Stepping into 2018 with 2017 in the rear view it’s only right that we have a review before the preview!
We enter Black History Month knowing that the greatest way that we can honor history is to make our history count by building on the positive legacies that were established by those who came before us.
In the midst of all the madness of 2017, we witnessed the fruits of years of work focused on securing land to preserve and develop our community beginning to come into reality.
The struggle for land
Africatown continues to maintain a primary focus on holding ground, gaining ground and breaking ground. To that end, on Juneteenth 2017 we celebrated the Liberty Bank Building groundbreaking with an amazing community ceremony. The unique partnership between Capitol Hill Housing, Byrd Barr Place (Formerly Centerstone/CAMP) & Black Community Impact Alliance the project brings 115 affordable housing units and commercial space and other opportunities to mitigate the displacement of Black community and identity honoring the legacy of Liberty Bank established in 1968.
Community benefits on the Liberty Bank Building include:
Commissioning 8 African American artists to tell the story of Liberty Bank and the community that used the bank.
Nearly four million dollars in subcontracts to African American owned businesses,
Commercial space to continue the legacy of Black entrepreneurship that flourished in the Central District.
Prioritizing our community that has been displaced or at risk of displacement
Lastly we will need your help to make sure every corner of our community that is now spread out over King & Pierce county get the message about affordable housing opportunities.
The next big news is that Africatown Community Land Trust was able to successfully gain ground, securing 20% of the Midtown Center block to develop Africatown Plaza, partnering with Capitol Hill Housing to bring their development expertise to the project and build on the collaboration started across the street at the Liberty Bank Building. In addition to affordable rental housing, we are working hard to have affordable homeownership town home units on the site as well. We are working with Homestead Community Land Trust on this and other sites in the community to bring much needed affordable ownership to moderate and lower income working individuals and families who are being priced out of Seattle.
Africatown Community Land Trust is also working with the private developer Lake Union Partners who purchased the property and owns the northern parcel of to ensure that the entire block brings the legacy of the Black community into the future through ownership, contracting opportunities to build and commercial space for small locally owned businesses in the new development.
Building on the Imagine Africatown initiative to gather community aspirations, desires and visions for the future, we continue to engage our community through Africatown Design Ciphers to help design a building that reflects our culture and influence.
It has been said, “if you have no businesses in a community then you have no business in the community”. Black Dot was founded in 2015 to nurture the entrepreneurial and creative spirit of the community and pilot content and activities envisioned to reside permanently in
For 2017, Black Dot set out to help launch and grow 100 Black businesses and despite challenges with the previous owner of Black Dot’s causing a relocation, we made significant progress in assisting seventy-five businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs.
Through programs including MasterMind Mondays, Artrepreneurs, and Growth Marketing Lab, Black Dot provides supportive community, technical assistance and mentoring as well as help accessing funding by partnering with the Seattle Office of Economic Development, Mercy Corps and Business Impact NW.
The Growth Marketing Lab featured experts from Glowforge, Add3 Agency and Madrona Capital providing our entrepreneurs like Akua Kariamu – http://www.affirmsoul.com, Abiola Akkani – Yoga by Biola and serial entrepreneur Cameron Sparks – Deadstock, with the same strategies and techniques used to acquire customers, scale growth and drive revenue at major companies and successful startups.
Black Dot also partnered with Amazon Black Employees Network train entrepreneurs to sell on Amazon and Office of Arts & Culture to to host a workshop with the legendary Xenobia Bailey.
Focusing on individual financial literacy the Black Money Talk Meetup featured presenters including experienced wealth strategist MichaelJohn Green and Carnisha Rodgers founder of Something Different Accounting. As community interest Bitcoin grew, we hosted Cryptocurrency 101 Bootcamps featuring Evan Poncelet, to make sure our community is plugged in to emerging technologies and the economic opportunities within.
Education & Youth: Sparking The Minds That Will Change The World
Africatown Center for Education & Innovation continues to provide a home for Umoja PEACE Center youth programs. We continued to provide STEAM programing including our Young Geniuses Code Lab and Visual Design Lab.
With support of dedicated community members and support from Seattle University we were able to launch the Umoja Academy as an African centered summer gains program for our young scholars age 5-12. Youth learned literacy
The 3rd annual Africatown Doctor for A Day program with UW SNMA and featured Dr. Benjamin Danielson who is working hard to keep the legacy of Odessa Brown rooted in the Central District. The school year ended with the second Annual Seattle-King County Black Graduation honoring our young people making the step to the next phase of development.
Community & Culture
In 2017 we launched the Africatown Community Builders Brunches to engage our community with the theme of “Black History Black Futures”, in March we celebrated Black Women with Honoring our Queens and in May we honored Malcolm X Week.
Umoja Fest 2017 continues to grow as a platform for our culture, businesses furthering the legacies of the East Madison Mardi Gras and the Pacific NW Black Community Festival. The Best of Both Worlds fashion show was a highlight.
Additionally, Africatown was happy sponsor, support and participate in events in many enriching and empowering community events including Eritrean Independence Day and Women’s Day celebrations, Ethiopian Community Affordable Housing Launch, Seattle Caribbean Festival, AfroLatino Fest, From The Hood To The Hood, NW African Reunion BBQ, Through The Eyes of Art, Black Wealth Power Summit, and more.
Overall, 2017 was active and productive and we continue to building in 2018. This year look out for the launch of our Africatown Innovation Ecosystem Advisory Group, Africatown Research & Policy Collective, the Africatown Business Network and Africatown Health & Wellness Initiative in addition to building on existing efforts of the Africatown Community Land Trust.
We are looking to partner with many more community members, organizations stakeholders in our community.
If you haven’t already done so be sure to register your business or organization or refer others to AfricatownSeattle.com online directory.
We look forward to seeing you at State of Africatown 2017 Saturday, Feb. 2017!
The 5th annual State of Africatown: Team African American African Diaspora Gathering will be held on Saturday, February 17th, 10am-1pm at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute and will feature presentations on the accomplishments of the last year, as well as vision, opportunities, and challenges facing the African American and African Diaspora community in 2018 and beyond.
Once again, the 2018 event promises to be powerful and inspirational and will include the Elders of Distinction Awards, Showcase of Youth Brilliance and featured presenters including:
Dr. Marcia Tate Arunga – Libations
Tim Lennon – Langston
Elmer Dixon – 50th Anniversary of Seattle Black Panther Party
Andrea Caupain – Byrd Barr Place (formerly Centerstone/C.A.M.P.)
Carol Williams – Historic Central Area Arts & Cultural District
Multi Media Resource & Training Institute – Central District Stories
Sara Zewde — Imagine Africatown: Designing Our Future
Feven Werede – Eritrean Community of Seattle And Vicinity
Dr. Ben Danielson – Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic
Andre Taylor – Not This Time/De-Escalate Washington
First Place Scholars – Showcase of Brilliance
Africatown Youth Ambassadors – State of Education
Chukundi Salisbury – Showing Up For Our Youth
Zam Zam – Voices of Tomorrow
Evelyn Allen – Black Community Impact Alliance
Debrena Jackson-Gandy – Elevate Movement Direct Impact Dollars Initiative
Anthony Stewart – Building Our Innovation Ecosystem
K. Wyking Garrett – State of Africatown
BrandKings and MoPop Museum present the 5th Annual “Through the Eyes of Art” Black History Month Celebration
BrandKings and MoPop Museum proudly present the fifth annual “Through the Eyes of Art,” a special event designed to help foster stronger communities in the Puget Sound region. In recognition of the evening’s theme, “The Tie between Sports & Activism,” the program will include a panel discussion, live performance, the presentation of the Community Servanthood Award, a Poetry Slam and an Art Showcase highlighting paintings by members of the African American community.
The evening will feature a panel discussion centered around the theme of “The Tie between Sports & Activism.” Guest panelists will include: Donald Watts, former University of Washington Basketball Player; Joey Thomas, former Green Bay Packer & current Garfield High School Football Head Coach; Mario Bailey, former University of Washington Wide Receiver and others. “We wanted to pull together a collection of local athletes to have a conversation about what inspires them to act and how athletes can use their platform for good.” Says Draze, event organizer.
In the spirit of celebrating Seattle’s rich sports history, Through the Eyes of Art honors Daryll Hennings and Dan Finkley as the recipients of the 2018 Servanthood Award. For over 20 years this duo has mentored, trained and cultivated some of the Northwest’s greatest basketball talent. From names like Aaron Brooks (Minnesota Timberwolves); DeJounte Murray (San Antonio Spurs); Marvin Williams (Charlotte Bobcats); Peyton Siva (Louisville) and to the hundreds of other young people who will never play in a college or NBA arena. Daryll and Dan’s commitment to youth development is unmatched. Through their belief that youth basketball is about building character and lifelong memories that has turned the Rotary Boys & Girls Club AAU Program into a community gem and nationwide power house.
This year’s event features the Byrd Barr Place Art Exhibit from local painters creating works around the theme. “Every year this event takes a look at a different issue impacting the Black community. Art is a language that everyone understands. This exhibit is going to be nothing short of amazing.” Says event coordinator, Ja’Net Williams. Capping the night off will be live performances by Northwest Tap along with a Poetry Slam featuring some of the region’s top spoken word artists.
Tickets now on sale at MoPop.Org.
Date: Saturday, February 10, 2018
Venue: MoPOP’s Sky Church; 325 5th Avenue N, Seattle, WA 98109
Tickets: $15 general admission ($12 MoPOP members, youth ages 5-17); all ages
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