The African American Leadership Forum (AALF) is a movement of African American leaders and stewards in Seattle, committed to the revitalization and sustainability of vibrant Black/African American/African descent, Latinx/Indigenous, and American Indian/Alaska Native/Indigenous communities (collectively hereafter: The Community). We are united in the belief that we can do more together than separately. We recognize that in order to achieve enduring, positive, change in our communities we need a truly transformative agenda; one that is exciting and fresh; one that challenges the status quo and changes the game. AALF has a 10 year history of serving The Community which has been harmed by the criminal legal system and currently works to implement trauma intervention strategies.
AALF believes that The Community we serve is comprised of natural leaders, creative, resilient, imbued with natural talent, adaptable, innovative, and are activists. They are the future full of possibility, genius, and potential. Unfortunately, that brilliance is often systematically dimmed and derailed by structural and institutional racism based on the black and/or brown body in which The Community member navigates the world. The self-expression of young people in The Community are silenced in the classroom and is mislabeled as “acting out.” Bias influenced decision making by teachers, administrators, law enforcement officers, court personnel, and healthcare providers who lack a cultural connection and authentic relationship to them and/or their families leads to disproportionate disciplinary actions, ultimately resulting in suspension or expulsion, biased and inaccurate mental health assessments, racial profiling, violence, broken families, and economic frustrations. The educational push-out specifically,
promotes increased exposure to criminal activity, human trafficking, drug use, addiction,
unplanned pregnancy, violence, imprisonment, homelessness, low self-esteem, and uncertainty in their own identities and ability to succeed in life. According to a report AALF commissioned, “Creating an Equitable Future in Washington State,” (2015), “Of every 10 students in Washington state public schools, four are of color, yet just one of every 10 teachers is of color.” These systems set our young people up to question their own worthiness of a life where they can thrive.
AALF is on a mission to change these outcomes.