I have a few thoughts about privilege that I would like to share.
While doorbelling, I am acutely aware that as a tall, white male, I feel safe going door to door all the way up to 9:00pm on summer nights. And because of my race, I will most likely not be stopped by police as I canvas the largely white neighborhoods of District 6.Read more
Last night while doorbelling I spoke with a woman who lives on the edge of Carkeek Park. She told me about one or two homeless men who have been living in the park very close to her yard over the last two years. She came to know one of them pretty well. She worried for his safety when she saw big branches atop one of the tents after a windstorm. She called 911, and was relieved when police said they found no one inside. She is annoyed by the trash at the site and repelled by the stench of human waste. Yet she doesn't want to report the encampment. As long as they keep to themselves, and maintain clean spaces, she would be totally fine with them living there.
I think that this is an ambivalence that many of us who are fortunate to be housed feel towards people who are homeless. And the ambivalence may be harder to tolerate by people who experience more direct impacts. I think about the woman at the other night's meet and greet who told of living near the electrical substation at NW 47th and 8th NW. She has found needles and a jar of urine in her yard. She said that if her children, now grown, were a lot younger, she would be out of that neighborhood.
Back to the doors after a wonderful community meeting last night in West Seattle to celebrate a design for a new park to be built in 2020 (my day job with Seattle Parks and Recreation) and a great meet and greet tonight hosted by our neighbors (thank you, John and Mary Kay!).
The first door was a man who owns a commercial fishing boat at Fisherman's Terminal. He does a lot of business at the maritime shops along Shilshole Avenue in Ballard. We had a great chat about the missing link in the Burke-Gilman bicycle and pedestrian trail. He thought it made most sense to have the trail run along the railroad tracks next to Shilshole all the way from Fred Meyer to the Ballard Locks. The City has already compromised with some maritime interests by agreeing to put the trail along Market St for about three blocks just east of the Locks and then the rest along the tracks. It's way past time to move forward with construction and fill in the long-awaited missing link segment!
Last night I went doorbelling in Blue Ridge. A woman who answered the door asked me, a bit wearily, if I was soliciting. I replied, "I'm politicking." That brought a smile to her face. Still, I thought she was tired, and I decided to excuse myself. Ten minutes later, after I had finished talking with some folks on the next block, she caught up to me — flyer in hand. "I came to tell you that I read your flyer and love everything you say. It represents much of what our family believes. I'm glad you stopped by," she said.