I support Grace Brown, Angela Smith, Dawn Bennett, Patricia Young, Sacha Wyatt, Cherryl Jackson Williams and Kelly Guy as they stand up in the face of alleged racial discrimination from Seattle’s Department of Parks & Recreation (DPR). These allegations must be treated with utmost respect. These women are embarking into vulnerable territory in a structurally racist Seattle and America.
I have professionally designed, built and advocated for parks, community gardens and public art with DPR since 2010. My projects include Hing Hay Park Redevelopment and Lantern, Danny Woo Community Garden, and Be’er Sheva Park Waterfront Improvements. These are in Chinatown-International District and Rainier Beach, two iconic majority person-of-color Seattle neighborhoods.
In my professional opinion, DPR upholds and operates a city park system that discriminates based on race and class. The whiter and richer you are in Seattle, the more access you have to better parks. Furthermore, evidence shows that DPR has not prioritized ending this discrimination with bold, rapid systemic reparations.
These trends I’ve experienced follow patterns seen in the employment discrimination case these brave women are alleging. This makes me give additional weight to their allegations, and I stand with them in solidarity.
George Lee, Seattle