EDITOR’S NOTE: South King Media Founder/Publisher Scott Schaefer serves on the Board of Directors for the Seattle Southside Chamber of Commerce.

On Acknowledging, Amplifying, and Uniting for Justice

By Renatta Emerson
Membership & Programs Manager

While still in the midst of the vast human and economic impacts our world is facing as a result of COVID-19, our country now reels from the tragic loss of George Floyd and numerous others as a result of racism. Even more than before, we are urged to maintain the semblance of “business as usual,” a challenge that is especially trying for our communities of color, and primarily the Black members of the Southside community and beyond. We at the Chamber understand this—as an organization and as individuals. We encourage our members to take the time to acknowledge current events and recognize the humanity of our colleagues, and also to respect the range of emotions and responses within ourselves. These are not “usual” days.

The deaths of these individuals and the movements inspired by them are indicative of a world and culture that is broken in many ways and of a system that is inherently inequitable. These facts, which Black communities have known and lived with for generations, are now coming to light for the broader population. We see this in the anger and rage that has surfaced in response to inhumane cruelty, hatred, and injustice. But it is not enough just to say that Black lives matter. We must fight for equity, justice, and understanding that our lives and our success as a community are bound together. It is as a community that we must unite to demand and bring about necessary change. More importantly now than ever, We Are Stronger Together.

What We Are Doing
During the first week of June, the Chamber put a pause on any self-promotion. Instead, we took the time to highlight Black-owned businesses with the hashtag #AmplifyMelanatedVoices. We will continue to find ways to center and amplify the voices and experiences of our Black community members as well as support and uplift Black businesses, organizations, and communities with our network of resources. This includes partnering with entities such as Tabor 100 and Business ImpactNW, who have long been serving communities of color in our region.

What You Can Do: 

    • Educate Yourself. Google is always a perfect starting point. Find resources that challenge your thinking, books from Black authors, and talks to listen to from minority voices. Learn what it means to actively be an ally—and then be sure to encourage the people around you to educate themselves as well.
    • Open Up Conversations. Talk to friends and family about confronting racists mindsets, actions, and micro-aggressions (which are often ingrained and subconsciously communicated). Call out tropes and stereotypes when you hear them. Allow room for the feelings and emotions that follow. This is hard, but necessary work.
    • Take Action. Yes, sign the petitions, speak up, and volunteer, but also activate what’s available to you. If you have the financial means, donate or shop Black-owned businesses and if you have an influential network and a platform, utilize them toward real solutions.
    • Seek to Hear. How diverse are the voices and perspectives that you surround yourself with? Between friends, family, coworkers, and your news/social feed– consciously seek out and make room for more Black and Brown stories to reach your eyes and ears. Diversify your social feed, explore BIPOC content creators, and find out where the conversations are taking place. For example, you can tune in to our SMART Webinar, where we’ll speak with key community leaders and organizations on how the immigrant and minority business community has been impacted since the onset of COVID-19. Details are below:

WHAT: SMART Webinar: Immigrant & Minority Business Impact

WHEN: Friday, June 12, 2020: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

VIEW: Via Zoom, or on The B-Town Blog’s Facebook page.

Details and registration link here: https://www.seattlesouthsidechamber.com/events/details/smart-webinar-immigrant-minority-business-impact-4090?calendarMonth=2020-06-01

After June 12th, a recording of the webinar can be found at: https://www.seattlesouthsidechamber.com/smart-webinar 

We all have work to do, both in ourselves as individuals and together as a unified community. Knowing this, the Seattle Southside Chamber commits to leading with racial equity and advocating for social and economic justice in service to the diverse communities we serve.

If the Chamber can be of service to you, your business, or your employees, please don’t hesitate to reach out. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please let me know. Know that we are with you and wish the best for your health and safety

To each member of our community, thank you. Your courage and passion drive our organization to work hard for you, with you, and for the benefit of the Seattle Southside. Thank you for allowing us to stand alongside you, as your regional Chamber. Together, we are Seattle Southside Strong.

This article was written by Renatta Emerson, the Membership & Programs Manager for Seattle Southside Chamber of Commerce, “A voice for business, a leader in the community.” Seattle Southside Chamber has served the communities of Burien, Des Moines, Normandy Park, SeaTac, and Tukwila since 1988.

For more information about the Chamber, including a full list of member benefits and resources, please visit their website at www.SeattleSouthsideChamber.com.