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
Sonj Basha (Sonja Basha Christopher) is an artist, activist, and community leader. As a Queer Muslim in Seattle, an anti-racist advocate, and feminist writer, Sonj has led empowering workshops in various cities and contributed to groundbreaking policy work in higher education. This past year, they served on a funding panel for gender justice organizations, volunteered to serve LGBTQ refugee and asylum seekers, and spoke alongside city and state officials about decolonizing violent rhetoric and bringing to the center marginalized identities. Rooted here in Seattle, they work professionally in the King County courts as lead bail agent with Pacific Northwest Bail Bonding, the only agency owned and operated by people of color here in Washington. For self-care, you can find them riding motorcycles, practicing yoga, and dancing with deep gratitude.
What inspired you to serve on the Community Involvement Commission?
Our current elected and government spaces are in deep need for voices that have historically been marginalized to be central players in our policy and practices. The time is now for communities that have been disenfranchised to engage in a safe and practical way. Those most in need of radical change deserve to have bridges, seats, and representation.
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?
I cannot quite say I am a champion, but I do have the power of truth speaking to the grave difference of equality, equity, and privilege. I am ready to fly through the sky to answer the calls of Seattle citizens who need the power of our voices and work.
What is your unique real-life superpower?
I am a charmer. My superpower cape glitters with the ability to say real things and present hard facts in a way that engages the villain in power to listen and sit down.
What do you hope the Community Involvement Commission will bring to the City?
I hope that this commission will breathe new life and build new bridges between the neighborhoods that otherwise wouldn’t be heard or seen. I anticipate that all our members have the capacity and ability to engage change and facilitate the empowering of our diverse communities.
Which local organization or person do you consider to be a true superhero and why?
Noor: A collective for Queer and Trans Muslims of Seattle: This is an organization that is a confidential, safe, non-partisan gathering space where all are welcome and none are judged.
Learn more about the Community Involvement Commission at seattle.gov/neighborhoods/community-involvement-commission.