Advocating for Equity Statewide
Across Washington state, we mobilize communities to dismantle poverty and racism, so every one of us has the opportunity to live a healthy, prosperous life.
Byrd Barr Place started as the Central Area Motivation Project or CAMP in 1965, when grassroots organizers in Seattle’s Central District joined together to build economic mobility and civic engagement with the Black community.
Today, we continue to raise awareness of racist policies and systemic inequities that limit opportunities for too many people. And, we advocate for community-based solutions that will foster an equitable future for all Washingtonians.
True to our roots, we unite the Black community through the Seattle Community of Practice, a collaboration of African American organizations working to improve access to and quality of education, housing, jobs and health care.
Investing in Black-led Organizations
Black leaders share the truth of their experiences guiding community organizations in this new report, The Case for Investing in King County’s Black-led Organizations. Based on interviews and surveys, the report lifts up the many strengths of Black-led organizations, as well as highlights barriers to funding opportunities that have led to significant under-investment in the Black community. The report is a call to do better, with recommendations for taking a culturally centered approach to philanthropy.
As an anchor community partner in developing affordable housing and supporting minority businesses in the Central District, we work with other organizations to build a future in which African Americans and low-income residents can stay and thrive in the city center.
Our focus includes supporting the creation of land trusts geared toward people of color in order to preserve affordable housing, mitigate gentrification and build community wealth. The Liberty Bank Building at 24th and Union, which opened in 2019, is one tangible example of this work. A collaboration of Byrd Barr Place, Africatown, Black Community Impact Alliance and Capitol Hill Housing, the redevelopment project sets a new standard for community-led investment in the Central District.
Advancing Racial Equity
Aiming to spur public dialogue and generate community-driven policy solutions, Byrd Bard Place and the Seattle Community of Practice have published a series of reports:
- Creating an Equitable Future in Washington State (2015), focuses on economic, political and social barriers to progress for Black Washingtonians.
- Voices Rising: African American Economic Security in King County (2017) delves deeper into economic security issues.
- And So We Press On: A Community View on African American Health in Washington State (2019) continues the dialogue about experiences of health and well-being.
To address the challenges identified in these reports, Byrd Barr Place and the Seattle Community of Practice are working with community members and partners to:
- Identify innovative social service models across the country and apply best practices to our own services.
- Engage the community in developing a unified African American agenda to realize our collective goals.
- Support the creation of a land trust as a legal tool to combat gentrification and the loss of place for African Americans in Seattle and King County.
“We capitalize on our deep knowledge of the community to speak truth to power and effect systemic change.”
CEO Andrea Caupain Sanderson