RBAC gets Legacy Acknowledgement added to all Priority Hire Advisory Committee Meetings
By now you know RBAC, along with many other outstanding organizations, advocated for a target local hire program in the city of Seattle way back in 2010. This advocacy resulted in a City of Seattle ordinance called Priority Hire, Now, any City of Seattle construction project must have 25% of the workforce from under invested in zip codes, this includes residents of Rainier Beach. This excellent community-led initiative has since been picked up by King County, the Port of Seattle and Seattle Public Schools. Due to the role RBAC played in getting this ordinance in place we were invited to serve on the Priority Hire Advisory Committee. We were an alternate for the first three years the ordinance was implemented and recently joined as a full team member serving as a community representative. A standard practice at the Priority Hire Advisory Committee is to read a land acknowledgement at the beginning of each meeting. The land acknowledgment has been adopted by many organizations in the Pacific Northwest acknowledging the fact that we reside on land occupied by a people who have been here for thousands of years and rightly so. As we had been talking about legacy work at RBAC we looked at the tables we sit at, in particular the PHAC, with this lens. We realized that the durability of our story, that Rainier Beach Action Coalition was ground zero of the Priority Hire movement in the Pacific Northwest region, was getting lost. I recommended that the PHAC adopt a legacy acknowledgement, so that the work done in the community that has now spread across the world would be remembered. Here is the legacy acknowledgement that is now read alongside the land acknowledgement at every Priority Hire Advisory Committee meeting.
“Legacy Acknowledgement: We uplift the original organizers and activists who initiated and led a community-driven effort leading to the establishment of Priority Hire on the City of Seattle capital projects.
During the demolition and construction of the Rainier Beach Community Center in 2010, residents and experienced construction workers from Seattle’s most racially diverse zip code 98118 uncovered the lack of contractor requirements to employ Seattle job seekers on city projects. These organizers and supporters formed a coalition of organizations, labor, and religious groups to remedy this industry-wide practice resulting in Seattle’s historic Priority Hire Ordinance designed to expand economic opportunity and employment to racially diverse and economically disadvantaged Seattle area residents.”