In 1946, the Wedgwood Community Club – the precursor to the Wedgwood Community Council (WCC) – formed and continued representing the neighborhood until 1971. In 1987, what we now know as the WCC formed as the city was creating a formal neighborhood council structure through the city’s new Department of Neighborhoods. Since that time, the WCC has continued to represent our neighborhood with periodic dips and peaks in engagement and activity natural to most volunteer neighborhood organizations.
The events over the last few months throughout our country and here locally have weighed heavy on the hearts of all WCC board members and shown a light on the pervasive inequities and unjust treatment our Black and Brown neighbors have experienced for centuries as a result of overt and systemic racism. With this in mind, we have taken time to reflect on our history and the actions of the WCC over the years and how we have contributed to perpetuating racist and oppressive systems and policies in our community. And while the WCC has never previously delved into social issues, we are compelled to acknowledge our past.
Wedgwood was named by Edith Balch, the wife of developer Albert Balch who platted Wedgwood, after her favorite line of English china. However, long before this, Wedgwood was part of the unceded ancestral lands of the Duwamish People. The WCC would like to formally acknowledge that our neighborhood resides upon the traditional lands of the first people of Seattle – the Duwamish People past and present – and honor with gratitude the land itself and the Duwamish Tribe.
The WCC also wants to affirm that we believe in no uncertain terms, along with so many of our neighbors and local businesses, that Black Lives Matter. We stand with our Black and Brown neighbors in support of true equity with the hope of creating a community that is more welcoming and safe for everyone. Further, the WCC board of trustees would like to unreservedly apologize for actions of our organization and its members throughout our existence which may have supported systemically racist institutions and systems. We are unaware of any overt racism or intentionally discriminatory actions or decisions taken by the WCC or those on the board of trustees. Nevertheless, we acknowledge that past actions to “protect” or “preserve” a restricted neighborhood born out of racist covenants, discriminatory lending practices, and exclusionary real estate practices perpetuate the inherently racist systems that shape our community – like so many others.
We believe Wedgwood is a beautiful neighborhood filled with wonderfully welcoming people which belies this unfortunate past – the effects of which persist to this day. We are committed to advocating for a beloved community which is more inclusive, equitable, and safe for all who live, work, and visit Wedgwood. This brief statement and apology is just one step.
For more information or to inquire about ways to get involved with the WCC, please reach out and contact us.