White Center "Remembrance Walk" Sat. Dec. 4 will highlight fire displaced businesses
The White Center Community Development Association is organizing an event to highlight and remember the businesses along 16th SW that were displaced by the fires that took place this year in the community.
WHITE CENTER REMEMBERS STOREFRONT BUSINESSES
We Will Not Be Displaced
This community action calls attention to the series of 5 fires over 4 months (July – October 2021) that devastated and displaced 11 small business owners located within White Center Downtown Core.
This activity provides space for community members to:
1. Remember and honor our displaced beloved business storefronts
2. To assert, hold and increase the commercial square footage our BIPOC businesses need
Because of the community’s advocacy and declaration of our state of emergency, federal government disaster declaration was granted to White Center this month. Even with the federal declaration, rebuilding continues to be challenging for all involved, creating long lasting challenges for individual businesses and for the wider White Center/North Highline neighborhood.
The decrease of affordable commercial spaces continues to push existing legacy BIPOC businesses out of the area and keep other BIPOC business owners from establishing new businesses in White Center. With ever increasing residential and commercial displacement rates, given the lack of affordable and relevant sized housing and commercial storefronts means the housing and commercial needs of people who have lived and worked in White Center community for decades are not met.
This afternoon of community action gives community the space to reflect on record levels of profit-driven development and gentrification accelerating the displacement of longtime BIPOC business owners and residents in Washington– Asian, Black, Indigenous and other people of color who rely on White Center for affordable commercial spaces and housing, culturally competent services and community. White Center holds the characteristics of an International District given the diverse history and investment of the AAPI community, especially by the Khmer, Vietnamese and Cham community as well as the deep roots of our diverse Latino community and growing Somali community.
The displacement pressures are even greater for an unincorporated urban neighborhood like White Center. Urban and rural unincorporated areas like White Center, Skyway and Vashon are home to BIPOC families and small businesses that have been the hardest hit by the pandemic. Unincorporated neighbors continue to live without the infrastructure and services provided by a City government.
This Remembrance Walk Action Against Commercial Displacement, that will take place Saturday, December 4th at 3:00 p.m., will highlight memories of our beloved storefront businesses and stories of resilience and resistance. “Our businesses are the heart and soul of White Center. These storefront businesses are our cultural centers where relationships are built.” We need to keep them here.” said Helen Shor-Wong, Organizer for White Center Community Development Association.