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Reaching Out to Immigrant and Refugee Communities

(Blog updated: 3/9/12)

The City’s Race and Social Justice Initiative (RSJI) is a citywide effort to end institutionalized racism and race-based disparities in City government. In the month of February, SDOT is sharing stories of some of the projects and programs we are working on to achieve racial equity in our community.

Last year the city implemented the Boot Program. Yellow boots, or wheel locking devices, can now be placed on vehicles that have four or more unpaid parking tickets. Boots cannot be removed until the vehicle’s owner pays the parking tickets or sets up a payment plan. We know most drivers do their best to not get parking tickets and if they do, to pay it off immediately. If you are new to the city, particularly if you arrived from another country, you may not be familiar with Seattle’s parking laws. To increase knowledge of parking regulations, SDOT is working with the Municipal Court of Seattle, the Seattle Police Department and Seattle Office of Civil Rights to develop an educational campaign with a strong focus on our immigrant and refugee populations.

First, the city hired T.D. Wang a Seattle public relations and advertising firm that specializes in reaching out to various ethnic groups. Second, we worked with T.D. Wang to develop an outreach strategy. The strategy includes running bus ads, creating radio and T.V. public service announcements, drafting one-page handouts and working with media outlets.  The PSAs and one-page handouts are being translated into the five languages most commonly requested for interpretation at the court house. Third, models being used in the ads are meant to represent a wide range of ethnic groups so that people can relate to them. Bus ads are currently running and with the remaining efforts are expected to be completed by mid-March.

If you are interested in becoming more active in the city’s Race and Social Justice Initiative, join us at our next community meeting.

Saturday, March 10
1 – 3 pm
New Holly Gathering Hall
7054 32nd Avenue S.

The event will include a presentation on the Race and Social Justice Initiative’s new three-year plan and a discussion of racial equity work priorities and next steps. To register for the March 10 event, RSVP to Maria Rodriguez by calling 206-684-0548 or e-mail