The Bellevue Centers Communities of Color Initiative supports a community-led effort to advance the city’s values and commitment to racial equity by building trust and awareness through dialogue across the city’s diverse population, ensuring that all Bellevue communities have the opportunity to grow and thrive.
These dialogues build racial literacy and skills through education and training, while partnerships with community organizations help to co-create recommendations and actions. Leading the effort is the CCC Coordinating Team, a diverse group of people who live and work in Bellevue and are dedicated to improving opportunities and racial equity for the betterment of the entire Bellevue community.
Do you have ideas for the Cross-Cultural Center without Walls? Email email@example.com to submit ideas.
Community Dialogue Nov. 16
People who live and/or work in Bellevue are invited to discuss the needs and opportunities for communities of color in Bellevue at a meeting Thursday, Nov. 16, 6:30-9:30 p.m. at Stevenson Elementary School, 14220 NE Eighth St.
The city held a series of earlier dialogues in July and August at which community members discussed how the city could be more equitable and inclusive. The Nov. 16 dialogue, at which dinner will be provided, will be the final one. Please register.
The CCC Team will use the ideas collected from those dialogues to consider possible changes to city policy aimed at improving equity and inclusivity in Bellevue. The team will then bring the ideas from all the dialogues back to the community for additional discussion and to develop recommendations. Finally, the team will bring those recommendations to city leaders for possible action.
On Jan. 19, 2021, the City Council approved the Bellevue Centers Communities of Color initiative, a community-led effort to advance racial equity here and build trust and awareness across the city’s diverse population. council meeting presentation || agenda memo
The three-year initiative includes a three-tiered approach:
- Develop trust through dialogue: With assistance from city staff, a Communities of Color Coordinating Team made up of diverse community members will create a series of community discussions on equity issues during year one.
- Build racial literacy skills through education and training: The city will educate community members on racial equity issues, potentially in partnership with local businesses, nonprofits and government organizations.
- Co-create recommendations for action: In collaboration with the CCC Team, city staff, leadership and other stakeholders, the city will explore activities and recommendations to advance racial equity in the City of Bellevue.
Communities of Color Coordinating Team
Amirah is a student in the Bellevue School District, and has lived in Bellevue for 12 years. Although her passion began in middle school, it has transitioned to a hands-on approach in community-led events. Amirah has championed minority groups' causes and rallied for equity across race and gender.
As a youth in her community, Amirah helped draw attention to the effects of toxic masculinity and, with her peers, led and supported projects that promoted awareness and facilitated long-lasting change. Amirah wants to continue to promote positive change in the community, serving on the CCC Team.
Joel is a freshman at Seattle Pacific University, planning to major in international business. Joel’s family is Guatemalan, and has been living in Bellevue for 25+ years. When Joel is not at school, he’s the co-owner of Home for the Poor, a nonprofit organization that builds shelters for rural Guatemalans and provides them with food and clothes.
Joel’s goal for Communities of Color Coordinating Team is to create space for people of color in the community to be heard.
Monik is originally from a small farming community in Central Washington and has lived in Bellevue for the last five years. As executive director of 4 Tomorrow, a local nonprofit, Monik has focused her efforts on supporting youth and the Latinx community in King County.
Before 4 Tomorrow, Monik was a family engagement specialist in the Bellevue School District – a role that allowed her to deepen her interest in racial equity and build her understanding of the link between institutional change and ensuring that families in the community were served with fidelity. Monik is excited to join the CCC Team to learn from the wider community and work with other passionate community members in making our home the best place it can be.
Kananu has lived and worked in Bellevue since 2006. She has worked in healthcare for about 20 years, specializing over the last five years on neurology. During her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, hiking/walking and vegetable gardening.
Kananu draws inspiration from interacting with people who make it a purpose to better themselves and/or their communities.
Randy works, lives and has children that go to school in the city his wife was born and raised in – Bellevue. He feels most at home when he has an opportunity to get involved in the community, support efforts to build a sense of belonging for everyone and have moments of celebration.
Randy, who has a doctorate in educational leadership and policy studies from the University of Washington, joined the CCC Team because he believes the city plays an important role in the well-being of families and communities. He knows his life experiences reflect those of a large segment of our population, which he will do his best to represent honorably.
Ricardo is an investor/broker with Compass in Bellevue, helping people make real estate investments. A Latino and the youngest of 10 siblings, Ricardo has been empowered by feeling included.
As a long-time real estate professional, he wants to promote opportunities for minority business owners in Bellevue. Ricardo wants to make sure information and resources are easy to find for all populations here.
Ryan moved to Bellevue in 2010, finding work as a laborer, driver and hospitality worker. Of Tlingit and Mexican descent, Ryan was raised with Coast Salish, Makah and Klallam people on the Olympic Peninsula; Bellevue game him his first experience living in a city with diversity. He became familiar with the local Baha'i community and participated in a dance group that performed around Seattle for some years and started to learn about advocacy.
Ryan has volunteered for Alaskan Natives Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault and the Black Action Coalition for Black and Indigenous Solidarity. He has received training for leadership from the El Pomar Foundation and advocated for environmental causes through Protectors of the Salish Sea.
Jeri is a queer, black, intersectional feminist, pronouns she/her. A nurse in the greater Seattle area, she has worked inside and out of clinical spaces, promoting health and racial equity, along with diverse inclusion.
Jeri's biggest concerns are for health equity and housing and economic equality for communities of color.
Lalita and her husband, with their two children, have made Bellevue their home for the past 28 years. Following a short stint in toxicology consulting, Lalita stayed home to raise her children and volunteered in school PTSAs. Since 2007, she has been on the board of the India Association of Western Washington, and has also volunteered for the organization in various capacities, including as youth program director, president and, currently, community program director and vice president.
Lalita identifies and advocates for the needs of the Asian Indian community of Western Washington. Additionally, she is a trustee with the King County Library System board, and is an ardent advocate of libraries becoming the hub of a community, providing knowledge, education, awareness and connections. Lalita also sits on the board of South Asian Americans Together for Washington.
Royce has worked in Bellevue for the past 12 years, and is pastor and community catalyst for the Common Good Church, a faith community that seeks to benefit all people, no matter their race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, mental or physical ability, education, socioeconomic status, or spiritual background.
Royce ministers in predominantly multicultural and multiethnic spaces and has advocated for racial diversity, equity and inclusion in a variety of industries and organizations throughout his career. He is excited about joining the CCC Team to come alongside city staff, leaders and stakeholders in their efforts to advance racial equity and build trust and awareness across the city’s diverse population.