'Seattle, you have a whiteness problem' 🗣

LOOKING AHEAD. “It’s been an interesting 10 years of my life I’ve invested here and Seattle’s given me things in return,” reader Nia Martin wrote on Instagram. “True, pieces of it are gone, pieces of me are gone, too. But, I’m curious to see how Seattle and I end up turning out together. Here’s to another 10.” Thanks for tagging #theevergrey, Nia! Read more of her reflections at the link -->


When you live in a certain place, what makes you stay? We asked you that question last week, and your answers have run the gamut. For some of you, it’s the family and cultural connections you’d hate to break. For others, it’s the groups and activities you’ve found that make you feel like you belong here.

But in the background of a lot of what you’re sharing is something that’s almost impossible to forget: Seattle is struggling. Our county has the country’s third highest homeless population, our housing prices have been climbing faster than anywhere else for a year and a half, and according to this analysis from Redfin, more people want to leave.

It’s hard to know whether all these changes are leading our city somewhere good. But some of you believe it will. You have faith in your city, its people, and its values. You want to roll up your sleeves and get to work. And that’s what‘s keeping you here:

💪  “I want to stay here because I’m seeing a growing movement of people who care about urbanism and equity. All four generations of my family that lived here before me improved the city for the next, and this is how we’ll improve it for the next one.”
— Philip Weiss

🍔  “I stay in Seattle because I think it can be/wants to be a stronghold for positive change. I feel Seattle is (was?) a place where people held strong human right ethics, sustainable ideas for technology, and believed in progress (both as technology enabling the future and evolving thoughts and ideas based on new data). I stay in Seattle because I want to support/create/make a space that is safe and empowering for people of diverse worlds. I think there are a lot of people who believe the same, but they are somewhat overrun by many of the people that came as part of the tech gold rush. I believe (perhaps naively) that this offers an opportunity to share the Seattle ideals with those people. I also stay because I love Dick’s Cheeseburgers. It’s about 50/50.”
— Jacob Manalan

🔭  “In my case it’s what draws me back to Seattle and that is to be part of helping it grow into the global city that it is struggling to become. I see my future in a diverse and inclusive city which fosters innovation and where opportunities abound. A city with a world class public transportation system. A city with enough housing for the people who want to live here, enough to reduce housing insecurity and homelessness as much as possible. That future is what brings me back to Seattle.”
— Giuliana Isaksen

Thanks to everyone who’s been sharing what keeps you in Seattle. Want to hear some of your answers on air? Give a listen to yesterday’s edition of KUOW’s “The Record,” where our own Mónica Guzmán joined Ross Reynolds to talk about this very question (starting at the 20-minute mark). And stay tuned for more next week.

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Growth spurt. New Census numbers are out, and guess what? Seattle is the fastest-growing major U.S. city of the decade. We added 114,000 people since 2010 — an 18.7 percent bump to beat all bumps. 😯 That puts us at a population of about 725,000 total people as of last July. We’re now the 18th largest city in the country, and the 9th densest. Got a few minutes? That’s all you need to check in on this data goldmine with FYI Guy Gene Balk. (The Seattle Times)

‘Seattle, you have a whiteness problem.’ Start reading this essay by Sonya Green and you won’t stop. Sonya lived here for 12 years and left in 2016 for one key reason: “overwhelming whiteness.” Seattle gets credit for being ahead of the curve on race that it doesn’t deserve, she writes. Someone called the cops on her when she was replacing her own car’s license plate, and it was the first of dozens of times that white people’s discomfort took priority. Plus, she writes, “There is so much emphasis on being anti-racist that actually deconstructing what it is or looks like to be racist falls by the wayside,” Sonya said.

Sonya found being black in Seattle to be “exhausting and fatiguing,” and is relieved that she and her husband moved to Georgia. “I’m from the south. I choose to go back to the south,” she writes. “Why would you do that, many proclaim? Isn’t it a step back in time? Maybe. Or maybe it’s a reminder of the time we as a nation/society have never gotten past.” (The South Seattle Emerald)

It’s Folklife time. It’s not Memorial Day weekend in Seattle without the Seattle Folklife Festival — an all-out and gloriously free bonanza of a cultural celebration in Seattle Center. “It’s ruling ethos seems to be, Come as you are, whoever you are,” writes Stefan Milne of Seattle Met. Bring the kids and block out plenty of time. This year’s gonna have 26 stages, 5,200 performers, and up to a quarter million attendees. (Seattle Met)

Bus to camp. The weather’s gonna be all right this weekend, hitting the low 70s on Sunday and Monday. And with that extra day tacked on your weekend, wouldn’t it be the perfect time to hit the trail? Big props to Sarah Anne Lloyd for this list of 6 transit-accessible camping trips near Seattle. (Curbed Seattle)

Echo no-no. A super creepy thing that isn’t supposed to happen… happened. A couple in Oregon found out that their Amazon Echo had sent — without their knowing it — recorded audio of their private conversation at home to a random Seattleite on their contact list. They told Amazon about it, and Amazon said oh sh*t and started poking around. So what happened? Alexa thought she heard the Alexa command, then a send message request, then a name in their contact list, then a confirmation to send. “As unlikely as this string of events is,” Amazon said in a statement, “we are evaluating options to make this case even less likely.” We effing hope so. 🙂 (KIRO 7, Ars Technica)

Magic 8-ball says YES. Join PNB June 15th for new dance inside and outside McCaw Hall, a dance party, food trucks, & more. All seats are just $25! Learn More ».
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Partner Event

📖  May 30: Hear where Seattle stands on immigration policy and how you can welcome immigrants to the city at this Impact Hub Lunch + Learn. (Pioneer Square)

Want to partner on your event with us? Here’s how.

Around Town


🍺  Grab a bite to eat and try new beers on a boat (Wallingford)
🎶  Hit the dance floor to help out your LGBTQ+ neighbors (Belltown)
🎟  See a play about three women’s “web of personal, cultural, and national identity crises” — through June 3 (Downtown) — thanks for the rec, Cynthia Brothers!


💡  Learn Fremont’s past from a local historian (Fremont)
🎈  Head to this popular Street Scramble scavenger hunt (Gig Harbor)
🎈  Take the fam to the Northwest Folklife Festival with the fam — through May 28 (Queen Anne)


🎶  Sway to some jazz (Greenwood)
🍿  Watch films about the Asian immigrant experience (Downtown)
🏞  Ooh and ahh at minerals, gems, and fossils (Lake City)
🍴  Eat pancakes and hear Bach played on a marimba (Capitol Hill)


🇺🇸  Honor our nation’s armed forces at our region’s largest Memorial Day event (Mill Creek)

Going to one of these? Take us with you! Email a pic to [email protected] or tag #theevergrey on Instagram. See more upcoming events on our events page, and add your own events with an Evergrey membership.


Yup – we’ll be taking Monday off, too. 🇺🇸

Have an awesome long weekend, all. —  The Evergrey

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