by Gabriel Prawl (Seattle)
In Seattle, the African American Longshore Coalition (AALC) has joined a growing Black led community coalition in support of the new Africatown Innovation Center.
The Africatown Innovation Center is located in The Horace Mann Building, named after one of the founders of public education in the US, which is owned by the Seattle Public Schools, but has not been utilized by the school district since 2009.
In response to threats of possible privatization of the building over the last 4 years, Seattle's Black community has united and mobilized to fill every classroom with volunteer based afro-centric educational programming. This is what REAL public education looks like! The AALC issued the following statement supporting and affiliating to this historic coalition that was presented at public meeting on August 8, 2013.
To: Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Jose Banda,
Dear Superintendent Banda,
The African American Longshore Coalition (AALC) is an organization of Black longshoremen that stands for justice and equality in every port on the West Coast, and in every metropolitan city adjacent to those ports.
Let it be hereby known that the African American Longshore Coalition hereby fully endorses the Africatown Innovation Center at Horace Mann, hereby joins the More 4 Mann Coalition as an affiliate organization, and hereby proposes to sponsor a series of labor/community education workshops in the Africatown Center at Horace Mann.
The AALC has reviewed the video of the relevant commitments you have made to the Africatown Central District Community, and applauds you for these positive, logical and constructive commitments. Let it hereby be known that we are a part of the community that fully expects and looks forward to these commitments being kept entirely.
As a part of the labor community, we also stand in solidarity with all labor and community interests that have a stake in the equity and transparency of the distribution of all renovation and addition contracts for public buildings. We notice that the only electronically available copy of the July 3, 2013 School Board Motion to award such a contract in regard to the Horace Mann building contains only blank spaces for the amount of public money to be spent, the name of the contractor, the number of contract bids received, and the name of the entity deemed to be the low bid contractor. Please furnish us with that information, or if those details have yet to be decided upon, furnish us with the dates, times and places at which those decisions will be made.