Community Post

A Neighbor’s Open Letter of Support for the More4Mann Coalition

As neighbors we’ve noticed with curiosity the increased activity at the Horace Mann School over the past year. When we attended the August 8 public meeting at the school we were thrilled to learn that it has been transformed by community members to create a vibrant hub and resource with many types of programs for people calling it a community home. We feel deeply honored to bear witness and involve ourselves in a community connected to the powerful history of black organizing in the Central Area. We wholeheartedly back the More4Mann’s vision and actions that look forward to a future where children of African heritage are thriving and have equity in all realms. We urge you to support this too.

As white homeowners in the Central Area we know we are implicated in a racist system that devalues, dehumanizes and displaces children of African heritage and their communities.  We also know that we have a responsibility to stand up against deepening of racial disparities that result in so many youth denied their enormous potential and funneled into the criminal justice system. It is the alleviation of these disparities around which the strong community space has formed at 24th and Cherry. The Seattle Public Schools have failed communities of color and specifically young people of African heritage, as the people at the community meeting at Horace Mann on August 8 so clearly and eloquently stated. We need no more proof that a different tack must be taken.

As white people and as newcomers to the Central Area, we’re aware of our role in gentrification. On top of the history of redlining, the painful last few decades of working class black families being pushed out and priced out of this neighborhood has had untold impact. Henry W. McGee, Jr., a Seattle University Professor of Law and Central District resident writes that “In 1990, there were nearly three times as many black as white residents in the area, but by 2000, the number of white residents surpassed the number of blacks for the first time in 30 years.” It is difficult to imagine what it would feel like to witness our neighborhood change in this fashion because we never have had to. We feel strongly the work being done at Horace Mann is a vital step towards a stronger, healthier and safer neighborhood for all people, including us.

We support the right of self-determination for communities, to foster healthy families and spaces that are relevant to all children of any race, culture or religion.  We have seen these values born out in the afro-centric community programming in the Horace Mann building. Seattle has surplus creativity and resources to contribute to the success of all the participating students and families at Horace Mann and we expect Seattle Public Schools to join this effort and encourage our neighbors to as well.


Caitlin and Aaron

8 thoughts on “A Neighbor’s Open Letter of Support for the More4Mann Coalition

  1. Well said! I’ve seen first hand the disparity and disconnect of youth of color to both school and the community in the 23 years I’ve lived and raised my (now adult) children in the Central District. I believe there is a way for all of us to live, work, play, grow and learn together; with tolerance, empathy and loving and respecting one another. Like the couple who wrote this post, the first step is acknowledging and accepting the problem. Thank you, Caitlin and Aaron!
    (Please note: I write this as an individual, not as Chair of EastPAC).
    Stephanie Tschida

  2. I fully support paragraphs 1 and 2. Paragraphs 3 and 4 are a devisive and racially biased bunch of unneccessary bs. Repeat. I support m4m and paragraphs 1 2.

    The added garbage clouds the air with elitist white liberal nonsense. Further, the hood I grew up in turned from 88% white 10% japanese to 40% black 20% mexican 20% other asian. 19%white 1% japanese fron 1970 to 2000. So – all kinds of pwople eexperience radical cultural change. Stop playing to unfortunate disabling stereotypes and simply be supportive of people taking on challenges such as at m4m.

    Let it happen without your white centric guilt blanket pacifier.

  3. I’ve never seen white middle class guilt displayed so wonderfully. Would be that your body not be counted in the census and add to those terrible statistics or that you might be considered an honorary person of color!

    Please tell us your story of pushing out a black family and get it off your chest.

  4. Wow. Just wow. You must be navel gazing 20-somethings. I think capital hill is really more your speed.

  5. “Pushed out”. “Painful”.

    Have you considered that the working class folks described might have bought nice homes in the burbs and now enjoy safety and good schools away from entrenched violent communities.

  6. My townhouse displaced an ancient boarded up townhouse where it is reported that homeless native americans had camped on and off for many decades. Seems such a terrible thing to take the land a second time. Now the land values on Lane are almost doubled. There was crack houses/apartments at the lower end of 1600 – one is now boarded up, the other is now rented to mexicans I think. The demographic and the type of culture is very different on Lane street in the past 10 years for sure. Half the street looks brand new. The north half is still very bad shape. One guy added a shabby looking new mother in law unit and has proclaimed himself (seriously) a “slum lord” and it really looks as though he means it. There is a divided right down the middle of Lane street between old and new. I often wonder what they think looking over at us. I often thing how I wish they could do some maintenance so things looked tidy at least. I like the one old asian guy that mows his lawn with hand scissors, it is impressive, especially compared to the rest of the do nothings. Things are changing for certain. I wonder where the Natives and the dealers and prostitutes went to. Should we have left this place for them? I’ll probably move on to Portland this summer and new folks will come in that don’t know the history. Is there some kind of requirement we should put on new buyers – like a micro local history test? I would like to pass on my knowledge.

  7. Beautiful letter, Caitlin. Thanks for writing this and sharing this with others in our neighborhood.