“We say all power to the people- Black Power to the Black People, Brown Power to the Brown People, Red Power to the Red People, Yellow Power to the Yellow People.”
This quote, taken from the Black Panther Party’s slogan, perfectly sums the importance of self-advocacy for marginalized groups around the world. Considering Seattle’s own extensive history with the Black Panther Party and Black Liberation Movement, it is no wonder that this mantra would be embodied in one of the most crucial community organizations in town- Black Out WA.
As an anti-racist, Washington-based advocacy group focused on building capacity around political advocacy & civic engagement for families of African descent, there is a marked difference between the work Black Out WA does compared to other policy-focused advocacy groups. They are led and organized by members of the Black community.
For people of African descent who suffer the trauma of colonialism and racism, it would be remiss not to counter the dominant white culture and practices that fuel oppressive institutions with a more culturally-reflective and holistic approach to legislative work. In recognition of this, Black Out WA intentionally bases their approach, attitudes, and focus around pan-African culture, making sure to engage every group of the community from young to old.
In that same vein, Black Out WA partners with other community organizations and interests groups to ensure that the work being done reflects an expressed need from the community. Some of their projects include Legal Financial Obligation Reform and the “2nd Chance Act”, An Anti-Racist Approach to Parole: two efforts led by the Black Prisoners Caucus. Through their work with the BCIA, they have also helped secure $2.2 million for the William Gross Cultural Innovation Center. Moving forward they will be supporting the Seattle King County NAACP- Police Accountability and the Seattle Black Book Club with their #BlackLivesMatter Police Accountability platform; aiding the All-City Black Student Union, NAACP-Education, and Black Law Student Association on their #ArrestTheLegislature campaign; supporting EPIC’s work with #NoNewYouthJail; and furthering the causes of the BCIA and NAACP-Economic Development in supporting Black entrepreneurship and growth with the #StopBlamingHookahLounges initiative.
Learn more about their work by following their Facebook page. Meetings are also held every 1st and 3rd Friday, 6 PM, at the Black Power Epicenter (for Black community members only).