[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a Letter to the Editor, written by a verified resident. It does not necessarily reflect the opinions of The B-Town Blog, nor its staff:]

Should Burien partner with neighboring cities working to further racial justice and police accountability, or with those who prefer “the good old system,” and “policing business as usual?”

Did you know that the SeaTac City Council, with some notable exceptions, is a shining example of how to work against your own richly diverse Community of Color? And shamelessly so, given that SeaTac is an overwhelmingly Majority-Minority city?

At the end of the 1st February Burien City Council meeting, the issue was raised of SeaTac City Council’s vote on January 26th to terminate their contract with the King County Sheriff’s Office, and it was suggested that Burien may want to do the same, and particularly consider “cooperating” with SeaTac.

That would in effect mean forging ties with the new police force of a city famous for resisting racial equality.

I and many others have witnessed racism in action at the SeaTac City Council, and it led a lot of people including myself to commit civil disobedience in the SeaTac City Council chambers – that’s how serious and blatant the matter was.

SeaTac had an opportunity up until 2018 to provide an opportunity for the 50+ minority-owned businesses of the SeaTac City Mall, mainly represented by East African community members as well as Latinx and Asian businesses, to flourish and further build that city’s reputation as a regional destination for international shopping and multi-cultural pride.

Instead, SeaTac fought their business community, which organized not just a local but a regional grassroots campaign for equity and ably carried it on for two years – yet SeaTac nevertheless evicted the business community there and demolished the mall – demolishing many years of effort to build prosperity, community, and the American dream for hundreds of families who were enriching south King County by virtue of their very presence in one location.

Even King County Council Members and County Executive Dow Constantine joined in the effort to keep intact this unique business community – but the SeaTac City Council was not on board with serving their Community of Color, the majority of their community.

Visions of Burien and SeaTac cooperating to hire the disgruntled police officers who quit when Seattle, and now King County, started moving toward police accountability, is a prospect which would raise a 5-alarm fire alert in the minds of many.

SeaTac has the rich opportunity to become a powerhouse of racial justice and equitable opportunities for all, once its elected representatives are truly representative of its people.

Burien is already pioneering in so many ways, building a great reputation that reflects its strong values of equity and inclusivity, precisely because we embrace our diversity, we celebrate it, and we work for it.
Let’s forge ties in Burien with neighboring cities and councils who are moving strongly into an equitable future – not clinging to a dying past of white supremacy.

– Irene Danysh

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