Daniel Beekman, Seattle Times, January 6, 2017
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray on Friday announced aspects of his $250,000 plan to help children from immigrant and refugee families navigate what could be a different environment after President-elect Donald Trump takes office.
Murray promised in November, in the wake of Trump’s election, to set the money aside for students from families with undocumented immigrants.
“The rhetoric and the promises of the incoming administration are a threat to Seattle’s economy and to Seattle’s workers,” Murray said Friday.
The mayor outlined several efforts on which the $250,000 will be spent, including certain services for immigrants of all ages.
Some details are still being worked out, and the Seattle Foundation is asking for private donations to supplement the taxpayer money.
The foundation hopes to raise at least $250,000 and is getting the push started with $25,000 of its own money, spokeswoman Mary Grace Roske said.
Part of the city’s funding will be used to hold multiple community-education forums at Seattle Public Schools buildings and other venues, Murray said.
The forums will cover topics such as the importance of power-of-attorney documents and who to call for help when someone is in danger of being detained by immigration authorities, the mayor said.
Furthermore, the city will provide immigrant-rights training and technical assistance to Seattle Public Schools teachers, counselors and administrators, he said.
Together, those efforts will be called the Family Unity Project and will eat up about half of the city’s $250,000, said Benton Strong, spokesman for the mayor.
Strong said city officials are working closely with Seattle Public Schools officials.
The city will spend some of its remaining funding on counseling and peer-support groups for middle and high school students from immigrant families, Murray said.
Some of the remaining funding will also be used to make sure people of all ages can easily report incidents of hate speech and violence, the mayor said.
The city’s Office of Civil Rights will be responsible for taking the reports via phone, email and a web form that’s not available yet, Strong said.