Challenge Day Reflections: Neighborhoods & Communities Challenge Day, LT'18

Neighborhoods & Communities Challenge Day
October 12, 2017
By: Natasha Rivers, LT’16

To keep you connected to LT and current issues and topics discussed in the curriculum, LT shares highlights and resources from the recent Challenge Day. We hope you enjoy these monthly updates!

This Challenge Day was held at the Northwest African American Museum in the Central District. The day was focused on development practices and their implications for growth, equity and community.  For a full list of objectives and speakers, please refer to the agenda. You may also access the full list of homework (videos and articles) here.

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Attending the Neighborhoods Challenge Day provided a unique and fulfilling experience for me. As an alum, it was invigorating to experience a day filled with captivating speakers and reflective exercises. I was reminded that healthy communities require collective action, and in order to make all neighborhoods healthy, livable, and inclusive, we must preserve the cultural spaces and places that are not always acknowledged. We must strive for preservation and replacement, not displacement.
— Natasha River, LT'16

Northwest African American Museum 

Dr. Mildred Ollee, Interim Executive Director, Northwest African American Museum

Dr. Ollee shared the origin story of Northwest African American Museum (NAAM), the first and only African American museum in the region. NAAM opened in 2008, through a partnership with the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle and the Seattle School District, with 20 affordable housing units located on the upper level of the building. 

For more information about NAAM, please visit its website.


The Facts and History of Redlining

Ubax Gardheere, Equitable Strategies Manager, Equitable Development Initiative, Office of Planning and Community Development, City of Seattle

Ubax presented the history of redlining in the region, emphasizing the distinction between neighborhood choice and restriction. People of Color were excluded from most neighborhoods, and this practice of racially restricted covenants led to the segregation and socioeconomic inequities we experience today in Seattle. 

To learn more about the history of redlining and the impact it continues to have in Seattle, please review:


Impacts of Growth -- Exploring How to Grow Equitably

Panelists: Wyking Garrett, Founder, and Co-Founder, Hack the CD; Doris Koo, Lead Consultant, Yesler Community Collaborative; John Schoettler, LT'91, Vice President, Global Real Estate & Facilities, Amazon; Diane Sugimura, Former Director, City of Seattle Department of Planning and Development.

Moderator: Shannon Loew, LT'17, Curriculum Committee.


The panel presented multiple perspectives on growth and affordability. There are positive and negative impacts of growth, but as Wyking emphasized, "there are no unintended consequences." 

Leadership Lessons: Civic Engagement for the 21st Century

Norman Rice, Former Mayor, City of Seattle

As Mayor, Norman Rice was responsible for the Education Levy that funds public education, the concept behind the city's urban villages, and the Growth Management Act. Here are a few takeaways from Norman's presentation:

  • It is important to form partnerships across the private, public and nonprofit sectors.

  • Storytelling is a great way to communicate because it reaches the brain and heart of audiences.

  • Quality of life for all matters.

  • Always ask yourself: Why did I lose/fail? What could I have done differently?

We hire managers, we elect leaders. Be a leader.
— Norman Rice
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