Seattle Met composite. Photographs by Amber Fouts and Jose Luis Stephens/Shutterstock.
Protests have manifested emotional reckonings with the criminal justice system’s treatment of Black lives in neighborhoods across Seattle, but these demonstrations cut to the core in the Central District. Today a white-owned cannabis shop sits on a corner of this enclave where numerous Black men and boys were arrested for drug-related crimes. Blasé mixed-use buildings rise across the way, recent examples of a development boom that has contributed to a precipitous drop in Black residents occupying these blocks. Gentrification can’t completely rob the neighborhood of its rich cultural history—just take a glance at the flavors represented in the area’s restaurants, including some establishments that belong to a new group of Black owners. They’re bringing change that honors the past. There’s no reason others can’t too.