They are names that are integral to the story of the past year:
There are far too many other names, too, in recent memory and throughout our history. All of them are part of a tragic narrative: African Americans who lost their lives in large part because of the institutional racism deeply rooted in our country.
As people from around the world marched in the streets to call for change, we in King County were reminded of our obligation to recognize and address the systemic problems that our African American — and all of our BIPOC communities — face daily.
At Metro, we know Black Lives Matter. We also know that Black Lives Matter is a movement, not a moment. That movement is a call for all of us to stand together for racial equity — for racial justice across our community. This means we also stand with our Asian Pacific Islander American (APIA) community, and grieve the tragic events last week in Georgia.
All across King County and our country, there is an awakening taking place. An awakening of the national conscience to the brutal reality of racism and bias throughout our society. It is an awakening which we can hope, in time, will have a lasting, positive impact.
As part of our work toward meeting the equity and social justice challenges in the county that bears the name of America’s foremost human rights leader, we asked the talented employees of Metro to show us what “Black Lives Matter” meant to them.
You’ll see the historic vision of transit operator Robert L. Horton on two 60-foot Metro coaches, which have been fully “wrapped” with his art.
Transit operator Sandra Padilla’s work features images of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Aiyana Jones, who was just 7 years old when she was killed during a police raid in 2010. Their faces will be visible on the outside of 200 Metro coaches.
Family is the focus of the designs created by Juan G. Hood III from Metro’s Facilities division. His work will be part of a poster display across all Metro worksites county-wide.
In each display, Metro’s employee-artists voice their concerns about the current state of equity and social justice in America, and their belief that the fight for equality continues.
We are honored to display these powerful artistic statements throughout Metro and the communities that are part of our regional mobility system. But we acknowledge that it’s just a start — at Metro and in all of America. For us to make things right, we need to fully reconcile what’s gone wrong and what’s still not working.
At Metro, we are reimagining safety, security and fare enforcement. We are reaching out to members of the community, working with them to envision what a safe and welcoming Metro looks like for BIPOC members, and co-creating a system that serves and treats everyone fairly and with dignity. We are developing regular forums through which leadership can listen and learn from the personal truths and experiences of employees.
Confronting systemic racism, and taking the necessary steps to fight it, honors the lives lost. As we remember George, Breonna, and Ahmaud, we need to ensure that they, and so many others—both known and unknown—are celebrated, recognized, and remembered. But we also need to continue working and let our actions be the next step toward reaching Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Beloved Community.”
This is the start of a conversation we look forward to having with everyone in our community.
Terry White is General Manager of King County Metro.
YouTube video link: “Metro knows Black Lives Matter”
Photoshelter resource for media outlets and partners to download high-quality images and video: King County Metro: Black Lives Matter (photoshelter.com)
Media contact: Al Sanders, firstname.lastname@example.org, 206 348 7829