Gentrification is a dirty word in many parts of Seattle where longtime communities and businesses are feeling pushed out and unwanted as mixed-use developments and wealthier renters move in. There are plenty of neighborhoods feeling this effect but perhaps none as acutely as Seattle's Central District right now.
One of Seattle's most racially and ethnically diverse neighborhoods (though originally not by choice), Central District is where developers are looking now that they've carved up large chunks of Capitol Hill and First Hill. That's meant an influx of apartment projects and new businesses with no ties to the community. With plenty more of that on the way, some in the neighborhood are fighting back however they can, even if they're only able to make a point.
Starting Monday, certain Central District businesses and developments received "citations" outlining that they were guilty of a "karmic infraction."
The citation reads:
THIS IS A KARMIC INFRACTION
• Being an unapologetic gentrifier.
• Unchecked white/class privilege.
• Destroying Black and Brown communities.
• Making mortgages/rent unaffordable.
• Exasperating income segregation.
• Stealing Black culture while displacing Black People.
Fines will be collected along with reparations in the revolution.
Per The Stranger, the citations come from artists Yeni Lopez Sleidi and Emnet Getahun, who want to "reignite the conversation about the ongoing gentrification of the Central District and the displacement of people of color across Seattle."
"The copy on the flyer is very aggressive — and we don't take that back," Sleidi said. "People who are [economically comfortable] are able to extensively and critically think about their privileges, but they usually choose not to disrupt the comfort that other people's misfortune has granted them. Living comfortably shouldn't be something only white people can do."
Here's some video of the citations going up at Uncle Ike's Pot Shop, a marijuana retailer who has had multiple run-ins with the local community already.
· Two Artists Are Giving Out "Gentrification Citations" To Local Businesses, Including Uncle Ike's [Stranger]
· Seattle's Neighborhoods Have Experienced 'Segregation Within Integration'[CS]
· CD History: How segregation shaped the neighborhood [CDN]
· MidTown Center project moving forward at 23rd & Union [CS]