Sept. 6 commemorates Cynthia A. Green Day in South King County’s Skyway community. For nearly two decades, Cynthia Green served as the operations manager for the then West Hill Family Center. However, she meant monumentally more to the community than that title suggests. Transcending her position, Cynthia functioned as the last line of defense for community members facing eviction and utility shutoffs, provided counsel to domestic violence survivors, helped former gang members transition to better lives, and served as a trusted sounding board to countless community members who sought out her guidance.
In 2014 the West Hill Family Center was renamed the Cynthia A. Green Center in her honor.
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One week after Russia began its recent invasion of Ukraine, roughly 1 million Ukrainians have fled the country, and Seattle residents from Ukraine are among the millions more who are dealing with the emotional and personal effects of the war.
“We wake up, and the first thing we do is check to see if our hometowns are still there,” Yuriy Zaremba, a community organizer, told the Emerald. “The fog of war is setting in, and we do have a lot of family out there. So we’ve just been trying to make sure that they’re okay.”
For Cherryl Jackson-Williams, becoming involved in community advocacy was second nature. “We call my mother and father the Malcolm X and Martin Luther King combo,” Cherryl said in an interview with the South Seattle Emerald. “My mother is very flower-child … my dad, is like ‘Burn it down if we can’t make it work.’”
Community members are encouraged to join and provide input at “Local Foods, Local Places Virtual Workshop” sessions which will be held Monday through Thursday of next week. Organized by the Urban Food Systems Pact – Skyway (UFSPS), the events will help develop a community action plan to grow the local food economy and to improve access to healthy foods.
The sessions will explore possible food-related projects such as developing an affordable neighborhood farmer’s market, a food hub with a commercial kitchen for entrepreneurs, or a gardening program led by BIPOC elders.
The purpose of the workshop is to form a short-term action plan for improving access to local foods to be implemented through the next two to five years.
A new HUD EnVision Center is set to open in the old U.S. Bank building in Skyway in 2023 — providing connections to economic, health, and other resources — after U.S. Bank donated the land and the building to the King County Housing Authority (KCHA).
The space, which will be known as the Skyway Resource Center and is located at 12610 76th Ave. S., will replace and expand on the existing mobile resource center the Renton Innovation Zone Partnership (RIZP) launched roughly a year ago to provide resources during the pandemic.
“For too long, Skyway has not received sufficient public and private investment, and that has slowed the development of economic opportunities and the provision of needed community services,” Stephen Norman, KCHA’s executive director, wrote in a statement released by U.S. Bank. “We are excited to work with the Skyway community and King County to reverse this trend and assist in the development of a new community asset that will provide additional tools and resources to help residents to move ahead.”
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.”