What is the group/coalition:
The Multicultural Community Center Coalition (MCC) is a group of eight immigrant and refugee-serving community organizations in Southeast Seattle.
In 2010, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development launched the “Community Challenge Grant,” and in response, the city and community groups partnered in 2011 to create the “Community Cornerstones Project,” from which the MCC arose.
The Community Cornerstones Project’s goal is to build the capacity of underrepresented communities to be active decision makers in the planning and implementation of growth. Since its founding, the Project has worked to engage community on transit-oriented development; stabilizing commercial developments; strengthening community-government relationships; and building a Multicultural Community Center that would serve as an anchor for communities to organize positive change.
What are the goals of this group?
The short-term goal of the MCC is to create a community-owned and community-driven, multicultural, co-working space that will serve as an anchor for several community-based organizations. The Center would relieve the rent burden of these organizations, allowing them to invest more resources into programmatic work.
The long-term goal of the MCC is to build power across immigrant and refugee communities so that they can shape the policies and practices that impact their lives.
How have they engaged local government?
MCC members have been active in shaping city plans across multiple departments. They maintain connections with the City of Seattle’s Department of Neighborhoods, the Office of Housing, and the Office of Economic Development.
MCC has partnered with the City of Seattle to finance the Center. To date, MCCC has received $50,000 to hire a capital campaign organizer to secure the funds necessary to break ground. Over the next quarter, MCC will lobby City Council members to secure land for the Center.
Southeast Seattle is diverse, with over 90 languages spoken. With the introduction of light rail stations and increasing private development around those stations, communities that live there—many of whom are communities of color—are being displaced at a rapid rate.
Insights from victories/challenges:
As a coalition catalyzed by a government grant, the project itself is a fascinating look at how local government can incubate independent, community-oriented, and community-led groups to provide evidence, testimonial, and expertise in shaping policies that impact their neighborhoods.
More information: http://council.seattle.gov/2013/04/18/community-cornerstones-advancing-equitable-transit-oriented-development/
Even more information: http://racialequityalliance.org/2015/04/12/seattle-washington-is-one-of-the-fastest-growing-big-cities-in-the-nation/