Stacey Abrams Seattle Viewing Party on 4/25
(aka "Be the change you wish to see...")
When Town Hall Seattle announced they'd be hosting Stacey Abrams in Seattle, they gave priority tickets to their members (who are mainly white), selling out immediately and leaving little to no opportunity for people of color to attend. That's when my girlfriend Natalie reached out and suggested they create space and prioritize tickets for women of color in Seattle so they, too, could have the opportunity to hear an inspiring message from someone who looks like them. Why? Because visibility and representation matters!
So, how did Town Hall Seattle respond? By opening up 50 tickets prioritized for black women! Jenna Hanchard of King 5 News caught wind of this story and sat down with Natalie and I to discuss how necessary it is to make space for women of color. She also spoke with the team at Town Hall Seattle about their decision to prioritize space and tickets for Black women.
This was a great example of an organization being open to constructive criticism, acknowledging their oversight, and bringing an empowering solution to the table. The only downside? Those tickets also immediately sold out. Also, since Natalie and I were prepping for the King 5 interview when the tickets went on sale, we missed out on tickets again... which honestly is ironic, hilarious and seems like something out of a TV show.
We were excited that 50 additional people were able to secure tickets (and hope they truly did go to Black women - Town Hall Seattle posted the code for tickets on their public Facebook page and said they were going to use an honor system), but knew the larger issue still needed to be addressed.
Events like this should truly be equitable and inclusive for people of color, especially those who identify with the speaker. In this case it meant black women. It means something special for black women to be able to see themselves reflected in all areas of society and hearing Stacey Abrams speak in Seattle (a city that is 70% white) means even more.
Natalie and I are solution-oriented, productive women forever focused on progress and conflict-resolution. The type you can come vent to, but who you can trust to follow-up that vent session with actionable steps to "get shit done". We also believe in creating community for people of color and seize every opportunity to elevate the voices, stories and presence of Black women in Seattle... so true to who we are and what we believe in, we decided to partner with our friends at Hyena Culture to host a viewing party of the Town Hall Seattle Stacey Abrams livestream!
|(L-R) Gabriel-Bello Diaz, Brandon Sidney, Jenna Hanchard, Natalie Curtis and Ishea Brown
What is Hyena Culture? Our friends Gabriel Bello-Diaz and Brandon Sidney came together to create Hyena Culture, an event space created by artists and creatives to allow space for underrepresented groups to host events. There is often a high bar for entry to a lot of event spaces in the city, so Hyena Culture is an inclusive, accessible space focused on creating community and offering safe space for people to gather. Their beautiful loft sits in Seattle's historic Pioneer Square, has a vibrant offering of events and is available for bookings.
We are hopeful that in the future Town Hall Seattle (and other organizations like it), will add diversity within the rooms where decisions are being made and lead with proactive, inclusive solutions like this when they initially plan and launch events. All tickets for the Town Hall Seattle event are currently sold out, so we'd love to have you watch the livestream with us at Hyena Culture! Full event details can be found by clicking here.
Thank you to Jenna Hanchard of KING 5 News for interviewing us and sharing this story! Watch the full interview below (or click here).