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Michelle Merriweather

Michelle Merriweather is President and CEO of the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle. Merriweather is an engaged community servant serving on several boards and commissions including the Downtown Seattle Association, Alliance for Education, Washington State Women’s Commission, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated Seattle Alumnae Chapter, Multicare Foundation, and Progress Pushers, a grassroots nonprofit disrupting the school to prison pipeline for our young people.

Merriweather has lived a life of service after graduating from Xavier University of Louisiana, a historically black college, volunteering with the National Urban League of Young Professionals, and the Los Angeles Urban League.  At ULMS, Merriweather has overseen a major focus and emphasis on supporting people exiting incarceration and experiencing homelessness.

“We are tired of seeing this revolving door in and out of prison for Black men, women, and young people disproportionately,” says Merriweather. “We’re on a path of providing secure work and housing opportunities as well as credible messengers and mentors to prevent them from going in, and  helping them connect to career and housing when they come out.”

“Our current drug use laws can ruin lives based on a single mistake. Possession of even a small amount of drugs for personal use can land someone in jail, saddling them with a lifelong record that interferes with getting a job, housing, or student loans. Substance use disorder recovery is hard enough as it is, but incarceration makes it more difficult, and disproportionately impacts Black, Brown and Indigenous, people in Washington.”

“Treatment instead of jail can’t just benefit young white kids in suburbs who get a slap on the wrist and taken home while our Black boys get taken to jail. We must ensure that reforming this system supports everybody and makes it possible for our Black and Brown boys and girls to get another chance.”