Friday, March 17, 2017

Erasure stops here: March Announcement and History

The short version:

There is a march tomorrow, Saturday march 18 at 5 pm at 23rd and Union  in response to the situation at the Umoja Peace Center.

This is an important way for Friends to show up for racial justice and to increase awareness about Seattle's history of race-based redlining for all the people streaming into Seattle.

Map of Redlining in Seattle
Alright, alright I will add a caption for people who don't detect the Alt Text:
Map of Redlining in Seattle

Here is one video about this history.

Here also is a link to a Seattle Times about related real estate issues.

Here is a statement from the Seattle Black Book Club facebook event
Gentrification must stop here!

 This week the Sherrif's and Seattle Police Department participated in an illegal eviction of long time resident and elder, Omari Tahir-Garrett along with the Umjafest Peace Center from the Midtown Block in the Central District. The comes on the heels of recent attempts by Hugh Bangasser of Bill Gates Sr. firm K&L Gates to switch the locks to Black Dot without legal authority to do so.

 Africatown has received investment and has the opportunity to purchase Midtown property, one of the most underutilized city blocks in the city, for Black ownership and development. However, wealthy developers of Seattle are illegally doing whatever they can to prevent this from happening. We must not let the developers win, we need all good and decent people to show up and help keep our community rooted.

 For too long we've allowed Black bodies to be exploited in this economic system, which was built off of the most extreme form of exploitation of our ancestors. We will not sit idly by and allow this process of abuse to continue to our communities. The Central District is a historically Black neighborhood, and we are demanding inclusive development to keep Black communities rooted in the city.

 While we've received public support and denouncements of the illigal displacement taking place at Midtown from Seattle elected officials, we know this is not enough. We must have a presence in the CD, and put political pressure on the ultra-wealthy developers that believe Black people and communities are disposable. We are calling for a demonstration this Saturday, March 18th, at 5 pm to say that we are not disposable, and that we will no longer stand for the continued abuse of the Black community by the elites of Seattle.


 Come to 23rd and Union this Saturday, 3/18, @ 5 pm. Show up, come out, and spread the word. We need all hands on deck with this one!

 For those that can't join us, please donate what you can, and share this event far and wide.

RantWoman personal comments, uncharacteristically in first person:
The video covers really important history of direct action in Seattle. It touches on Redlining. The CD is historically african american because the rest of the city was closed to people of color, basically. I learned from the video that the UW was one of the first universities in the country to include covenants in real estate sales agreements saying people could never sell to African Americans.

It is vital to lift up this history for all the people new to Seattle. I would love to see this lead to steps that prevent further displacement and make sure there continues to be a place in the new Seattle for people who are part of this important history.

The Times article makes no mention of proposals in another video including community land trust or community partnerships to develop more affordable housing in the area. The article does mention disputes and real estate deals that keep falling through so MAYBE there is opportunity to take steps that prevent displacement AND increase the supply of affordable housing.

I feel personally connected to this story because I lived at two different locations near the Umoja Peace center in the 1990's. It was in the middle of the crack epidemic. When I dod not want co-workers to be frightened I told them I lived in West Madrona. One of my small acts of witness was to refuse to sign an invitation the police department left me,. They wanted me to authorize them to investigate any signs of intrusion without me calling them. I did not really own anything worth stealing: if someone wanted to carry away my way underpowered corporate surplus desktop computer, they deserved the back pain of lugging it around.

More recently, I got a market research call about my interest in having a Metropolitan Market at either 23rd and Union or 23rd and Jackson. I said, not so much. It just seems like one more thing making the area unaffordable. Plus there are two perfectly good Safeways and a number of other stores already in that area. though I do not know what will happen to the Promenade at 23rd and Jackson as that gets redeveloped.

It has been a long time since I caught the #48 bus at 23rd and Union to go to Meeting. Now I catch it earlier in the route and the most interesting religious moments come from an Ethiopian Orthodox church down the block from "my" bus stop. But as a person of faith who strives to live my faith in public engagement, I need to offer some further reflections.

Often while I waited I would watch well-dressed African Americans arrive for services at Mt. Calvary Christian Center  I asked some of them where they lived: many had already moved out of Seattle to places like Renton though they clearly were willing to make the drive back for Sunday church. I have no current information about congregational life or about the work that church does to help steer youth away from crime and drugs.

And talk about ironies: now instead of the Philly Cheese Steak shop, at the corner now there is a legal weed shop. The Philly Cheese Steak shop, an important point of contact for queer people of color has moved further south, closer to where I live now.

But here we are venturing into the realm of calorie hazards, usually reserved for my other blog. There I promise further meditations on appalling foods such as chicharrones! Crisis! WHERE will I send people for chicharrones if Promenade goes away?

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