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SDOT Promotes the City’s Race and Social Justice Initiative

As part of the commitment to ending institutionalized racism, the SDOT Race and Social Justice Initiate (R SJI) Change Team offers monthly brown bag “ lunch and learns” to bring awareness and educate SDOT employees on different topics related to social justice. Other departments are also invited to attend.

On July 28, the SDOT RSJI Change Team held a well-attended session to discuss the topic of “U.S. Citizens versus Non-U.S. Citizens” Barriers for Accessing Institutions (Citizenship as a Privilege – the advantages of citizenship), and explore how institutionalized racism may affect our customers based on their citizenship status. Jacque Larrainzar, Policy and Outreach Manager for the  Seattle Office for Civil Rights, reviewed the immigration process.  Travis Taylor, Equal Employment Opportunities/Strategic Advisor for the, Human Resources in the Seattle Fire Department, talked about the department’s “Community Fire Safety Advocate Pilot Project”.  The program was developed in response to a fatality house fire which occurred in June 2010.  Four children and a young woman lost their lives in this fire, which was Seattle’s deadliest in more than 30 years. The Community Fire Safety Advocate (CFSA) program was put in place to train advocates who can convey the information in the native language of the communities. The victims of the fatal fire were first and second generation Ethiopian and Eritrean refugees. SFD learned that they needed to provide more outreach and education for immigrant and refugee communities and worked with East African community leaders to select individuals to undergo extensive training and become CFSAs. To learn more about SFD’s public education prevention programs, visit their Prevention Program Reports page.

The Seattle Channel was gracious enough to tape the event. You may view the video here: (or below)