A look back at COO partners organizing for change in 2018

As we reflect on 2018, so many Communities of Opportunity partners have organized for a more racially just and equitable region. For example, COO partner organizations mobilized over 250 people to serve in critical leadership roles to advance change in communities. Check out some of the other inspiring 2018 numbers from Best Starts for Kids and COO.

Here are just a few of the many stories of these leaders that inspire us and remind us that while policy and systems change can take a long time, tapping into community expertise can result in change today.

Casa Latina centers community voices to improve economic opportunity
domestic workers body image
For decades, labor laws have excluded domestic workers from basic protections such as minimum wage and rest breaks.  Now, organizations have centered the voices of those most impacted to make new strides in access to opportunity and health. For example, Casa Latina centered the experiences of domestic workers at every step of the process as they worked to advance policy change. Seattle Foundation funding supported this work.

Maria Duarte, a Casa Latina member who was involved in these efforts attributes their success to community connectedness. “As long as we stick together,” Duarte says, “we’ll be strong.”

White Center Food Bank turns a parking lot into something unexpected 
peppersWhen Mara first started working in their garden, she knew she had a lot of work ahead of her. Limited garden space, soil issues, and few pollinators meant the garden wasn’t producing as many fresh fruits and vegetables as she hoped, and she knew they could do more. But they only had a parking lot to work with. So they had to get creative.

“We want our customers to have choice in their lives, and the cascading benefits of fresh, healthy food creates a vibrant, nourished community.” — Mara Bernard, White Center Food Bank


How one refugee’s story of organizing holds lessons for all of us
cinIsolation can be a common experience for refugees and immigrants. This community leader shares how becoming involved with cultural community organizations can break that isolation and help people thrive emotionally and economically.

“Instability is a big issue for us. People are moving two or three times a year. They’re pushed more and more south, away from the resources they need to support themselves…and heal from their trauma.” – Floribert Mubalama, Congolese Integration Network

Opening career pathways for youth of color in our booming tech economy
tech betterThe demand for skilled tech professionals continues to rise as companies like Amazon and Facebook are booming in Seattle and King County. But traditional pathways into the tech industry often exclude youth and young adults of color. People from across South King County gathered at SeaTac Community Center to hear directly from tech professionals and employers about working in the industry.

“Think visionary, think big, but hold steadfast to who you are because people aren’t going to connect with your job title, they’re going to connect with your why.” Shaunt’e Nance-Johnson, Career Readiness Program Manager at Technology Access Foundation.

Thank you to all of our COO partners who has given their time and energy to creating greater racial, economic, and health equity so that all people in King County can thrive and prosper.


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