Five residents have a conversation about being Black in Edmonds

Darnesha Weary, middle left, speaks as the rest of the group listens. These pictured, clockwise from upper left: Alicia Crank, Donnie Griffin, Tracy Cobbin, Richard Taylor and Weary.

Edmonds resident Alicia Crank brought a group of Black residents together Saturday afternoon to have a frank conversation about being Black in Edmonds.

The online discussion — broadcast to hundreds via Zoom and Facebook Live — was meant to be a proactive conversation among the five, where “hopefully others will listen and have a takeaway,” Crank said. “We don’t want this to be about answering other people’s questions but talking about what it is we feel like we need to talk about.”

The participants, in addition to Crank, were Donnie Griffin, a retired telecommunications and human services executive who serves on the Edmonds Diversity Commission and Edmonds Center for the Arts Board; Tracy Cobbin, a real estate broker and long-time Edmonds Chamber of Commerce ambassador; Dar’Nesha Weary, a business owner and racial equity consultant; and Richard Taylor, a speaker, author and consultant.

Crank, a nonprofit development officer and business consultant who serves on the Edmonds Planning board and as vice chair of the Snohomish County Airport Commission, started out by asking each participant to share in one word how it has felt to be Black in Edmonds over the past six months. That time frame was chosen because it was the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, “because everything kind of changed for us.” She started the exercise, using the word “frustrated.” She described watching “the best of Edmonds come out” as the pandemic unfolded, with individuals and small businesses collaborating to help each other. “It was fun to see and it really restored my faith: This is why I live here. I see all the good things that are here. I see the good people and the good intentions.” But then, “there is the other end of the spectrum as time has passed,” she said, “to hear and see a vocal minority who have said very hurtful things and done very hurtful things towards members of our (Black) community,” with Black residents being “somehow ostracized from weighing in on how these things are affecting us.”

Summarized Crank: “I’ve seen good and I’ve seen not so good, and I’m not sure which one is going to win.”

Taylor, a Chicago native who has lived in Edmonds for a year, is an author, motivational speaker and mental health advocate. His word to describe his experience was “complicated.” During the COVID lockdown, he began running five to seven miles each day in his neighborhood to stay in shape, and he noticed “certain moments of biases, you get people that look at you funny, you get the clutching and the clenching of the body and the purse when you’re running past them.” And while “we have some great police in Edmonds,” Taylor said, he noticed that he was the only athlete that seemed to draw “a slow trek” of police attention as he was running. “It’s not that it was a surprise but it’s like wow, this is my neighborhood, this is my community, it’s supposed to be my safe haven like everybody else.”

And then there were neighbors who looked at him suspiciously, wondering if he belonged or could afford to live here. “It caused this piece of complication for me, confusion,” Taylor said.  However, during recent racial tensions, he pointed out that “there have been neighbors who have stepped up and said ‘hey, I see you,’ and not allowing biases to be their leading motivation but rather to take the time to be their brother’s or their sister’s keeper.”

“I remain optimistic, cautiously optimistic, but optimistic nonetheless,” Taylor added.

Cobbin, a Los Angeles native who moved to Edmonds in 2007, is a broker with Century 21 North Homes Realty. He said a word that defines being Black in Edmonds during the past six months would be “caring,” noting that while bicycling around Edmonds to stay in shape during the pandemic, he noticed that “people were going out of their way to say hello and good morning.”

For Weary, who owns Black Coffee Northwest and is CEO of Let’s Do Work Racial Equity Consultants, the word is “disappointed.” It stems from an experience in February 2018 when her two teen children were taking pictures for a school project in the parking lot outside the Jack in the Box, located next door to Harvey’s Lounge on Highway 99 in Edmonds. When her son discovered later that his wallet was missing and returned to look for it, a woman appeared outside Harvey’s holding a baseball bat, telling Weary’s children that “we want you n-word off the property.”

In that moment people saw her 18-year-old son — a student athlete headed for college –“as a threat just because he was Black,” she said.

A 1997 Meadowdale High graduate who grew up in the area, Weary noted that she and her husband were “doing all the right things. We have a home. We’re married. We’re pastors’ kids, we work hard.” But when the incident occurred at Harveys, “the safety factor that we had was gone.”

“We know we’re Black in Edmonds,” she continued. “We’ve had the talk with our son. He is not allowed to wear a hoodie. Period. Ever.” He is also not allowed to drive down the street playing his music loud or to be out late on the Edmonds waterfront, where teens often gather. “We played the role of being the good Black people, the good Black neighbors to be safe, but none of that mattered in that moment.”

Following an investigation, Edmonds police arrested a 45-year-old female employee of Harvey’s Lounge on charges of malicious harassment in connection with the racially motivated threats. But after review, the Snohomish County Prosecutor’s Office declined to file charges in the case, stating there were insufficient facts.

“To this day there are people in Edmonds that still question me and discount my story and try to paint me as some crazy liar,” Weary said. “And so that’s very disappointing for me. And it’s still disappointing that every day when these stories pop up of racist incidents that when I go to Edmonds Moms (Facebook group) or My Edmonds News or Edmonds Beacon, the Black voice is still continuously being silenced and shut up. And we’re still being asked to prove it. And I’m just here to tell that I’m not proving anything to anyone else anymore. If you don’t believe me, that’s your bad. I constantly am disappointed in the city of Edmonds because of the narrative that happens in those spaces.”

Griffin, who relocated to Edmonds nearly 10 years ago to be closer to his grandchildren, said he is on a mission “to create a community free of hatred, injustice and poverty in South Snohomish County.” To advance that effort, for the past two years he has sponsored an annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration at the Edmonds Center for the Arts.

Griffin said he would use two words, hyphenated, to describe his experience being Black in Edmonds: “sucker-punch.” As an example, he cited the time he was dining at an Edmonds restaurant and had ordered an Italian sausage pizza. The owner brought him a chicken pizza, and when Griffin noted the error, the owner replied: “Well, all the Black guys who come in here eat chicken pizza.”

“Those kind of moments happen,” Griffin added.

Following up on Weary’s admonition that her teen son never wear a hooded sweatshirt, Griffin described getting dressed late one night so he could buy some medicine at a nearby pharmacy for his sick wife. “I wasn’t thinking,” he said. “As Black people we have to think what we wear when we go shopping.” He threw on a hoodie, old jeans and old shoes and was surprised when three store employees came out of a back room “and just decided they would have to hang around in my area” — until he realized what he was wearing.

Griffin also talked about the importance of addressing systemic racism, stating he believes it was wrong for Acting Edmonds Police Chief Jim Lawless to write a letter questioning the process the Edmonds School Board followed in deciding to remove the police officer from Edmonds-Woodway High School. “It says that he didn’t understand systemic racism,” Griffin said. “These are the things we have to watch because white people aren’t watching.”

“We have all these comments lately about wanting to support the Black community in Edmonds. They don’t know the Black community in Edmonds,” Griffin added. “They don’t know what’s hurting. They don’t know our pain.”

Crank talked about her frustration that Black residents have to regularly remind non-Black community members that Black voices need to be included in issues that directly impact them. “Why must we always be the ones that have to say, ‘Hi — can we come in, can we weigh in on this topic that has to directly deal with us?”

“Unfortunately I think that is the cross we have to bear,” Griffin replied, noting that the Black population of Edmonds and Esperance could “fit into the auditorium of the ECA and still have some seats left over.”

“We’ve got to be the ones who raise a little hell,” Griffin added. “We gotta shake it up.”

Griffin and Cobbin both stressed the importance of ensuring that diverse voices are engaged, with meetings scheduled in neighborhoods and resources being spread beyond the Bowl — instead of expecting members of the city’s most diverse communities — like those along the Highway 99 corridor — to come downtown.

Weary pointed out there’s a reason why Edmonds is mostly a white community. “There were laws and convenants in place to make sure Black people could not buy houses in these neighborhoods, that Black people could not even be in the city of Edmonds,” she said.

Taylor described the importance of developing relationships, pointing to the times on Facebook when people comment on a particular good deed and state, “This is what makes Edmonds a great place.”

“One of the things I would say to those that are listening — in this whole conversation of what we say Edmonds is, a lot of that has to be relational,” he said. “Challenging your own biases, whether you know me or not, there’s no need for you to be afraid of what you see. There’s no need to act like you don’t see me. Take the time to say hello. That’s what it’s about.It’s time to be all of those great things in action.

“For me love does three things: Love listens. Love learns and love empathizes. We need to take a greater moment to bring voices in if we are going to be truly unified and truly be a community the way we say we are,” Taylor concluded

Griffin acknowledged the importance of love, noting that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. talked the importance of establishing a Beloved Community. But, he added, “it’s like being on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. (Late civil rights activist and U.S. Rep.) John Lewis got the crap beat out of him, got his head cracked. Love can take your life. Love can hurt you, can give you scars. It’s a risk.”

Griffin talked about the time he sat down in front of Cafe Louvre in downtown Edmonds with Black friends and noticed people slowing down in their cars, walking slowly and staring. “But I went out and did that on purpose. Because I need to be visible. I need them to see it. I need them to know that I live here.”

“I’m noticing that people tend to think that everybody’s carrying the same lived experience that they are being in this nice space (in Edmonds), and the reality is that that’s not the case,” Taylor said. “That’s not to say that you are wrong for your experience or I want you to feel bad for it, it’s simply to say think past yourself and understand that somebody else didn’t see it or have it like this and because of that this is why we need to be able to embrace these experiences and from that learn our differences, understand our differences and prayerfully work together so that we can be a better community and make this a better place for everybody around.”

The entire discussion was recorded via Facebook Live and you can watch it here.

— By Teresa Wippel

 

 

60 Replies to “Five residents have a conversation about being Black in Edmonds”

  1. Ill get in trouble for sharing personal stuff. Cringe. My wife was referred as a sassy black lady/mom by a guy who sold us a car at Campbell VW. She’s not sassy, and we almost walked out, even after we filled out all the paperwork. We talked a out it. We mutually realized that ignorant people need work and feed their kids just like the rest of us. He works there, and so what? We’re more upset that the lift tailgate broke after 5k miles. The last thing I wanna do is get on zoom and lament society.

    I play pick-up soccer. Last year I saw 7 very black immigrants playing. They needed an 8th so I joined. The oldest guy was happy to have the help on his team. Two of the other guys though were talking to him in a language/accent I didnt understand. The word “no blanc” was clear to me a couple times. The older man just smiled and played, ignoring them. Then the other two guys pressed him further in english “All black”. It sucked, but I score a few goals and got needed exercise. The last thing I’d ever do is get on a zoom with a bunch white people and lament black people. Black skin is as thick as white skin.

    The insufficient facts were that the teens reported a male bouncer chased them with a bat around Harvey’s. The whole story is in question.

    Ignored

    1. The last thing I’d ever do is log onto a local news website and post comments about scoring goals in a pick up soccer game while lamenting the other players as very black immigrants. Are we supposed to draw from that statement that they were some imposing criminal syndicate and you nonetheless managed to score like you were the second coming of Megan Rapinoe?

      With respect to the Harvey’s incident, the fact is the Edmonds Police Department investigated, determined a hate crime was committed, and arrested a suspect. https://www.shorelineareanews.com/2018/02/edmonds-police-arrest-harveys-employee.html?m=1

      I’ll cede the last word to you with any but what abouts.

      Ignored

      1. “But what about” real crimes that really affect black people? I gave the diversity committee a pop quiz, asked them for the name of the man who was shot dead at the Edmonds Senior Citizen Center. None knew his name. Adrienne eventually sought some outside help and produced “Alexandar Rhodes”. Donny Griffin will cry on webcam over things like chicken pizza… but what about that what about? I asked the group of BLM supporters who was shot a block from where they were protesting, none knew. … but yeah, George Floyd.

        Arrest doesnt mean crime. The young man lied about a great many details.

        Ignored

        1. Mr. Richardson, you say (in a different post) that you give everyone the benefit of the doubt, but then come out with “The young man lied about a great many details” without offering any supporting information. If you have useful information please present it. If not, please stop making unsupported accusations.

          Ignored

        1. That you’re sexist too? That you are dismissive of amazing female athletes who could play circles around you?

          Ignored

        2. Women don’t watch women’s soccer. I know who Amanda Nunes is, paid good money money to watch her. Do you know who she is? My favorite is Valentina.

          Ignored

        3. Also, when I say “very black”, I mean to say “black nationalists”. Something tells me that those guys would have wanted Megan Rapinoe off the field too, for being white and a woman.

          Ignored

    2. Mr. Richardson, I’m not sure why you’re mis-characterizing the Harvey’s incident; I haven’t seen that the teens claimed what you say. I also have no idea what causes you to claim that the whole story is in question.
      The episode was extensively reported – see https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/crime/teens-say-they-were-targets-of-racial-slurs-threatened-with-bat-outside-edmonds-tavern/ and https://myedmondsnews.com/2019/12/prosecuting-attorney-defends-decision-not-to-file-charges-in-harveys-lounge-case/ – and the harassment was real. The teens did not claim that they were chased around Harvey’s by a male bouncer as you state. The video of the incident clearly shows what they reported, namely a woman holding a baseball bat and cursing at them. The prosecuting attorney agreed that the woman’s actions and words were vile and shameful, but decided, for whatever reason, that this did not constitute a crime.
      I am sorry you and your wife have been subject to the attitudes you describe in your own encounters, but please understand that your misrepresentation of the Harvey’s incident, sadly but inevitably, raises doubts about the actual facts of your own stories. You ask us to believe you, but are dismissing someone else’s documented story out of hand. Why?

      Ignored

      1. It was widely reported. The teens reported that a man came out of the bar and confronted them. The title of the article is “outside of Harvey’s”:
        https://www.king5.com/article/news/local/still-no-charges-for-bar-manager-accused-of-harassing-black-teens/281-564599059

        Here’s Darnesah Weary saying that the kids (one an adult who can dunk) were chased by two people, including a woman with a bat. Supposedly the teens returned after being trespassed (supposedly to look for a wallet) and the small woman felt threatened. The woman maybe needed better conflict resolution skills, but now I’m speculating. The reports nonetheless were wrong. The older stories on King5, the EPD very quickly had to tell the public that “no one chased anyone around the parking lot with a bat or anything like that” and that they were “trying to figure out what really happened”. There’s kernel’s of truth somewhere, but where is the interview of the woman? -where’s her side or maybe we don’t need to hear it?

        https://komonews.com/news/local/edmonds-mom-says-kids-harassed-called-racial-slur-outside-business

        Ignored

        1. Yes, Mr. Richardson, the teens said – and the video confirms – that a man came out of the bar and confronted them. Their mother said that they told her two people came towards them. Nowhere, in either of the references you provided, does anyone claim that “a male bouncer chased them with a bat around Harvey’s” as your original post states that they did. I repeat my question, why are you so quick to denigrate these people’s experiences?
          You also claim that “The young man lied about a great many details.” What evidence do you have to support this?

          Ignored

        2. Jon, I followed the original story. I also did some investigative journalism (the kind not on facebook) and I did get some of the original details from people around this. I also have a different lens, one that gives everyone the benefit of the doubt, including those not heard from in the court of public opinion (like the woman who was [rightly or wrongly] scared of the large male). I appreciate you and thank you.

          Ignored

        3. Reporter:
          “[the kids] told their mother that they had an ugly and racially charged encounter outside of Harvey’s Lounge in Edmonds with at least two people who came out of the bar.”

          Darnesah Weary:
          “Get off our property. We don’t want you n-words here. They said the n-words over and over and over and they just kept coming towards them.”

          https://komonews.com/news/local/edmonds-mom-says-kids-harassed-called-racial-slur-outside-business

          Chasing someone with a bat is a crime, and if the crime part of the hate crime didn’t happen, then why should we believe the hate part of it happened too? Never name your kids in the news and put their pictures up. It’s journalist-ically unethical too. The accused should have the benefit of the doubt for those asking that question. It’s a central Civil Right.

          Ignored

        4. “….He then proceeded to chase them holding a bat in his hands,” the mom continued. “My kids quickly got back inside their car and came home fearful that he was following them. I immediately called 911, and they’re here taking a report now.”

          https://blavity.com/washington-mom-says-her-teens-were-called-racial-slurs-chased-away-with-a-bat-outside-a-local-tavern?category1=race-identity&category2=news

          Last word is yours. I appreciate your vigorous appreciation for this.

          Ignored

      2. If anything like this is going on at Harveys… Well I think verbal assault is punishable. Ask an attorney. Second if they are and it seems they are racists.. Boycott them. Although bars have a way of having a certain crowd. Harveys is perhaps a club that appeals to the Racist R. Now just the Racist ones not all Republicans and not all Democrats are without racist thoughts either. So I say I am white. I will not ever go to Harveys. To the Blacks I say don’t go to Harveys haha. In other words if you are a not interested in hate don’t go hateful places. I am here to support every single Black person in Edmonds WA. I will check it out myself when the covid is gone. I am one of the Edmonds Citizens that follows the distancing and masks rules. I have done everything our Governor has asked us WAY TOO NICELY to do. So I am on a mission to really incorporate Black with White here. I want Black friends. I want white friends… I want us to get to really know each other and have fun with the differences in our diversity. I want us to laugh with each other about it too. I want to know there world and I want them to know mine. I want picnics I want people willing to host a barbeque in their own back yards welcoming ALL. It will be fun. I like LZ haha I like Rap.. So both types of music and others stuff too. All we need is each other to want this too and we need no more rules, no more political opinion, JUST US. We can have each others backs. I will have your back. Love to ALL. Deb.

        Ignored

    3. A white father of Black boys and husband to a Black woman coming to this forum, dismissing what a diverse cross section of the Edmonds/Esperance Black community experiences, and claiming he’s experienced reverse racism is literally a textbook racist fantasy and is heartbreaking and infuriating all at once.

      Ignored

        1. I mean, we (white people) all have some level of racism, conscious or unconscious. White people all benefit from the racist foundation upon which this country was founded and built. It’s what you do to undo it that counts. The anti-racist work. So honestly, please go ahead and accuse me of being racist and I’ll keep doing the work. You keep being the anti-Black lives matter protester. You keep tokenizing.

          Ignored

        2. I’m not going to say how you feel Heather, but I can say how I know other people feel. White people who hardly know any black people feel anxiety around them. They then project that anxiety as a means to atone for feelings they have which they feel guilty about. What people forget is that there are others who don’t have that anxiety, who don’t feel guilty for crimes they didn’t commit, who see everyone as equals. It’s not our fault the other white people can’t feel comfortable around black people. If one is to bring their own unconscious feelings to the surface, they need to make that expression about them, and not socialize their feelings, making racism a yoke the rest of us have to burden. If it’s you it’s you, not everyone.

          I love you as neighbor and I am sorry.

          Ignored

      1. Heather,, Your insulting commentary is being called out, and deservedly so. You need to learn respect for others, your habitual nasty comments are among the most divisive in the community. Matt is right about you.

        Ignored

      2. Mr. Richardson, thank you for the link to Blavity; that’s a new site to me, and I stand corrected regarding Mrs. Weary’s statement, assuming it was reported more accurately then her misspelled name.
        I’m still not clear as to why you claim that the whole story is in question. We can debate the details but it seems undeniable that a confrontation took place, and that the kids were scared by it. The video shows a large man exiting the tavern abruptly, walking rapidly to their car and photographing it, actions I certainly interpreted as threatening and intended to intimidate. The police determined sufficient cause to make an arrest; the prosecuting attorney found sufficient cause to characterize the women’s acts as vile and shameful, but not criminal. Please could you explain your claim?

        Ignored

  2. Thank you Teresa for covering this, and many thanks to my neighbors for sharing their experiences of living in Edmonds.

    Ignored

  3. Thank you! I really want my neighborhood (and town) to have people that are different than me. I love variety and appreciate when I see someone who has a different color of skin than me. I can’t speak for others but I welcome you. Lived here since 1978 so I consider myself a long timer and my word for the last 6 months is disappointed. I want my town to be built on acceptance.

    Ignored

  4. Thank you, Alicia Crank, for initiating this incredible conversation. Thank you to all the panelists for participating. It was a privilege to watch and hope this was only the first of more. Conversations like this one in which black people speak about their experiences are so important. To have individuals in our own community speak publicly is a gift.
    It’s time for us whites to listen and reflect on our complicity in systemic racism and then become allies and accomplices.

    Thank you to My Edmonds News for the coverage.

    Ignored

  5. Mary said it perfectly for me. I don’t live in Edmonds anymore but my heart is still there. I’m sad for any mistreatment you get and don’t understand it. This was the best way for us to try to understand just a bit of what you go through. I appreciate your taking the time to share. More please.

    Ignored

  6. Why isn’t Alicia Crank on the Edmonds Diversity Commission? And why isn’t there more diversity on the Edmonds City Council? Real, lasting change comes from grassroot efforts coupled with leadership from the top; and a leader who has “walked the walk” can be pretty darn effective.

    Ignored

  7. Thank you Alicia, and to the other participants on this panel. Your experiences and insights is vital to helping our community become a better place. Hearing the ‘extra precautions’ that you have to take sounds infuriating, draining, and exhausting. For me, when I have tried to understand that harm and pain, I try to remember that each of these incidents as bad as they are is just a single incident adding to what might be tens of thousands or more in their lifetime. There simply isn’t a break, or time when you can let your guard down and relax. When you can just wear what you want and enjoy a nice sunny day, or let your kids know to just have a fun time out in the night without worrying that someone will misinterpret their actions.

    It sounds like a never ending wave, and I truly appreciate you all sharing your experiences since that can help all of us to realize the impact of our actions. Many of us are not going to be there when someone yells a racial slur at someone and threatens them with a bat. However, we all are going to be around thousands of microagressions, and those add up to an environment where the larger incidents become justified to the people that carry them out.

    While I disagreed with the decision to pull officers out of schools, I understand the pain that black people have felt with police, and also the pain that people tearing school shootings and other violence feel. Having that discussion in a way that did not exclude anyone is important, and unfortunately it did not happen. We need to do a lot more listening to people, and make sure that we don’t marginalize other’s viewpoints and pain.

    Ignored

  8. Interesting, would also like to hear some conversations with “regular” members of the community, as in not advocates. Would be nice to hear from recent immigrants from Africa, South America and Asia and see how they compare their current lives to before.

    This is not to dismiss the negatives in society but at least attempt to balance them against the positives and you might find a better outlook on life. Has anyone ever told the story of the hundreds of times they went to or did X and nobody really cared what they looked like? Off the top of my head I could come up many times when I was treated differently, I guess the benefit of my white privilege is that I don’t feel I have to live my life negatively based off of those occasions.

    Everyone has “I remember this time that…” stories. I remember this time at Popeyes in Renton after my daughters soccer match, we went in to get some lunch, it was pretty busy, placed our order and the counter gal said we didn’t need a number placard they would remember us when it was ready. We both chuckled, my daughter didn’t get it. We were the only white people in the restaurant so kind of stood out, been back many times over the years. Put the facility in Edmonds and flip our roles and someone somewhere would call it a hate crime, and because of that I would never make the same comment. These are things as a white person that have to be told to our children.

    Ignored

    1. Hi Mr. Aversano,

      I wanted to address a couple of things in your comments.

      1. I think all members of our community are advocates for something in their lives, be it sports, social justice, business, etc., so I don’t consider myself or anyone else non “regular”.

      2. Other people/ groups should feel free to hold conversations like the one I held. It’s super easy to do. This was a personal project that gained interest from others. There was no Q&A, just 5 people sharing what they wanted to (both positive and negative), and we had an audience of community members who could listen in if they wanted to. Be it 5 people of 500 people, we wanted to have a candid conversation with one another.

      I invite you to watch the video if you already haven’t. I learned a lot listening to the others in the group of their varied perspectives. There were differing opinions on the SRO issue and others. My takeaway was to not disqualify each others experiences, even if I can’t relate to it. I’ve never been pulled over by the police, but don’t discredit the experience of those who have. I’m on the fence re: SROs, but I’m also not going to discount the experiences of parents/kids in the district. Our varied experiences, positive and negative, coexist.

      Ignored

      1. Well put, Alicia. And thank you for organizing the forum; however much we may read about these issues, it was illuminating – and sad, and heart-breaking – to hear it first hand. But it did encourage me to step and say something.

        Ignored

    2. Laughing about a joke that there is something memorable and distinctive about you is different from coming to the door with a baseball bat or following you around the store watching your every move. The kindness and the unkindness are related to differences in power, as Amy Cooper explained.
      As far as a better outlook on life, it’s very hard on children to pretend that the toxic parts of their lives are not real. It’s a good idea to have a practice of gratitude. At the same time, it’s good to know that your family respects your judgment when you share what your experiences are.

      Ignored

  9. I lament the lack of ethnic and socioeconomic diversity in Edmonds. This city has got to be one of the “whitest ” cities in Washington for its size.
    I lament that many people still don’t recognize that a more diverse community , racially and socioeconomically , is a healthier community.
    I lament the recent overt acts of racism in this city: the noose at the construction site where there were black employes, the harassment of black youth at the tavern, the defacing of the “I can’t breathe” art installation.
    I lament the more subtle acts of white and class privilege exhibited everyday in Edmonds.
    I’ll just mention one. At a recent housing meeting, I was so embarrassed by the coded language that many people used. This includied a comment by a person, who now sits on the City Council ; that maybe “they” could live on the Highway 99 corridor. Who are “they “?
    I lament that many still don’t acknowledge the irrefutable links between class and race.
    I lament that many still deny that systemic racism is prevalent in our country and always has been. These people are either willfully ignorant (ignorance is a choice) or are indeed racists themselves.
    I welcome these conversations. Thank you Teresa for providing this platform.
    May we all move along the path from being racists (conscious and unconscious) to being non-racists; then to being anti-racists, where we actively oppose racism.

    Ignored

      1. Just when I think I understand you and what you are talking about ; and maybe even agree a little bit; you say something like “progressive is really regressive.” Thats like saying 200% of something , which is impossible, since 100% means all of anything. To me progressive can only mean moving forward i.e. progress. Regressive can only mean moving backward meaning regress. I think you are saying Liberalism is regressive; a matter of opinion, not necessarily fact. My viewpoint is that either Liberalism or Conservatism taken to the extreme is inherently dangerous. The good thing is I think we both believe in freedom of the individual as much as possible which gives me hope. Take care Matt. C.

        Ignored

        1. We’re basically over-dosing on progressivism, and it becomes regressive. Clinton, I am a fan of yours and we should meet-up.

          Ignored

      2. Matt:

        All “woke-ness” aside, I have to point out that neither of the articles that you linked to your post even remotely supports your thesis that “(a)voiding woke-ness is a considerable factor as to why black people are leaving here”.

        That’s quite the premise, so let’s drill a little deeper ..

        The former article specifically refers to the decades-long “reverse migration” to the South as “less a push than a pull” (further stating “It’s an economic pull, plus those traditions and that cultural tie”), and then referencing the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act as having improved race/community relations in the South (i.e. as being contributing factors to the “pull”). The only “push” from the North referred to in that article is that of the “racially charged police killings” in Missouri and NY – absolutely nothing to do with a fear of “woke-ness” on the part of anyone.

        The latter article is entirely (and I emphasize “entirely”) about blacks being displaced into South King County due to the high costs of housing and rent – again, nothing whatsoever about “woke-ness” being a contributing factor for any of that.

        I invite everyone to read the articles for themselves and draw their own conclusions, but I also invite you Matt to clarify how either of those articles support your thesis. Better yet, why don’t you cite one person – one single black person (“very black” or otherwise – /S) – that supports your proposition that anybody has left “here” due to a “considerable” desire to avoid “woke-ness”.

        It was a good forum that Alicia organized – hearing from people who actually know what they are talking about. We need a lot more of that in this community.

        Ignored

  10. It is good to hear from various black people. Sometimes it is hard to understand other people’s experiences. I think anyone reading about the treatment of the two youngsters feels empathy . I hope their mother can experience better things in the future. There are people of goodwill in our society and that is something to remember. Sometimes I will feel awkward and uncomfortable, but I have to overcome that. Something as simple as striking up a conversation to make someone feel welcome is a good act. I spent many years teaching in a multi cultural middle school and I continually learned about other cultures. One thing for sure there are good and bad and in between in every group I worked with.

    Ignored

  11. Ms. Wippel, Ms. Crank and Members of the panel thank you. I read the article and the comments and will watch and listen to the online discussion.

    By bringing the conversation to us, we learn. When we are informed, we no longer have the excuse, I didn’t know. And, we may possibly evolve a little.

    I am an advocate for integrated socioeconomic housing throughout Edmonds. I am highly against segregating populations by people of color, financial status, and other demographics. (Mr. MLK Jr., I remember character.)

    The attention to the Bowl at the cost of the rest of Edmonds needs to stop; it is probably too much to expect for it to be reversed.

    Edmonds citizens on the 99 Corridor are marginalized and neglected. The Edmonds residents of this area are more often a non-white color and not of caucasian ethnicity.

    Healthy, thriving neighborhoods, communities, and governing bodies are better with diversity, and inclusion.

    The porch style homes with the sidewalks and street lights, green spaces and parks throughout, allow for neighbors to get to know one another. Having a wide variety of housing property values amongst each other allows for a more caring and neighborly community.

    In these types of neighborhoods, there is much less reason to fear and to be adversarial because diversity has become the norm. When we see each other and our families and friends on a regular basis, we gradually get to know each other. Even if we don’t personally know each other, we are not surprised by our own neighbors.

    Alicia, and Panel Members, I look forward to listening to your conversation. You and your demographic in no way deserve your horrific heritage, history, and present. You are overdue, at a minimum, fairness above equality, in socioeconomic status.

    Ignored

  12. Why are only black people the only minor ties. how about Asians Eastern European isnt it time to realize there are more minority than just black people let’s be more inclusive

    Ignored

  13. Don,

    Ahem…

    You posed a non-black question to a black panel with the topic of the black panel members individual feelings on being black.

    Ignored

  14. Don’s comment is valid. In the last census the Asian population in Edmonds was almost 3 times that of the African American population.

    Ignored

  15. I am so tempted to not engage, however

    As Alicia shared, if others would like to host a Zoom or Facebook panel/conversation, it’s easy.

    These five initiated and executed their conversation.

    If you would like a Ron and Don show, hey that’s kind of catchy, you could make that happen. Maybe Teresa and Alicia would even share resources and tips.

    However since Alicia is not of another ethnicity or color, I am aware of, I doubt she will be initiating a free other minority type conversation as she is extremely busy.

    Reminder FYI:

    1st paragraph:
    ”Edmonds resident Alicia Crank brought a group of Black residents together Saturday afternoon to have a frank conversation about being Black in Edmonds.

    2nd paragraph
    ”The online discussion — broadcast to hundreds via Zoom and Facebook Live — was meant to be a proactive conversation among the five, where “hopefully others will listen and have a takeaway,” Crank said. “We don’t want this to be about answering other people’s questions but talking about what it is we feel like we need to talk about.”

    Ignored

  16. I consider Alicia a friend .My point being that all minorities should work together. Lori I find your comment offensive .

    Ignored

    1. Don Hall,

      What do you find offensive about Ms. Rasmussen’s comments? Is it the reference to a Ron and Don show? Is it her quotes? Is it her statement that Facebook and Zoom are easy?

      While I’m at it, do you find this comment offensive as well?

      Thanks!

      Ignored

  17. Don,

    I apologize. I could have done better. It is my understanding there have been an elevated number of injustices to black people in Edmonds.

    Odds are this is why Alicia lead the discussion. However, Alicia is best to answer the question. I still need to listen to the conversation.

    Don, I sincerely appreciate your calling me out so I can adjust my behavior in applying respect. Kindly continue to assert yourself.

    It is ironic I learn this on a conversation dealing with topics of people misunderstanding and mistreating others.

    Don, I hope you accept my sincere apology.

    Lori

    Ignored

  18. Ms. Crank and fellow panelists, thank you so much for creating this opportunity for the rest of us in the Edmonds community to learn about your experiences. Your “Edmonds Kind of Day” is often a far different experience from those of us living in white privilege, and I admire your candor and courage in sharing your stories. I look forward to continuing the conversation in whatever form it takes so we can create some necessary change for the better.

    Ignored

  19. Lori offended someone? I didn’t think possible.

    In regards to the census, are caucasians asians or are we sub-asians? Genetically we’re neither from the caucus region or asian. The term is as old as the n-word ending with ‘oid’, but maybe because we’re not easily offended it’s persisted. Let’s all get offended. It’s not as offensive as chicken pizza, but we gotta be offended by something and now is a good time to start.

    Ignored

  20. Do not agree with ya Heather. I believe he very well could have faced reversed discrimination. Why you would not believe him I have no idea.

    Ignored

  21. I am 85 years of age and have lived in Edmonds, in the same home since 1971. My husband is deceased. 3 of our 4 children graduated from the Edmonds School District, one was a semifinalist in National Merit Scholarship. The 4th attended a Matteo Ricci/Seattle Univ 6 year program. My older daughter moved back to Edmonds.
    My family moved here from Maryland and we did not know anything about the area. When I realized the ratio of black citizens I got involved in the schools – I did not want my children labelled, I did not want them compared with each other or with other black children. When we started there was only one other black family in junior and senior high school and none in the elementary school that my children attended.
    I served on the city’s first Diversity Committee, I served on Police Promotion Board,I was PTA Council President. In other words, I got around. I have always felt comfortable in Edmonds.
    I remember once I was on my way home from work and my husband and I stopped at a store. Everywhere I turned a white woman was staring at me. After ten minutes I started walking towards the woman to ask her “what was her problem?” Before I opened my mouth she said “I have been admiring you and your outfit, everything matches and you wear a hat nicely. I will not describe how I felt. I am not saying that racism is not in Edmonds, it is. It is like any other small town in the US or overseas. To be honest I don’t feel it or see it, because I have an attitude — ‘I belong here’.
    My son once accused me of walking into a building as if I owned it.

    Ignored

    1. Thank you Cirila for your service to our community. That is a lot of time and effort in all of those committees and councils, and dedication like that is what makes our community great.

      It must make you very proud to have such accomplished children as well. Having your daughter decide to move back to Edmonds is a great sign of the community that people want to be apart of.

      I hope that people will continue to volunteer, and keep an open mind to be able to listen to our neighbors. It’s easy to speak, but objectively listening is one of the hardest things that people can do.

      Forums like the ones that Alicia has set up is a great way to keep the beneficial dialogue open. I hope that Alicia and other dedicated citizens continues to keep beneficial discussion like that going. Along with other ways that residents have been getting involved to help work towards fostering a welcoming, vibrant, and successful Edmonds community.

      Ignored

    2. We need to hear more stories like this one, as I have said there are MANY out there. In fact to all you negativity advocates… if you “read the right books and try real hard and squint when you look at the world” to find the positive just maybe you will find life is a lot better than you believe.

      Ignored

  22. Thank you Alicia for pressing on with these important conversations and creating a space for Black voices to be heard. I look forward to your next panel!
    And to all the panelists, thank you for being brave and putting yourself out there. This is important work.

    Ignored

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *