By: Terae Grant
The rapid displacement and disenfranchisement of people of color in Seattle, for years has and will continue to be a topic of conversation for those dedicated to preserving the history, past, present and future. During this time, many groups, albeit, funded by the city, have made efforts to engage with members of existing communities that are at the risk of extinction in Seattle. As these efforts continue to prove ineffective and hollow, members of these communities — artist, organizers, and people of color have created committees and groups of their own; no longer asking, but demanding that they can and will have a say and place in this city that’s ever-so changing.
Seattle’s Artist Coalition for Equitable Development (ACED) is composed of local artist, organizers, advocates and activist who are committed to combating gentrification in historical neighborhoods, and focusing on the most vulnerable communities who are facing displacement.
The ACED launched their first “Degentrify & Inspire” campaign. Taking their voices, mics, and talents — showcasing them on-stage in the middle of the Chinatown/ID train station, particularly, outside the offices of Paul Allen and Vulcan Inc.
Along with cultural preservation, ACED also presented five commitments served as a call to action for Paul Allen and Vulcan — including available commercial space and funding for community groups, and affordable housing for artist who make under the average income. Before the performances began, an open letter was read out loud to Paul Allen and Vulcan that expressed ACED’s vision, which, according to their press release, will “not only mitigate the detrimental impact that economic displacement has already had on this heavily gentrified community, but one that will also honor and uplift the living legacy of the historic arts and cultural district.” Lead by its youth, the event consisted of a pop-up news conference and showcase of talent for artist who have directly faced being displaced. It was there that the voiceless, for once, had ample time and opportunity to voice their opinions, experiences, memories of “old Seattle,” and frustrations. Through their words, and sounds, the rain and constant traffic could not contain their message. Performances included locals artists such as Dadabassed, Jerrel Davis, Fantasy A, Sharmaine Tillmon and much more.
The next “Degentrify and Inspire” event is today, September 27, 7pm-12am at the Vermillion and October 5th 6-9PM at Central District Ice Cream. For more information on Seattle ACED, follow their page on Facebook Seattle ACED, Twitter and Instagram @SeattleACED. Reach out to them at SeattleACED@gmail.com