The Mayor and Seattle City Council recently announced the initial 13 appointees selected to serve on the City of Seattle’s new Community Involvement Commission (CIC). The CIC will ultimately be comprised of 16 equity champions who will work to ensure that our City departments are creating and implementing equitable engagement strategies that lead to more relevant and impactful public participation. They will also provide feedback on the development of City departments’ community involvement plans. All the appointments are subject to City Council confirmation.
Mayoral Appointee: At-large Member
Bereket Kiros is the editor of the Ethiopian Observer. He holds an MBA from the University of Phoenix and an Environmental Science degree from the University of Washington Bothell. He worked at Seattle Center for 13 years as a lead and administrative assistant and was a team member for the advancement of Race and Social Justice. He is also a board member of Coalition of Immigrants, Refugees and Communities of Color (CIRCC). Bereket has spent almost 20 years working to build bridges between the City and its immigrant and refugee populations, and empowering those communities through candidate forums, voter registration, and rights trainings.
What inspired you to serve on the Community Involvement Commission?
My own personal experience, both in professional life and community involvement. I realized that one of the presumptions of a well-functioning, viable democracy is that citizens are well-informed about community issues. They contribute to work around those community issues and their quality of life is improved as a result of that involvement. Developing good citizens rests on becoming involved in civic matters and the capacity to act efficaciously. As a Board member of Coalition of Immigrants, Refugees and Communities of Color (CIRCC), I am dedicated to building informed, engaged, and equitable communities.
We’ve taken to calling our Community Involvement Commissioners “EQUITY CHAMPIONS!” Do you accept this superhero moniker and what does it mean to you personally?
It is premature to call Community Involvement Commissioners “EQUITY CHAMPIONS!” but it will remind us of the responsibility we are shouldered with.
What is your unique real-life superpower?
It is my optimistic view and willingness to learn new ideas that give me strength to achieve my goals. I believe partnering with other organizations and communities is a necessity. It is time and resource demanding but that challenge becomes an asset as we learn and find common solutions for all stakeholders. This all requires a unique talent balancing family and personal conviction.
What do you hope the Community Involvement Commission will bring to the City?
I believe it will be a good addition to the City, providing a voice for ordinary citizens, ways they can contribute, and a more detailed understanding of issues such as homelessness, environmental issues, illiteracy, juvenile delinquency, and health care disparities.
Which local organization or person do you consider to be a true superhero and why?
Coalition of Immigrants, Refugees and Communities of Color (CIRCC) has representation and members from East African, Latino, Southeast Asian, Asian, and other communities of color in Washington State. They all work to address pressing issues or concerns through policy impact, candidate’s forums, and community mobilization.
Learn more about the Community Involvement Commission at seattle.gov/neighborhoods/community-involvement-commission.