Viewing entries tagged
central district

1st Class Education at First Place Schools, Inc.

1st Class Education at First Place Schools, Inc.

We must establish all over the country schools of our own to train our own children to become scientists, to become mathematicians... We intend to use the tools of education to help raise our people to an unprecedented level of excellence and self-respect through their own efforts.
— Malcolm X

The quote above, although given in 1964, has not become irrelevant. It is no secret that the American public school system is not a nurturing or empowering space for Black students. From biased and misleading textbooks to disproportionate disciplinary actions, the struggle our youth suffer during their school years becomes a microcosm of the larger society they will face.

Educators and community members all around the country have been working to counter the indoctrination and hindrance our youth endure by removing them from these unreceptive environments. In line with this plan of action, institutions like Seattle’s own, First Place, are necessary parts for the progression of our community.

First Place is a private, education-focused nonprofit that serves children and their families from a holistic, culturally relevant perspective. Not only do they provide personalized instruction, on-site counseling, and small class sizes for students; they offer tuition assistance, housing, and counseling services to qualifying families. First Place is a shining example of how our schools can be institutions of empowerment that are led for and by our own efforts. Started in 1989 by educators and social workers who noticed that homeless children were not attending school, the organization became one of four sites in the state to serve that population. They currently offer pre-kindergarten through first grade curriculum from their facility located in the heart of the Central District.

For more information of First Place Schools, Inc. visit their website.

Keeping the Unity in Community

Keeping the Unity in Community

Despite the many obstacles in place against it, community has remained an important part of Black culture. Seattle’s Black community transformed the 12 acres of land once belonging to William Grose, as a result of exclusionary and discriminatory policies, into a haven of cultural pride known as the Central District. However, much like many other cities around the US, these inhabitants eventually found themselves faced with displacement. With so many people being priced out of the neighborhood, the community and its rich history of triumph and innovation began to fade.

From this arose Africatown Central District Preservation & Development Coalition. Their work has been purposed to interrupt the erasure of Blackness from the CD by highlighting the history and monuments that hide in plain sight on its streets. For the many Black people who have moved to the city and are looking for community, it serves as a compass by which they can find home. Its comprehensive website bridges the gap between events and attendees, Black businesses and consumers, community and people. Most importantly, the coalition is championing to reinstate ownership of land and other assets back into the Black community. They have plans to acquire the Liberty Bank property on 23rd & Union following its development.

With the guided tours, acquisitions, and comprehensive online platform, Africatown Central District Preservation & Development Coalition is keeping the soul of Seattle in the Central District for the generations to come.

To find out more about the work being done and resources available, visit their website.

An Open Letter to the Black Community in the CD and Beyond

An Open Letter to the Black Community in the CD and Beyond

20% is not 0!

Dear Black Community,

           Over the past weekend the Seattle Times dedicated a lot of space to proclaim  “Seattle is losing its blackness” and “The Central District’s African-American Community is Moving Away”.

Black Community, ask yourself WHY would they do that!? 

Why would they want to drop the hint that “… Kent, where many Black Seattle households have resettled in recent decades, had become the “new” CD”? Could it be that nothing was done to mitigate the displacement of the historic Black residents from the CD, as is now being done for other ethnic communities in South Seattle and Chinatown/ID/Little Saigon? Or, could it be that there are some Black leaders still in the CD asking for that investment now and they think it’s too costly? Or, could it be that they have already promised the Central District to others? 

 

            All ethnic communities, including the majority community, understand the importance of a “sense of place.”  It is vital to a child’s sense of self-worth and self-value. A connection to a “place” where a person went to school, played on the playground, went to church, cried, ate, and danced is what grounds the spirit and soul of an individual. In fact, there are white educational institutions teaching young white leaders the importance of a “sense of place.”  The Central District is the historic Black Community in Seattle.  If we, as a people, let that die, our children will suffer even more. 

 

Let’s focus instead on hope.  Focus on the end of each article that spoke of:

  • A successful campaign that ended in the establishment of the Historical Central Area Arts & Culture District (HCAACD);
  • The words of Allen-Carston, “If we don’t take care of us, nobody is.”
  • Wyking Garrett and the efforts of Africatown to bringing economic and social justice to the CD;
  • The Black fathers determined to fight for their children. 
  • Focus most of all, to the words of our elder, Pastor Pat Wright who said, “I’m willing to fight for it, even at 72...Until the day comes that I can’t, I’ll still be out there fighting.” 

We stand with these community members and groups to stop the bleeding of our people from their historic community:  The CD.  We can heal the wound if we work together.  United, we are a powerful force!  Let’s keep our home--our “sense of place!”