The following Mission and Vision Statements been approved by SoCoCulture’s 2021 Leadership Team:

 

Mission Statement
South King County Cultural Coalition’s mission is to provide artists, cultural producers, community leaders and organizations the tools and opportunities to network, learn, share, support, and pursue equitable and inclusive arts, heritage, historic preservation, and cultural practices for the benefit of all people in communities they serve.

Vision Statement
SoCoCulture supports its members to be successful in their work and in the pursuit of their continuous education while activating equity, upholding accountability, and promoting inclusion throughout their mission, practices, and services to others.

 


 

The Goals and Objectives will be another component of SoCo’s Strategic Plan – below are some ideas that are still up for discussion:

 

Goals are qualitative and longer-term: 

  • SoCoCulture membership will reflect the cultural density of South King County and will include cultural representation from every municipality in South King County, as well as unincorporated areas in South King County.
  • SoCoCulture will assist its members in ensuring that cultural issues have “a seat at the table” in the civic discourse of the county districts, municipalities, school districts and other jurisdictions in South King County.
  • SoCoCulture members will be a positive, inclusive force for our youngest community members, our elders, and our families; for our newest communities of immigrants; and for individuals and populations who often get overlooked.
  • SoCoCulture will support Black, Asian, Latinx, Immigrant and Indigenous groups in their work to sustain their heritage and build upon their own cultural traditions.
  • SoCoCulture will be an active force in supporting and expanding the historic preservation goals of communities within South King County.
  • SoCoCulture will be an active force in supporting the cultural value of trees and in expanding initiatives to preserve culturally significant trees and forests in South King County.
  • SoCoCulture will be an active force in supporting the efforts of South King County communities to achieve state-level certification as Creative Districts.
  • SoCoCulture will play a role in ensuring that more county- and state-level funding is awarded to cultural groups and individual cultural practitioners in South King County.
  • SoCoCulture will play a role in removing barriers and improving accessibility for populations that have been underserved.

 

Objectives tend to be shorter-term and quantifiable:

  • SoCoCulture will mount a membership campaign to increase its membership by 30 percent in 2022. By the end of 2023, SoCoCulture will have at least 100 paying members.
  • SoCoCulture will expand its social media presence via new outlets.
  • SoCoCulture will assist in coordinating a mass transit advertising campaign featuring some of its members in 2022 or 2023.
  • SoCoCulture will provide its members with five professional development meetings annually that provide relevant information to help members strengthen their operations and build their audiences, with particular attention paid to those populations that have not yet been reached.
  • SoCoCulture will host another South King County-wide Arts Commissioners Summit in 2023.
  • SoCoCulture will work with its own membership along with other potential collaborators such as King County Historic Preservation, 4Culture, and AKCHO to build tangible connections with local colleges and school districts regarding historical museums, local historic sites and local history, including the “hidden histories” that previously may have been overlooked due to white mainstream bias.
  • SoCoCulture will expand its “SoCo Opps” artist call list by 100% in 2022, and by another 100% in 2023.

SoCoCulture members are encouraged to submit additions, revisions, and comments regarding the above Goals and Objectives by Tuesday, November 23. Send them to Barbara McMichael at info@sococulture.org

A Zoom meeting will be scheduled for early December to hold a final discussion on this piece of the strategic plan. Any SoCo member is welcome to participate in the meeting and whether or not you’re able to attend, any comments you have submitted by November 23 will be a part of the discussion.

At the SoCo membership meeting in January, the finalized draft of the Strategic Plan will be submitted to the membership for discussion and a vote of approval.


 

Additional proposals forwarded by SoCoCulture’s IDEA Group:

 

The IDEA Group is comprised of Justice McNeeley, Bennyroyce Royon and Gaylloyd Sisson, all of whom are members of the SoCoCulture Leadership Team. These ideas will be incorporated as part of a toolkit SoCoCulture will make available to all of its members in an effort to confront and dismantle systemic racism.

A Note on Language
We recognize the complexity of addressing a culture that marginalizes people’s identities. The Group suggests that SoCoCulture investigate better alternatives to outdated and disturbing labels used to identify certain individuals, people, or groups. It is essential to clarify language to avoid thinking that demeans social and ethnic values systemic racism encourages. There are several popularized terms used.

Labels to discuss/review (list not complete) :

  • BIPOC
  • EDI/DEI/DEAI
  • LGBTQ2S+
  • LGBTQIA2S+
  • Minorities
  • Diversity
  • Inclusion
  • Access vs. Accessibility
  • Cultural Density
  • Model Minority

 SoCoCulture members, what are other existing labels can we add to the list?

Action Items

#1 — Commit to “Out-of-the-Box” Education
“Out of the box” means combating/confronting/challenging/evolving/… the erroneous narratives created by dominant colonial/settler powers which center the comfort and futures of white settlers on this continent and elsewhere. This education involves deep self-work in order to move towards a more mindful, grounded, and complete understanding. Continued learning, dialogue, participation, and advocacy must be an individual and collective effort.

Engage regularly scheduled opportunities for SoCoCulture leadership to develop their self-work relating to antiracism, equity, accessibility, and cultural density. We as individuals must recognize and dismantle ways organizations perpetuate colonialism.

#2 — Develop Relational Accountability
Relational accountability means knowing our roles and relationships with each other, and using our privileges and perspectives, in order to be accountable to marginalized identities and groups. It is important to shift transactional actions to long-term relations.

Fostering relational accountability is crucial for individual and community welfare. We must implement transparency and create a system that keeps SoCoCulture members accountable for equitable and inclusive work. Everyone must follow through on every commitment made to individuals and community members in adherence to the mission statement.

#3 — Build Meaningful Community Relationships
Meaningful relationships encompass the values of social accountability and long-term commitments for community wellness and investments. SoCoCulture must pursue better and meaningful relationship by:

  • Dedicating more time to listening and learning before organizing with individuals, groups, or communities
  • Understanding the history, legacy, values, lived experiences, and positionality of individuals, groups, communities, and its members through active and reciprocal dialogue
  • Decentering SoCoCulture’s organizational identity in the support, relationship, or work it offers to its community members and others

If any other SoCo members are interested in participating in the IDEA Group’s work, please contact Barbara McMichael at info@sococulture.org or 206-878-6912 and she can put you in touch with them.

Note to SoCo members: for more ideas to consider for your personal or organizational Toolkit, please visit sococulture.org/racial-equity-matters-resource-list/  and if you have resources you’d like to add to that list, please send them along to info@sococulture.org

 


And Barbara McMichael submits this personal reflection:

 

To be honest, I was trying to write a draft of a Land Acknowledgment, but this turned into something else. Still, I thought I might share with you what your SoCo staffer is thinking… 


Since time immemorial, the area we now call South King County was the home of the Puyallup, Duwamish, Muckleshoot, Skopamish, Smulkamish, Snoqualmie, Stkamish, Tkwakwamish and Yilalkoamish people*, who lived in close relationship with the land and waters, the creatures, plants and trees. But over the past two centuries, the longstanding, sustainable practices of those cultures have been disrupted – often violently – by systems of imperialism, capitalism and industrialization. It is also worth noting that many of the colonizers of this “new” land had fled rampant poverty or tyranny in the land of their birth to seek a better life here.

In the 21st century, South King County is populated not only by the descendants of those ages-old tribes, and by the progeny of those colonizers, but also by a more recent influx of newcomers from around the globe, many of whom have come in search of refuge, because some of those same forces that historically caused disruption, as well as more recent challenges such as geopolitical instability and climate change, now are wreaking havoc in their traditional homelands.

At SoCoCulture, we recognize the opportunity before us: to create a welcoming, inclusive and supportive community among what may be a historically unprecedented array of people who hail from different cultures. We begin with compassion, recognizing that trauma – whether generational or current – is a factor in all of our lives. We seek understanding of differences, and we learn from one another. We identify and address barriers that prevent any members of our South King County community from accessing opportunity and achieving success in pursuit of their unique cultural expression. And overall, we foster a culture of open-mindedness and collaboration.

 

*Thanks to Hilary Pittenger at White River Valley Museum for helping me with the resources for the names of the Coast Salish groups that have lived right here for generation upon generation.