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Renton Mayor Armondo Pavone opened the June 17 meeting with a Juneteenth Proclamation, which Renton Chamber of Commerce Chair Danielle Smith accepted.

Pavone’s proclamation recognized that 156 years have passed since the end of slavery, yet Renton’s commitment to eradicating the remnants of discriminatory systems and ensuring justice for all remains steadfast. He additionally recognized the legacy of James Shepperson for his courage, which led him to Roslyn, WA, in 1888. Pavone’s proclamation went on to acknowledge the invaluable contributions of African Americans.

Following Pavone’s proclamation, the owner of Cafe de la Loba and Dirty Dawgz gave a speech before accepting the proclamation.

“When I think about what I wanted to say today, I knew I wanted to be brief but impactful and tying together the significance of the past with the timeliness of the present. Juneteenth holds deep significance, represents more than just the end of slavery. It’s a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the unwavering pursuit of freedom. This day reminds us of the immense sacrifices made by generations of African Americans who tirelessly fought for their rights and dignity,” Danielle Smith said. “As we contemplate the importance of Juneteenth, we recognize that our journey toward equity is ongoing. We are faced with the painful legacy of slavery and systemic racism that continues to influence our society, yet today, we affirm our commitment to addressing justice and striving for a just and fair future for everyone. Juneteenth prompts us to acknowledge the contributions of African Americans to our nation’s culture, economy, and identity. Their enduring legacy enriches our society and serves as an inspiration to create a more inclusive and prosperous nation.”

Smith followed, recounting the first day she opened her business in Renton on June 19, 2021. She said that day, she joined the Renton Juneteenth celebration at the Chamber of Commerce and saw the community gathered together, uplifting African Americans, art, culture, and community. She said that was when she knew she wanted to plant her roots in Renton. Smith ended her speech by reciting the poem, “And Still I Rise,” by Maya Angelou.

In other council news

• The council held a public hearing on the proposed reallocation of 2023 Community Development Block Grant Funds and Community Development Block Grant — Coronavirus Round 3 Funds. According to Renton Human Services Coordinator Lori Fleming, these are federal funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Fleming said the funds must be used to serve low- and moderate-income people. Fleming said they want to put the 2024 CDBG funds toward a roof replacement for the Renton Senior Center and reallocate unused CDBG-CV3 funds for HVAC at the senior center. She said the HVAC system would still be used for COVID-19 related endeavors because it improves air filtration in the building. She said they will begin project design in the fall and construction next year.

• The administration report announced that the free Summer Meals Program, provided by the Renton School District, started Monday, June 24, and runs through Aug. 16 at several Renton parks. Snacks, lunch, and activities are available for children ages 1 to 18. For more information on site locations and hours, go to rentonwa.gov/summermeals or contact Teresa Nishi at tnishi@rentonwa.gov.

• Public Works Maintenance Services requested authorization to purchase a Caterpillar Compact Track Loader 265 in the amount of $173,341.97.

• Renton Police Department partnered with the City of Kent to use Gladiator Forensic Services. The Renton PD is utilizing the City of Kent’s server for the service, which allows the department to track where a phone is after receiving a warrant to do so.