A typical day

(Photo by: Chardonnay Beaver – Crosscut)

There was a day I had that at the end of it I said to myself, that was a great day and if I could write an article about it I would. You see, I have the privilege of representing the Rainier Beach neighborhood at tables that residents otherwise would not be able to attend. It is something I take very seriously and if you are present when I’m doing it you would agree. 

To get into it, I started out at 9:00am attending an RBAC workgroup called the  Mod Squad  This is the name the staff assigned to the team overseeing the tenant improvements of the  RBAC Growth Center  (RBGC). The RBGC is turning out to be a $1.3M(+/-) tenant improvement project of a 2 story commercial building across the street (west) from the Rainier Beach Light Rail station. The first floor will consist of a food hub, supported by dry and cold storage spaces and demonstration kitchen. The second floor will have a sound studio, two meeting spaces (one dedicated to hold restorative justice circles), shower and a staff office area. Very proud of the fact this team has 6 YATTA’s as members, who are getting exposure about how community development works.

Right after this I attended a Research Workgroup meeting of the  Rainier Beach a Beautiful Safe Place for Youth (RBABSPY). This is the community safety action team for the Rainier Beach neighborhood and has been responsible, in part, for a 30% reduction in incidents that contribute to youth crime since 2015. We are transitioning from George Mason University to Seattle University being our evaluation partner and the Research Workgroup was looking at the scope of work. 

After a 30 minute break I met with the RBAC grant coordinator, a recent graduate of Morehouse College, to look at a financial ratios tracking document he created to measure RBAC’s financial performance against national not for profit organization averages. I wish I could show it to you, maybe next time. 

I had to end this meeting early in order to jump into a meeting with Public Health Seattle King County to discuss funding and programming intended to address gun violence in Southeast Seattle. 

This meeting was followed by a Full Team Meeting of the Black Home Initiative, an effort THAT WILL create 1500 new Black homeowners by 2027. This work is utilizing an “impact network” organizing model to get this work done. 

I rushed out of that meeting to get to a Black Community Building Collective meeting that consisted of Black Executive Directors hosted by the United Way of King County. We meet to discuss and ensure Black-led non-profit organizational sustainability. That’s a cherished meeting, because I get to sit with brilliant, committed and kind Black organizational leaders who are heaven bent on providing the best service possible to their communities. 

The day ended with me receiving an orientation for a panel I was going to sit on the next day organized by Leadership Tomorrow. It was titled Community Leadership Panel in Strengthening Neighborhoods and 

Communities. We would explore challenges and opportunities community leaders face for their 2023 cohort. I was particularly excited about this because my intent was to get advice on how to engage the property owners in the vicinity of the Rainier Beach Light Rail station, who are letting the buildings they own sit vacant, essentially causing blight at a location that should be a hub for economic development and vibrancy. I got some good ideas and will introduce them to the Rainier Beach Economic Development Roundtable. 

My day came full circle as I started out in the morning working on an RBAC property development activity at the RB Light Rail Station and ended it by talking about how to hold current property owners accountable. 

From property development to community safety research to organizational financial modeling to gun violence prevention to Black Homeownership creation to Black-led organizational sustainability to engaging regional leaders around strengthening neighborhoods and communities. That’s a lot huh? While it’s just the tip of the iceberg I am honored and consider it a privilege to have had such a day. And you know what? You should join me! Send your request to info@rbactioncoalition.org. See you in the neighborhood!