2013: Signs of Hope in Seattle


I see broken inter-group relationships everywhere I go. This is part of my DNA as a peacebuilder, but it can become heavy. I must remind myself to celebrate the positive. There were signs of hope around Seattle in 2013.

2013

Representative Jim McDermott introduced the Duwamish Tribal Recognition Act. There’s a history here of broken promises. The Duwamish are lacking federal recognition, and the rights and resources that come along with it. This particular bill may or may not solve the problem, but it’s heartening to see that the issue will not die.

The University of Washington, whose student body is less than 50% Euro-American, approved a new diversity education requirement for undergraduates. This effort will not add to students’ course load, but it will refocus it in a meaningful way. Great work, alma mater! I’m proud of you.

The Seattle Police Department is undergoing serious reform after being diagnosed with excessive use of force and suspected of racial bias. The process is not pretty; rumor has it there are significant pockets of resistance. However with the US Justice Department closely monitoring progress, there are bound to be some improvements.

Also in 2013, Seattle’s own Breakthrough Partners and Beloved Community launched the first annual Martin Luther King Jr Prayer Breakfast, adding a faith-based element to Seattle’s already impressive slate of MLK Day celebrations. The 2014 prayer breakfast will start early at 7 AM, but I trust we’ll have strong coffee. I wouldn’t miss it.

The County Council reached a compromise solution on hold requests from the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). King County will end deportation holds on immigrants arrested for low-level offenses. This means that if you commit a traffic infraction, you pay the price for a traffic infraction – but you don’t get summarily deported. King County will continue to comply with ICE on larger offenses, so this policy may be reviewed again. For now, this middle-of-road compromise looks like a small victory for common sense.

Just yesterday, I read this uplifting quip from Indian Country Media Network:

“RESPECTFUL LOGO: The Spokane Indians baseball team, a Class A Northwest League team that’s affiliated with the Texas Rangers, have long collaborated with the Spokane Tribe of Indians in a partnership, and will make a logo in the Salish language the main logo on the front of its home uniforms for the 2014 season.”

This out-of-the-box solution that came through mutual respect and listening. I enter 2014 with a smile.