by Augustyna Brestar
Domonique Meeks is a lot of things.
He’s a small business advocate for the city of Seattle in the Office of Economic Development. But on top of his full-time job, he is also an entrepreneur, a data scientist, a brother, a son, a brother-in-law, a friend, and soon to be a husband.
Somehow Meeks finds time to juggle all of these interests and relationships while also co-hosting the podcast, No BluePrint. He is also a producer of the documentary, Soul of Seattle, and a co-founder of Ambassador Stories. Meeks possesses a lot of titles, but if someone was forced to describe Meeks with few words, they would simply be able to describe Meeks as a person who cares. Meeks cares about his personal relationships, his work, he cares about equity for people of color, women, and the younger generation. He believes we all have a story, and is passionate about making sure all of our stories are heard. This passion led Meeks to creating “No BluePrint”, an outlet for people of color to share their stories.
What do Soul of Seattle, Ambassador Stories, and No BluePrint have in common? All of these are various forms of media content that offer advice to the younger generation of future entrepreneurs. However, rather than simply creating a podcast, or website, or documentary, that offers facts or a ten step process on “How to Be An Entrepreneur”, Meeks adds a creative element of storytelling.
This media content offers advice to a younger generation of people of color who have aspirations of one day becoming a successful entrepreneur. Meeks states that entrepreneurship is already a difficult task, but is significantly harder for people of color. By sharing these stories, he hopes to encourage young people to not give up during the process, but to continue to endure the difficult challenges because the city of Seattle needs it.
When asked why he created Ambassador Stories, Meeks states, “My wife and I started Ambassador Stories as an outlet to tell stories around people of color in Seattle.” After living in South Seattle for close to ten years, Meeks has realized that the way most mainstream news outlets report on South Seattle is with a deficit perspective, rather than an asset perspective. Passionately, Meeks declares, “ [Most news outlets] never highlight the beauty of what community members who are in one of the most diverse zip codes in America are bringing to the city. So we wanted to amplify that and highlight that.”
Meeks grew up in Kent, WA and could not wait to escape to the big city, Seattle. However, he did not realize the extent of economic and social disparities that people of color endure. Due to Seattle’s intense history of redlining, Meeks realizes that these issues are not something that will go away overnight, or weeks, or months. But, it is something that will take years, generations some might say, of patience and perseverance.
It will take an army of people to dismantle the system of economic disparity in Seattle, and Meeks is doing his part in finding a solution by listening to stories of entrepreneurs of color, and sharing them with the younger generation via something many of us use everyday, technology. His hope is that the next generation will be able to learn from the successes, as well as the failures, of their ancestors to one day be successful entrepreneurs and hopefully one day bring soul back to the city of Seattle.
Augustyna Brestar is a Seattle University student
Featured image by Susan Fried