Message from Kathy Nyland, Director
Mayor Murray recently issued an Executive Order directing the city to approach outreach and engagement in an equitable manner. Putting an equity lens on our approaches is bold and, yes, brave. It shows a commitment to practices that address accessibility and equity.
What does this mean?
- We often hear that meetings can feel like we are “checking a box.” The Mayor’s action means we can create processes that are more relationship-based and build authentic partnerships.
- It means that we can create plans that are culturally sensitive, which includes an emphasis on translated materials.
- It means we broaden access points, identify obstacles and turn them into opportunities.
What else does this mean?
- It means we have an opportunity to recreate, re-envision and reconcile many lingering issues, including defining the difference between neighborhoods and communities, providing clarity about roles, and creating a system of engagement that builds partnerships with, and between, communities throughout the city of Seattle.
- It means that we will be working to expand choices and opportunities for community members throughout this city, recognizing a special responsibility to plan for the needs of those who face barriers to participation.
- It means that we’ll work with city offices and departments on community involvement to ensure that they are effective and efficient through the wise use and management of all resources, including the community’s time.
- And it means we will expand the toolbox and make some investments in digital engagement.
Seattle is a unique city, and we are fortunate to have so many valuable partners currently at the proverbial table. Those partners play an important role and that role will continue. While we are appreciative of the countless hours our volunteers spend making our city better, we recognize and acknowledge there are barriers to participation. There are communities who cannot be at the table, while there are some communities who don’t even know there is a table. This is where the Department of Neighborhoods comes in.
This is not a power grab. It is a power share. At the heart of this Executive Order is a commitment to advance the effective deployment of equitable and inclusive community engagement strategies across all city departments. This is about making information and opportunities for participation more accessible to communities throughout the city.
“This is not about silencing voices. It’s the exact opposite. It’s about bringing more people into the conversations or at least creating opportunities for people to participate so they can be heard.”
Face-to-face meetings are incredibly important and those are not going away. But not every person can attend a community meeting, and the ability to do so should not determine who gets to participate and who gets to be heard.
We’d love to hear what tools YOU need to be successful and how WE can help you. Share your ideas with us:
- Send an email to NewDON@seattle.gov.
- Share your comments below.
- Contact us at 206-684-0464 or mail us at P.O. Box 94649, Seattle, WA 98124-4649.
- Join and follow the conversation online using #AdvancingEquitySEA at:
Facebook – @SeattleNeighborhoods
Twitter – @SeaNeighborhood
This is about making things easier and less exhaustive. This is about connecting communities to government and to one another. This is about moving forward.
Kathy Nyland, Director
Seattle Department of Neighborhoods
Seattle Department of Neighborhoods is accepting applications to the People’s Academy for Community Engagement (PACE), our civic leadership development program for the next wave of community leaders. The fall session begins September 27 and runs through December 6.
During the 10-week program, 25-30 emerging leaders (18 years and up) will learn hands-on strategies for community building, accessing government, and inclusive engagement from experts in the field. PACE has a strong focus on Seattle’s community and neighborhood organizations and the city’s governmental structure and processes.
Fall sessions will be held on Tuesday evenings from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at Miller Community Center. Topics include: Approaches to Leadership, Government 101, Community Organizing, Inclusive Outreach and Public Engagement, Meeting Facilitation, Public Speaking, Conflict Resolution, and Sustaining Involvement.
Tuition for the 10-week program is $100. Tuition assistance is available. To apply, visit seattle.gov/neighborhoods/programs-and-services/peoples-academy-for-community-engagement/pace-application. The application deadline is Friday, August 12 at 5:00 p.m.
Given the popularity of the program, PACE will be offered three times a year: winter, spring and fall. The winter session will begin in January of 2017. For more information, visit our webpage and for questions, email PACE@seattle.gov.
Our Angel Morgan P-Patch will be hosting an art exhibition featuring birdhouses created from the faces of local youth. The exhibition, titled City of Faces, was created by George Lee in an effort to build community and deter youth violence in the everyday streets of South Seattle.
The exhibition opens with a party Sunday, May 15th from 3-6pm and will be on display through October 15.
Inspired by two close calls with gun violence near his home, George Lee set out to create a project that would change the narrative of his neighborhood. During the creation process, thirty youth learned about local birds and their nesting needs, and chose one bird for which to make a birdhouse. They then went through the brave task of having their faces cast in clay.
The finished project features a child’s face as the front of the birdhouse and their mouth as the bird entrance. The 30 seed-like ceramic birdhouses have been hung from organically curving posts of red cedar at the Angel Morgan P-Patch. The piece is “an exploration of refuge/home, fertility/life/youth, and the interconnection between human and non-human life,” states George Lee.
Lee is a Seattle-based artist specializing in site-specific sculpture and social practice art. City of Faces is a partnership with Somali Family Safety Task Force, Rainier Beach Community Center, Aki Kurose Middle School and Rainier Avenue Church. The project was funded by the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture.
Join us for the opening this Sunday May 15th from 3-6pm. There will be food, light refreshments, and raw materials from the creation process will be on display. Participating youth and their families will also be in attendance.
The Angel Morgan P-Patch Community Garden is located at 42nd Avenue S and S Morgan Street.
You can learn more about the project at George Lee’s website.
September 2 workshop for interested applicants
Application deadline is October 5
If your group needs funds to do a neighborhood project, our Neighborhood Matching Fund may be able to help. However, you’ll need to be quick because the application deadline for the Small and Simple Projects Fund is Monday, October 5 at 5:00 p.m. This fund provides awards of up to $25,000 to for community-building projects that are matched by community contributions.
To learn about the Small and Simple Projects Fund, visit seattle.gov/neighborhoods/nmf/smallandsimple.htm. This is the last opportunity in 2015 to apply to this fund.
The final workshop is scheduled for Wednesday, September 2 from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at University Heights Community Center (Room 209), 5031 University Way NE. The workshop provides an overview of the Neighborhood Matching Fund, the qualities of a good project, and the application process and requirements. To RSVP, go online at surveymonkey.com/r/ZHM36BJ or call 206-233-0093. The workshop is open to all.
Our Neighborhood Matching Fund staff is available to advise groups on ways to develop successful applications and projects. You are strongly encouraged to call 206.233.0093 or email NMFund@seattle.gov to discuss your project idea with one of our project managers.
The Neighborhood Matching Fund (NMF) Program awards matching funds for projects initiated, planned, and implemented by community members. Its goal is to build stronger and healthier neighborhoods through community involvement and engagement. Every award is matched by a neighborhood’s contribution of volunteer labor, donated materials, in-kind professional services, or cash.