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After our April presentation on redistricting, The Board met to look at the choices and decided that our long history with the Central District should be the primary decision-making factor. Our relationship with the Central District goes back to the time the Leschi Community Council was formed and has continued over the years. This is the letter we sent to the Commission:

To: Redistricting Commission


Redistricting map Draft 1 has the least drastic effect on the Leschi community which has a long history with the Central District. The Leschi community Council was formed in 1958 by black activist, Powell Barnett, who sought to improve the schools and address redlining. Leschi neighbors started a branch of CORE (Congress of Racial Equality) here, a group that actively worked on exposing the real estate redlining practices and to end discrimination in hiring practices.(“Seattle in Black and White” by Bettylou Valentine, Joan Singler, Jean C. Durning, Martha (Maid) J. Adams)

Leschi has historical ties to another Central District black activist, Florasina Ware. She worked tirelessly to improve the programs at local schools, brought Meals on Wheels to the seniors in the area and organized a group of citizens to head to the other Washington for the Poor People’s Campaign. In 1982, the Seattle Parks Department dedicated a small neighborhood park in her name. This park at 28th and Jackson fell into disrepair and the Leschi Community under the guidance of our Parks Chair, John Barber, raised half a million dollars to completely renovate this park, adding safe playground equipment and a half basketball court.

Leschi has worked with other communities in the Central District to bring jazz back to Jackson St. Our monthly community programs have often celebrated some aspect of the Central District history and current projects. We have had Paul de Barros talk about his book “Jackson Street After Hours” and more recently, Wyking Garret talking about the plans for Africatown at 23rd and Union to celebrate the heritage of the black influence on the Central District.

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