Seattle is not just made up of ghosts. There are many places that are still around in this city that offer a home for community gatherings, that serve as a backdrop for major moments in Seattleites’ lives, that give the terrain texture and make it livable in a million ways big and small. We repeat: These places are still around. For now. Which is why we teamed up with City Councilmember Lisa Herbold over the summer to host a Residents’ Podium for Seattle Legacy Spaces on August 11.
We asked community organizers and artists to testify on behalf of the spaces they didn’t want to see disappear. We also gathered policy makers, architects, urban planners, and developers, and asked them to be an audience. We wanted to fill the ears of these city-shapers with the voices of that rapidly shifting city.
Voices included a Duwamish leader, a savior of landmarks, a keeper of music mythology, a fixture in the local African American historical scene, and many more. These community leaders and memory-keepers, activists and residents were the new urban development consultants. They spoke on crucial businesses and gathering places that they wanted to stick around, and talked about patterns of change that they thought could make future Seattle more considered and inclusive. It was a powerful exchange.
With the speakers’ permission, we present the audio and transcript of that seminal night. Take it with you. Consider it. If possible, act on it.
The Residents’ Podium was the culmination of Ghosts’ partnership with the BOOM! exhibit at the Center for Architecture and Design. The BOOM! exhibit focused on the four fastest-changing neighborhoods in Seattle—Ballard, the Central District, South Lake Union, and SODO—and curated video installations, community history memorabilia, and quotes from residents that commemorate and interrogate urban change. These documents of flux set the backdrop for our Residents’ Podium.
Speakers (in order of appearance):
- Jaimee Garbacik, author of Gender & Sexuality For Beginners, book editor, curator for Ghosts of Seattle Past
- Lisa Herbold, City Councilmember for Seattle, District 1
- Ken Workman, Great-great-great-great grandson of Chief Seattle, member of Duwamish Tribal Council
- Eugenia Woo, historian, director of preservation services at Historic Seattle
- Yin Yu, community organizer, cofounder of Women of Color Speak Out
- Clark Humphrey, historian, author of the Vanishing Seattle series, cofounder of Invisible Seattle
- Wes Browning, columnist for Real Change
- Stephanie Johnson-Toliver, board member for the Black Heritage Society of Washington State, committee member for the Central Area Arts and Culture District
- Pio DeCano, member of the Filipino American National Historical Society
- Suntonio Bandanaz, community organizer with Hip Hop Congress, 206Zulu, founder of Seattle collective of emcees, DJs, and B-boys known as Alpha P
- Elissa Washuta, author, nonfiction faculty at the Institute of American Indian Arts, advisor for the Department of American Indian Studies at UW
- Dave Holden, legendary singer-songwriter, son of Seattle jazz patriarch Oscar Holden
- Nancy Chang, Executive Director of Reel Grrls, founder of Skate Like A Girl
- Jeff Stevens, Seattle Star journalist, curator of Radical Seattle Remembers
- Ethan Phelps-Goodman, data scientist, civic organizer, artist in charge of Seattle in Progress
- Philip Wohlstetter, artist, author, cofounder of Invisible Seattle