RISE Community Immersions: Social Justice for Black Lives

Black Lives Matter march Denver 6.8.2020

During the racial reckoning of the past year, public light has been re-shined onto individual and systemic oppression of Black bodies and Black communities. People have protested in solidarity with Black communities, pushed for removing the names of historical oppressors from public spaces, supported Black-run businesses, and worked to build anti-racism into personal and institutional actions.

While this is a start, much more is needed. Community organizations understand the challenges Black people face, as well as build on the strengths of culture, community, experience, perspectives, and resilience that already exist. The amplify the voices of their members while seeking solutions that provide sustainable change. They celebrate their communities, histories, and culture. This RISE Community Immersion will provide an opportunity for participants – students, faculty, staff, and community – to engage with local organizations that work on issues of importance to Black people and communities, and then reflect on what they can do to actively and ethically contribute to change.

Participants are encouraged to attend as many sessions as they can. These sessions may be interactive. Most will be recorded. Please visit this website before the sessions, as information may change.

The RISE Community Immersion was planned in coordination with the Black Employees of Bellevue College and with sponsorship from the Bellevue College Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Note: Members of Black communities, Black leaders, and Black-run business and organizations do not necessarily share the same beliefs, values, history, and trauma. “Black communities” are not a homogeneous unit. Opinions provided by the speakers do not represent those of all Black people, just as different organizations have different solutions to the same challenges.

Watch the Recordings

The Presence & Impact of African American Culture Upon the Pacific Northwest, with the Northwest African American Museum

BIPOC Youth and Our Education System, with Bellevue School District

The Policing and Incarceration of Black Bodies, with Eugene Youngblood and Look 2 Justice

The Power of Community Organizing, with Rainier Beach Action Coalition

Reflection and Action for Black Lives and Communities, with King County Equity Now

Schedule of Events

The Presence & Impact of African American Culture Upon the Pacific Northwest, with the Northwest African American Museum

Wednesday, April 28, 12:30pm-2:00pm

Photo of Jason Turner
Jason Turner, Museum Educator

The session will explore the diverse and exemplary contributions people of African descent have made in the Pacific Northwest and provide facts and stories that will educate and inspire. From George Washington Bush’s pioneering days to William Grose becoming Seattle’s first Black entrepreneur, to Jimi Hendrix revolutionizing rock music and the culture that went along with it, to Ernestine Anderson’s pioneering ways in the music industry, these and many other trailblazers will be discussed for their fortitude and ingenuity.  An in-depth discussion featuring Q and A will follow.

BIPOC Youth and Our Education System, with the Bellevue School District

Friday, April 30, 11:00am-12:30pm

Photo of Shomari Jones
Shomari Jones, Director of Equity & Strategic Engagement

Explore what it means to be a Black, Indigenous, Person of Color (BIPOC) student in today’s K-12 public education system. What are the barriers and challenges? What are the supports and successes? What efforts are being taken, both from within the school system and the broader community, to bridge equity gaps for our youth of color? We will explore how what happens in the K-12 system carries forward to college for our BIPOC students.

The Policing and Incarceration of Black Bodies, with Eugene Youngblood and Look 2 Justice

Monday, May 3, 1:00pm-2:30pm

Photo of Eugene Youngblood
Eugene Youngblood, Formerly Incarcerated
Photo of Chelsea Moore
Chelsea Moore, Co-Founder Look 2 Justice

In 1984 Washington State, caught up in tough on crime fervor, abolished parole. Since then Washington’s prison population has nearly quadrupled in size. Our state disproportionately incarcerates and gives life and long sentences to Black and Indigenous People of Color. In this session you will learn about the impact of the criminal punishment system, not just in theory but through the sharing of lived experience. What are the challenges currently and formerly incarcerated people face? How is mass incarceration connected to the policing of Black and Indigenous People of Color? And how are currently and formerly incarcerated people organizing for their liberation?

The Power of Community Organizing, with the Rainier Beach Action Coalition

Wednesday, May 5, 11:30am-1:00pm

Photo of Gregory Davis
Gregory Davis, Managing Strategist

Learn and understand the conditions needed and steps taken to gain policy wins through community organizing as experienced by the Rainier Beach Action Coalition, a neighborhood-based not-for-profit organization that convenes, connects and collaboratively solves problems. We will visit some examples of how to organize and amplify community voices to impact government decisions for the benefit of our diverse community.

Reflection and Action for Black Lives and Communities, with King County Equity Now

Thursday, May 6, 12:30pm-2:00pm

Photo of TraeAnna Holiday
TraeAnna Holiday, Media Director

King County Equity Now is working in various sectors to elevate the material conditions of the Black community throughout King County. Born out of the decades of Black organizing, we began with volunteers and moved into a full fledged organization. We encourage all members of the community to call out injustice, discrimination, corruption, displacement, and racism while building, amplifying, and advocating for Black-led and community rooted solutions that will work for all of us who long for a better, more equitable world. Through this session, you’ll reflect on what you’ve learned and experienced throughout the entire series of events, and plan for how you can actively and meaningfully engage in this broader, multi-faceted movement.

Last Updated July 26, 2023