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February 2024 - Happy Black History Month!

Happy Black History Month! As we settle into 2024, the African Community Housing & Development team extends heartfelt gratitude for your unwavering support. Your dedication has played a crucial role in helping us achieve our mission to holistically promote prosperity for local African Diaspora communities.


Earlier this month, ACHD was honored to welcome former Councilmember and Black activist Larry Gossett to our SeaTac offices. In community, we celebrated Black History Month, Larry Gossett’s 79th Birthday, and the 2024 King County Larry Gossett Service Award (more on that below!).

ACHD welcomes former Councilmember Larry Gosset to our SeaTac offices and celebrates his birthday and commitment to equity.

During his visit, Councilmember Gossett spent time with our education students, telling stories and inspiring the kiddos. He encouraged our youth to dive into local Black history and get involved in making King County a more equitable place.


Amid these celebrations, our Marketing and Programs Coordinator Ekran Jibril had the opportunity to sit down with Councilmember Gossett for an interview. Amongst inspiring words for future generations, he peppered in incredible stories from his life, touching on his time in Harlem with the Domestic Peace Corps, teaching at Garfield High School, and Martin Luther King Jr.’s only visit to Seattle in 1961. Councilmember Gossett highlighted the many challenges that have faced our Black community in Seattle, both historically and today, specifically emphasizing the discriminatory housing practices the city has seen. Scroll to the bottom to read the full interview!


Did you know? Thanks to activism from folks like Larry Gossett, King County’s official name was changed to Martin Luther King County in 2005!


 

MAKING A DIFFERENCE

Every day the team at ACHD is helping folks change their lives for the better. Changes are driven by the motivation of our community members; they are the change makers - we are proud to provide the foundation and pathways for making those changes. I'd like to take this opportunity to share *Yared's story with you all. Yared spent years navigating the complicated housing, employment, and legal systems - being met with barrier after barrier. After being referred to ACHD's programming, our experienced case managers took time to listen to Yared's needs and aspirations. Today, Yared's court fees have been paid, he is safely housed and is working two jobs to build a foundation of wealth for years to come. It is fulfilling to be trusted by community members like Yared. We are encouraged by stories like his and look forward to an abundance of success 2024.


*Name changed to protect the anonymity of the community member served.


 

In related and exciting news, ACHD President and Co-Founder Hamdi Abdulle was honored with the Larry Gossett Service Award at the King County Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration. This award recognizes and affirms an individual who has made significant contributions in the areas of racial equity, social justice, and human rights.


"I'm for change, and I'm for a change that is coming from community. Through my work I have learned that the root cause of poverty is the information gap. We have a lot to learn about the struggles of those who first landed in the United States due to slavery. In King County, Larry Gossett kept the torch; he kept the dream alive, and it will be held high until we are able to dismantle the information gap." - Hamdi on receiving the Larry Gossett Service Award.


​Our commitment to our mission remains steadfast, and with your continued support, we are confident that 2024 will be a year of even greater accomplishments. Stay tuned for inspiring stories, updates on ongoing projects, and opportunities for you to get involved. Thank you for being an integral part of the ACHD community.


In Community,

Bilan Aden | Vice President & Co-Founder


FULL INTERVIEW:

On February 22nd, ACHD was honored to welcome former Councilmember and Black activist Larry Gossett to our SeaTac offices. In community, we celebrated Black History Month, Larry Gossett’s 79th Birthday, and the 2024 King County Larry Gossett Award (more on that below!).


During his visit, Councilmember Gossett spent time with our education students, telling stories and inspiring the kiddos. He encouraged our youth to dive into local Black history and get involved in making King County a more equitable place.


Amid these celebrations, our Marketing and Programs Coordinator Ekran, had the opportunity to sit down with Councilmember Gossett for an interview. Coupled with inspiring words for future generations, he peppered in incredible stories from his life and emphasized the importance of activism across multiple generations. His words remind us of King County’s 2024 Theme: passing the torch and continuing the journey.


As we explored his early leadership, Councilmember Gossett recounted his experiences as a Domestic Peace Corps Vista volunteer in Harlem. His time instilled in him a commitment to fighting disenfranchisement and empowering the Black community. Upon returning to Seattle, he joined S.N.C.C (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) to promote positive change.


Reflecting on the 1960s, Councilmember Gossett noted the challenges that faced Black Washingtonians. He emphasized the racial restrictions that were embedded in housing deeds and covenants, revealing discriminatory practices in 27 neighborhoods. These inequities fueled his involvement in local movements and government. Councilmember Gossett’s career showcases his devotion to promoting equitable homeownership, a topic close to the heart of ACHD.


Councilmember Gossett also recalled how Reverend Samuel Barry McKinney was able to influence Martin Luther King Jr. to visit Seattle, King’s only visit to the area. We can only imagine the impact that hearing Dr. King speak would have made on a 1961 Seattle.


When asked about what aspects of his incredible career were most important to him the former Councilmember shared four: teaching African American History at Garfield High School, spearheading the official renaming of Martin Luther King County, and championing an ordinance that would increase King County's diversity. He was also recognized as the 'father of Sound Transit' for his role in advocating for the Sound Transit system. Any one of these achievements could solidify one’s place in the history books, but Larry Gossett is not a “one-hit-wonder” kind of man.


As the interview came to a close, Councilmember Gossett encouraged ACHD's youth to embrace learning, challenge societal wrongs, and collaborate for democratic communities. His presence and words mark a valuable contribution to ACHD history.


We, the team at ACHD, want to express our heartfelt gratitude to former Councilmember Larry Gossett for enriching our community during Black History Month and Martin Luther King County for decades. Councilmember Gossett’s wisdom and legacy continue to inspire positive change and will for many years to come.


Thank you, Councilmember Gossett.


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