Black Land Ownership
When we say equity, we mean ownership. Thriving Black communities require control and agency over land. We prioritize Black land acquisition as a foundational pillar to our work.
Seattle, Martin Luther King Jr. County has historically been the base for the vast majority of Washington State’s Black population. Decades of racist covenants and anti-Black racial hostility narrowed places where the Black community could call home. In spite of such hostile and adverse circumstances, Blacks in Washington created vibrant communities in the spaces afforded, particularly in the Central District of Seattle and South Seattle.
As demand for land grows at an unprecedented pace, the rapid gentrification and exclusion of Blacks from Seattle is important not merely due to the dismantling of historical Black cultural and societal spaces, but also due to the socio-economic, health, wealth, and education implications resulting from Blacks being pushed out of the State’s largest economic and cultural engine.
Below is a list of active Black land acquisition campaigns. Read, engage and tap-in below to support immediate opportunities to impact the material conditions of Black peoples locally, right now.
In 2020, Black community mobilized tremendous community support to halt the predatory development of the Keiro site — nearly a full block in the heart of the Central District. Building on the legacy of the Liberty Bank Building, Africatown Community Land Trust is moving forward to purchase the building with plans to develop Black community-led and -centered affordable housing and wraparound and direct services! Read more and take action in support of this historic model below.
William Grose Center for Cultural Innovation & Enterprise
After seven years of Black community advocacy, the William Grose Center for Cultural Innovation and Enterprise is finally moving forward! The soon-to-be William Grose Center reflects a deep history of local Black activism to reclaim the property and other parcels of unused public land in the region. Read on to learn more and support this work.
Red Black & Green Barn Ranch
Nurturing Roots Farm is leading a collaborative effort to transform ~40 acres of vacant land into a Black-led farming, healing space, and foundation for youth empowerment. Organizing and working tirelessly with community partners for over a year, this incredible cause has gained thousands upon thousands of community allies in support. Read more and support this effort here.
Family Empowerment Center
Rising housing costs and predatory development have forced East African and other Black immigrant groups further and further south, outside of Seattle. Read on to support EACS in building the Family Empowerment Center to help create permanence and agency for East African refugee and immigrant youth and families in Othello!
The Africatown Plaza project symbolizes the collective mobilization of the Black community saying “No” to the development of a whole block of extreme cultural importance in the Central District. While this project has been recognized nationally and internationally for its importance, it has received far too little state support. Help make this iconic project viable after lying dormant all of these years by tapping-in below.
The Petah Village
The Petah Village project pilots an outdoor preschool located on 1.4 acres of green space, and a 2700 square-foot facility to serve 81 children. The expansion of Petah Villages serves as a pro-Black programmatic service within a continuum of care to address systemic inequitable barriers for Black, Brown and Indigenous communities toward accessible, high-quality early childhood education, housing stability, and economic, workforce development services. Click to learn more and support.
Elizabeth Family Homes
In the midst of a citywide affordable housing crisis, Catholic Housing Services and Equity Alliance of Washington, in partnership with the Rainier Beach Action Coalition (RBAC) seek to develop the community-oriented Elizabeth Thomas Homes Project in Rainier Beach.
Spearheaded by The Ethiopian Community in Seattle (ECS), The Ethiopian Village Project will provide many critical services including after school programing, senior meal programs, health workshops, social services, summer camps, coding training, cultural immersion courses and more along with 90 units of affordable housing for seniors in South Seattle. Learn more and support.
City will transfer Central District properties to Black community ownership
The Seattle City Council voted unanimously Monday to transfer two long-sought Central District properties back to the Black community after years of hope and promises including pledges from Mayor Jenny Durkan this summer as Black Lives Matter movement demonstrations grew in Seattle.