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King County Metro leaders pledge to 'do better' on race two weeks after employee protest

KING-TV Seattle logo KING-TV Seattle 7/10/2020 Brit Moorer
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Two weeks have passed since King County Metro employees protested against racism at transit job sites. 

The protest stemmed from a June 2 incident involving a statue of a Black person that someone left next to a flag pole and rope at Metro's south base in Tukwila. 

Metro employees held a demonstration three weeks later, telling KING 5 they feared that the incident would get swept under the rug or dismissed, as they felt had been done to previous complaints of racism.

RELATED: King County Metro employees create petition to 'end racism and bigotry' at work

On Thursday, King County Metro's Transit Facilities Director addressed a work environment that some employees have called racist. 

”To the employees at Metro, I say, know that leadership is committed to doing better. We will do better,” said Ade Franklin, transit facilities division director. 

King County Metro says an investigation into the June 2 incident is ongoing, adding that leadership would take deliberate action to address the people directly involved.

”It's an ongoing investigation. We're looking into it further, and that this one incident is really something that has proven to be indicative of a larger problem,” Franklin said.

Franklin says there is a larger problem that he understands personally, as a Black man in leadership. 

”I am in a unique position to both understand that hurt, from my own experience that I can empathize with others and in a position of authority that can help Institute change,” Franklin said. 

Franklin says everyone deserves to feel safe and welcome at work. 

”The first thing we need to do is to listen and to acknowledge that these things have happened. So, one of the things we're doing is, is establishing virtual forums to undertake this,” Franklin said.

Franklin says Metro is working on creating new anti-discrimination posters to replace current ones and distributing them across all job sites and focusing on more diversity training.

It’s a process, Franklin says, that will be done with urgency and respect.

"No, I don't have a timeline. I would say it's already too late,” Franklin said. 

King County Metro initially posted this response after a group of employees held a protest in June. 

RELATED: King County Metro investigates after Black statue found near rope at Tukwila facility

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