The Other Capitol Hill
The culture of the Capitol Hill neighborhood in Seattle, Washington, USA is eclectic under normal circumstances. The small-scale uprising a few blocks from my home earlier this year was another chapter in the storied history of this vibrant area near downtown. The chapter is not over, but it is worth reflecting on where we are.
The city of Seattle is straining under the pressure of a series of crises, some self-inflicted, some unavoidable, and others manufactured by animosity from critics. The crises are not exclusive to this city. Much of the strife comes from macro-economics and is locally manifested as homelessness, infrastructure problems, and strained relations between government and constituents. That said, the city continues to be safe, scenic, and prosperous in many ways.
The violent clashes over the summer had the city and nation’s attention. Flash-bangs and loud chanting were disruptive and impossible to ignore. Curiosity and civic responsibility brought the most practical and sensible residents into the streets to engage and observe.
Protests continued throughout the city over the summer, straining the Police Department’s resources but continuing to raise awareness about racial inequity. Sensational images and reporting may have exacerbated the disruptive dynamics throughout the summer which led to clearing the most embedded protest areas.
It remains to-be-determined how the neighborhood and lives of residents of Capitol Hill will be changed in the long-run. A positive collective vision and collaboration between residents and community leaders (both locally and beyond) will be critical to our wellbeing.