Produced by Reco Bembry, Sponsored by B.U.I.L.D.
Community leader K. Wyking Garrett is designing programs and initiatives that inspire, mobilize, and activate communities for sustainable social impact. Recognized in 2019 by Seattle Times as one of 13 influential people of the decade, Garrett is a third-generation community builder, social entrepreneur, and current president and CEO of Africatown Community.
It has been a progression. We are an asset-based community focused on preserving and developing the historic Black community that’s called the central district neighborhood in Seattle. For almost 140 years the central district has faced displacement and gentrification. We are focused on creating models that drive Black communities through post-gentrification and in other locations to be ahead of gentrification.
BY: ERICA C. BARNETT(Abridged)
As president and CEO of the Africatown Community Land Trust, Garrett (who was also a founding director of Seattle’s African American Heritage Museum and Cultural Center) worked with other community groups and nonprofit developer Capitol Hill Housing on the Liberty Bank Building project, which includes affordable housing and spaces for black-owned businesses at the site of the first black-owned bank west of the Mississippi. A block away at 23rd and Union—the epicenter of Central District gentrification—Garrett’s group has partnered with Forterra, a land preservation group, and Capitol Hill Housing on the Africatown Plaza mixed-use affordable housing development, which is currently going through a community-led design process and could break ground as early as next year.
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