Environmental Justice Stories

One of the four core goal areas for the Equity & Environment Agenda is focused on environmental narrative and community leadership. One of the key ways we are working with community to support that goal is to continually seek out opportunities to collect and connect stories and cultural experiences of Black, Indigenous, and people of color to a broader environmental narrative. This in turn will help inform the creation of policies and programs that are centered on the well-being of our BIPOC neighbors. 

Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) expo in collaboration with the Muckleshoot Tribe   

TEK ExpoIn the spring of 2019, the City of Seattle's Environmental Justice Committee (EJC) partnered with the Office of Arts & Culture and the Office for Civil Rights to coordinate and host an expo centering Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) in collaboration with the Muckleshoot Tribe. ​This project grew out of the EJC's work with cultural worker and Environmental Justice Artist-in-Residence Carina A. del Rosario. In summer 2018, del Rosario engaged the EJC through visual and literary arts activities to determine a policy area they wanted to collaborate on with her. This project started with a conversation examining policies that can perpetuate exclusionary practices such as prohibition of foraging in public parks. It then grew to focus on TEK through experiential learning as a way to demonstrate how the City can be a better partner to Tribes and Indigenous communities.  They worked closely with Del Rosario and members of the Muckleshoot Tribe to coordinate the expo and subsequently create a video expressing the need for the City to support close partnership with Indigenous peoples and Coast Salish tribes. Woven into the project development was the commitment of the Environmental Justice Committee to act as a conduit between the City of Seattle and Seattle's environmental justice communities to come together in service of uniting our shared values to advance that commitment. The expo represents a cultural shift that cultivates racial justice alongside environmental justice while working to acknowledge and redress historic harms to Coast Salish peoples as a result from colonialism and structural racism. The video of the event is designed to help influence City policy processes, to bring awareness of and honor TEK and Indigenous leadership. 

This project was funded and supported as one of several projects of the Creative Strategies Initiative (CSI), a component of the Race and Social Justice Initiative. CSI projects use arts and culture-based approaches to build racial equity in areas like community engagement and environment. 

Stories of Environmental Justice in Action

Volunteers working on site plans

Highlighting projects and organizations that are advancing environmental justice in the community.

Pilot Project with Ethiopian Community
Greening of Concord Elementary School
Native Food Systems Initiative
Rainier Beach Community Farm Stand

Environmental Justice Leadership Spotlights

Highlighting work and activism of leaders who have served on Seattle's Environmental Justice Committee.

2020 Environmental Justice Committee, 10 members 2019           Nancy Huizar | César García | Debolina Banerjee | Paulina López | Abdullahi Jama
2020     Melissa WatkinsonDennis Comer | Jaimée Marsh | Pah-tu Pitt G. | Ruby Stacey