June 28, 2021
Last week, the MIC held a special 90-minute Zoom meeting with about 50 community members to discuss our ongoing strategy to protect jobs, the environment, and an equitable community in the Tideflats. The meeting was open to all MIC members as well as several guests. Our Executive Director Frank Boykin walked through the status of the strategy and areas of special focus and our consultants added their recommendations. Then the floor was opened for comments and questions.
Unfortunately, an hour or so into the meeting one of the guests (not an MIC member) suggested the MIC consider that we “play the race card” in addressing the equity charges of environmental groups that oppose the fossil fuel industry. Most of us heard the comment during the meeting and were shocked, but unfortunately, none of us in attendance spoke up in the moment as we should have. We regret the silence in the moment and simply have no good excuse for it and missed our chance to do the right thing. That was wrong and we pledge to do better.
This is racist language that trivializes the experiences of non-white community members to something as part of a game rather than recognizing race and potentially disparate impacts as being an important part of any community conversation.
As leaders of the MIC, we condemn this racist language, the attitude behind it, and emphasize that it has never had a place, nor will it ever, in our work. In that this remark was made in the spirit of silencing advocates as a strategic endeavor, it is particularly painful. While we may disagree on issues, there is no doubt that our greatest accomplishments will come when we work together with all members of our community.
Again, those of us at the meeting should have spoken up and we did not. The individual who made the comment is receiving direct feedback so that he knows racism and racist language has no place in our organization or meetings. We
commit to learning from this experience and challenging ourselves to be more vocally anti-racist in the future.
Members of the MIC Executive Committee:
Local Government Affairs Manager
Puget Sound Energy
Economic Development Board for Tacoma-Pierce County
Government Affairs Director
Port of Tacoma
Seaport Sound Terminal
President & CEO
Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber
Senior Vice President
Thompson Consulting Group