Two people hold signs at anti-gun violence protest in Seattle, Washington

OPINION: Dear Beloved – A Love Letter to Seattle’s Black Community

by Chardonnay Beaver

Everyone lost to gun violence is someone’s beloved.  Beloved is a multi-media campaign exploring gun violence in-depth in four phases: The Problem of gun violence as a symptom of illness (or infection) caused by systemic inequality; The History of gun violence, root causes, and local and national data trends. The Solutions to end gun violence including King County Public Health’s regional approach to gun violence prevention and treatments; and finally, the ideation of a world without gun violence, The Beloved Community. The Beloved project is brought to you in partnership with Seattle Office of Arts & Culture Hope Corps program, King County’s Public Health team, Converge Media, Black Coffee Northwest, Toybox Consulting, Creative Justice, The Facts Newspaper, Forever Safe Spaces, Northwest African American Museum, Presidential Media, and the South Seattle Emerald.

When tourists think of Seattle, Washington, their perspectives are limited. We can all agree: Everyone pairs Seattle with rain and/or coffee. 

Depending on who you ask, one might hear “Seattle’’ and think of the lead member of rock group Nirvana, Kurt Cobain — who passed away in his Seattle home during the mid-1990s. Other tourists may applaud the legalization of marijuana and LGBTQ+ pride. 

However, tourists rarely describe Seattle and Black people in the same sentence. Nor do they link Seattle to surging gun violence. 

Gun violence has violated the development of Seattle’s Black community and youth in King County for several decades. Seattle’s Black community is often left between the margins of educational, economic, and social injustice; it’s inevitable to feel unseen.

 As a Seattleite, I’ve often felt seen and not heard by my non-Black counterparts. But all that ends now …

Beloved, I write to inform you that you are invaluable. Not only are you seen, but your presence is felt. So often you go misunderstood, clinging to whatever setting invokes belonging. Please note that not all places and spaces are equipped to handle you with care. 

Beloved, despite the identity crisis you may face for being Black in a majority white space, never forget who you are. You were designed to be loved. That love must first be identified within. 

Words of Wisdom by Char of the Week: We were all meant to personify love. A presence of love liberates, but a presence of injustice violates. 

Onward with love, Char <3

The South Seattle Emerald is committed to holding space for a variety of viewpoints within our community, with the understanding that differing perspectives do not negate mutual respect amongst community members.

The opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints expressed by the contributors on this website do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints of the Emerald or official policies of the Emerald.

Chardonnay Beaver is a multimedia storytelling, influential speaker and writer. Her stories center the lived and historical experiences of minoritized communities in America, in a nuanced way. Her articles has been featured in Crosscut, The Facts Newspaper, The Seattle Medium to name a few. Chardonnay is a recent graduate of the University of Washington, earning her degree in political science and journalism & public interest communication and minor in diversity studies. To learn more, visit her website.

📸 Featured Image: Two community members hold signs at an anti-gun violence protest in Seattle, WA. Courtesy of The Beloved Project, 2022.

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