As a city, we value the wonderful diversity of races, cultures, gender identities, sexual orientations and socio-economic status that represent the people in our neighborhoods. To ensure that all voices are heard, it is especially important that the City's outreach and engagement efforts are respectful and appropriate for everyone.
To do this work, we have Community Liaisons, a team of professionals located throughout Seattle who serve as resources and liaisons for community members. Together, we assist City departments in their outreach and engagement needs ensuring that the City provides information to all community members, forges connections, fosters relationships, and receives rich, diverse, and meaningful civic participation.
Community Liaisons are expert "bridge-builders" who are bi-cultural and bi-lingual. Their work is conducted in a culturally-specific manner allowing participants some comfort and familiarity while navigating the City's processes. Community Liaisons are paid as independent contractors and participate in the Community Liaisons Institute, a training opportunity which supports their work.
Community Liaisons serve these historically underrepresented groups:
- Immigrants and Refugees (languages spoken below)
- Afaan-Oromo, Amharic, Bhutanese, Burmese, Cambodian (Khmer), Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese), Chichewa, Congolese (French), Farsi, French, Filipino (Tagalog and Ilocano), Gujarati, Harari, Hindi, Iraqi (Arabic), Japanese, Korean, Nepali, Polish, Punjabi, Russian, Sikh, Somali, Spanish, Swahili, Thai, Tigrinya, Ukrainian, Urdu, and Vietnamese.
- African Americans
- Native American
- Homeless, including Homeless Youth
- People Living with Disabilities
- PLWD - Blind and Autism
Community Liaisons at Work
Our staff dispatch the Community Liaisons to support City departments with:
- Quality translations
- Fair and equitable facilitation (in native language)
- Simultaneous interpretation
- Constituent support at City-hosted events
- Feedback and expertise on cultural concerns and barriers
- Accurate records and reports of participant feedback and concerns
- Community workshops and events that parallel larger City-hosted meetings
Community Liaisons also meet with individuals, organizations, small businesses, and others based on the needs of the community and each City department's outreach goals. They share information, connect groups with services, respond when issues arise, and provide technical assistance. They truly serve as a liaison to both the community and the City.
Community Liaison Institute
The professional growth and development of our Community Liaisons is important. Through our Community Liaisons Institute, we offer free monthly trainings designed to strengthen, hone, and build new skills for our liaisons. We provide trainings on filing taxes as an independent contractor, public speaking, interpretation best practices, an overview of City services, facilitating focus groups, and much more.