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The hope and the dream: Sharing the Black experience in the Pacific Northwest

Community members reflect on their shared Black experience and how resilience has led to joy.

SEATTLE — The Black experience is a multi-layered one filled with trauma and resilience but ultimately joy.

In the midst of constant reminders of racism, it's not the focus for Black Americans. As we reflect and celebrate Black History Month, community members shared their stories that remind us how to keep hope alive and why it's so important for the next generation that follows.

“There is something about a group of people who can push forward no matter what,” said Cecily Croskey.

When it comes to Black trauma, some of the words that come up include emotional, fear, suppression, history, family and relentless.

“As soon as you let up, it feels like you’re traumatized again,” said Tacoma City Councilmember Kiara Daniels.

After George Floyd was murdered at the hands of Minneapolis police in 2020, it was hard for some in the community to hold hope.

“We’ve been here many, many times,” Daniels said. “We’ve had riots. We have this, like a lot. We can paint murals but really what I would like is real change.”

However, others, like Edward Hill, saw that moment as creating “a great reveal” where “everything was just exposed.”

“No matter how dark it seems, hope is what kept us alive,” said Jacob Howell, a Tacoma chef. “The way we’ve evolved and adapted and why we’re here now is having hope.”

So, how do we move forward? It starts by taking care of each other, Howell said. And Chloe Jones pointed out the system needs to change. But ultimately, many said they found strength from knowing it impacts future generations.

“It’s just bigger than just us,” Croskey said.

And finding joy in who we are as a people and the resilience that’s gotten us this far.

“Getting to rise up out of those ashes is the gift of getting to be Black,” said Jessica Johnston.


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