, we urge you to sign the Jumpstart legislation.
Seattle is facing multiple, interconnected crises: a housing crisis, an economic and inequality crisis, a climate crisis, and a racial injustice crisis. The Jumpstart legislation is an important first step towards action at the scale & intersections of these crises; that’s why over 60 organizations representing labor, community and faith groups support this measure.
Acting on our housing crisis is a moral necessity. There are more than 11,000 people experiencing homelessness in Seattle, including over 5,000 who are unsheltered every night. 40% of those living without shelter are African-American. Many are children. And even before the pandemic, many were on the edge of housing instability: research from early 2020 shows that nearly 50% of Seattle renters were cost-burdened, paying ⅓ or more of their income on housing. We can only expect our housing crisis to be made worse by the current economic crisis: nearly 1 in 5 Seattle renters are expected to be unable to pay their rent in July.
Despite everyday life being radically altered by the coronavirus, the climate crisis continues to rage: 2020 is on track to become the hottest year on record. The climate crisis is a threat multiplier, with folks on the frontlines – Black, Brown, Indigenous and low-income communities – bearing the greatest burden of the crisis’ health and economic impacts. Frontline communities in Seattle have long been advocating for community-controlled solutions like affordable housing investments coupled with strong anti-displacement measures, which build more resilient communities and significantly reduce pollution. The Jumpstart legislation reflects these community priorities and Seattle’s Green New Deal commitments to eliminate our city’s climate pollution by 2030 while addressing historic injustices and creating good green jobs.
Our nation’s recent antiracist uprisings are a direct response to four hundred years of white supremacy. In this moment, that legacy of white supremacy in Seattle is painfully visible as racial bias in the Seattle Police Department. But it is also in the economic forces driving displacement that, for decades, have pushed Black and Brown communities out of our city, and why the Central District’s Black population has dropped from 73% in 1978 to 18% today. Affordable housing paired with anti-displacement strategies is a critical intervention for undoing the legacy of systemic racism and investing in communities that have been historically excluded from economic opportunity.
The Jumpstart legislation is not a panacea, but by providing an estimated $214 million every year to fund housing and housing services, the Equitable Development Initiative, and the City’s Green New Deal and Economic Revitalization programs, Jumpstart will enable us to make significant progress in responding to our multiple, interconnected crises. This is a critical opportunity to invest in Seattle communities and chart a course to a more equitable & healthy future for all.
We urge you to sign the Jumpstart legislation.
Matt Remle & Rachel Heaton, co-founders Mazaska Talks
Jess Wallach, 350 Seattle, Campaigns Co-Director
Brittney Bush Bollay, Sierra Club, Seattle Group Chair
Katie Wilson, Transit Riders Union, General Secretary
Vicky Clarke, Cascade Bicycle Club, Policy Director
Marcos Martinez, Casa Latina Executive Director
Kimaya Mahajan, Washington Youth for Climate Justice Executive Coordinator
Kate Rubin, Be:Seattle, Executive DirectorJamie Ptacek, Sunrise Movement
Doug Trumm, The Urbanist, Executive Director
Seattle 500 Women Scientists, Executive Board
Tiffani McCoy, Real Change, Lead Organizer
Beth Brunton & Anne Miller, Co-chairs, South Seattle Climate Action Network