by M. Anthony Davis
Cynthia A. Green has been a pillar in the Skyway community for decades. Her work and dedication to serving her community while working at the Renton Area Youth Services family center led to the center being renamed the Cynthia A. Green Family Center in her honor in 2014. In that same year, King County Councilmember Larry Gossett proclaimed Sept. 6 to be Cynthia A. Green Day across the county.
This year, in celebration of Cynthia A. Green Day, the Skyway Coalition created a series of social media posters with tributes from community leaders, colleagues, and friends of Green.
“We are very conscious of our history,” Rebecca Berry, manager of the Skyway Coalition says. “We’ve gone through decades of advocacy and work to try to get the support and resources that our community needs.”
Skyway is not an official city, so the neighborhood does not have a chamber of commerce, a mayor, or a city council, leaving advocacy and support to Skyway residents themselves. The Skyway Coalition sees the importance of celebrating residents like Green who dedicate their lives to serving the community.
“We went through a lot of ideas, and we settled on having a week-long virtual celebration,” Berry says. “We had identified maybe six to eight people that we could ask, but we got so many more than that once people heard that we were celebrating her. I just kept getting more and more emails and that was really beautiful.”
Jon Gould, who heads government relations for Childhaven, was featured on a poster with the words “Brilliant, Warm, and Kind” while also saying it was an honor to carry on Green’s legacy at the Cynthia A. Green Family Center.
Ryan Quigtar, executive director of Renton Innovation Zone Partnership, was one of the community leaders who created a poster. “Miss Cynthia is an inspiration to me, because of how genuine she is,” Quigtar says. “She makes people feel welcomed, safe, and supported. She’s done this day-in and day-out for decades and is a great example of what community means to us in Skyway.”
“Everybody had really unique and really rich words to say about her, which means everybody had a really special connection individually, and that made it that much more beautiful,” Berry says.
The Skyway Coalition plans on making Cynthia A. Green Day an annual celebration, along with creating new traditions to honor more individuals who have positive impacts on the Skyway-West Hill neighborhood. Berry says that they have not yet decided on a plan for these celebrations moving forward, but understanding how impactful the work is to serve a community that has no assigned elected officials, the Skyway Coalition wants to ensure that folks like Green who are uplifting Skyway always receive recognition and love for the work they are doing.
Berry, who was hired by the Skyway Coalition about six months ago, had not met Green before this celebration. A week after the series of posters were published, Berry ran into Green at a community event in Skyway. Berry says Green was very appreciative of the celebration and very excited that the neighborhood has many young leaders who will be able to carry on her legacy of strengthening the community.
“That’s just really important to us,” Berry says. “Our heart and soul is our communities and our leaders that just take it upon themselves to share their light and their goodness, because we don’t have much when it comes to the formalities of support like elected officials … But we sure have it in spades when it comes to our residents and our leaders.”
M. Anthony Davis (Mike Davis) is a local journalist covering arts, culture, and sports.
📸 Featured image courtesy of Renton Area Youth and Family Services.
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