"Racism - it was waiting for me as I left my mother's womb. It is institutional.
It is built into society. The traditional values and beliefs of people of color hold the universal consciousness of mankind. We have racism because this consciousness has been silenced. Art can make this consciousness heard by creating an equitable reality where cultural diversity flourishes. Cultural diversity needs to be nurtured and valued."
Marita Dingus, 1992
This quote from the celebrated artist of African descent, who grew up in Auburn Washington, captures the impetus behind the City of Seattle employees who formed a Coalition of ethnic affinity groups in 2009 to create the gallery and to encourage collaboration between the City's affinity groups and employees of all stripes. In our first year we quickly added an annual Summer Picnic where all City employees, their families and friends, are invited to nurture friendships and mutual understanding through food and fun. Both of these efforts support RSJI core values by reaching out to our diverse populations and ethnic communities, enriching cultural appreciation, and strengthening everyday collaboration and productivity amongst City employees. Other collaborative efforts, triggered by current events, are consistent with our focus to enrich lives, and build equity and justice. We invite your ideas, participation, and support.
The primary goals of our Coalition are to:
- Build and strengthen relationships between ethnic communities and the City of Seattle
- Foster pride and appreciation for diverse cultures within the workplace and the community at large
- Showcase and support local artists of color
- Nurture the appreciation for the cultural diversity of art