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Town Hall Seattle: Civics Series

Town Hall’s Civics series highlights everything from local policies to world politics. These events offer perspectives on a range of topics as diverse as Seattle itself—a bustling forum for activism, discovery, and thought-provoking discussion.

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Jun 4, 2018

Seattle’s Central District has undergone changes of identity and witnessed the rising presence of many communities of color. But are these communities thriving now, and who is welcome in today’s CD? Town Hall’s Inside/Out Neighborhood Resident Erik Molano invited us to explore these questions and more, as well as the Central District’s history with a diverse array of storytellers, panelists, and speakers.

Storytellers from the CD’s Asian, Jewish, and Black communities took the stage to recount the history of these populations and their growth within the Central District, and explored the neighborhood’s connection to Chinatown and Africatown. Take this opportunity to reflect on stories of the Central District, and to hear the experiences and directions of communities of color and the future of this evolving neighborhood.


Erik Molano is Town Hall’s 2018 Inside/Out Neighborhood Resident representing Capitol Hill and the Central District. He is a graphic designer, prolific event organizer, and co-founder of Photon Factory (a hybrid organization that is half design studio and half community space). He lends his design background to connect Seattle’s creative professionals with social justice organizations. Erik believes that Seattle has the characteristics necessary to create a true social shift, and he encourages Seattle towards becoming the world’s first self-designing community.

Bradley Horst is the co-organizer of this event miniseries. He is currently studying at the University of Washington for a PhD in History, organizes with the Seattle People’s Party, and is a lead organizer for Queers for Nikkita.


Annie Galarosa is an educator and grandmother. She has lived in the Central District all her life, after her parents emigrated from the Philippines. In college, she was highly involved in the Asian Student Coalition at Seattle Central College. For decades, she has been an esteemed educator in intercultural communications, student counseling, and crisis intervention. She has worked with the Filipino American National Historical Society, and her father is a Congressional Gold Medal winner for fighting in World War II in support of the United States and in liberation of the island nation of the Philippines. Her father is 101 years old and still lives in his home in the Central District.

Elmer Dixon is an activist involved in social change since the “Black Power Movement” of the 1960’s growing up with his family in Seattle’s Central District, a melting pot neighborhood. It was there he and his siblings learned to judge a person by their character not by the color of their skin. After meeting Bobby Seale, in 1968, he co-founded the Seattle Black Panther Party where he helped organize Police Alert Patrols to monitor and halt police abuse along with the Children’s Free Breakfast Program, Free Medical Clinics and Food Programs.

As Director of a Girls and Boys club, he continued to work in disenfranchised communities to deliver better services. He served as EEO Officer for Seattle Parks and the Mayor’s Cabinet before joining Executive Diversity Services. Continuing his passion for social justice, Elmer has worked in the field of Human Rights, Multiculturalism and Inclusion for the past 35 years and now serves as President of Executive Diversity Services.

Wyking Garrett is a third generation community builder, social entrepreneur and recognized change agent from the Africatown-Central District neighborhood in Seattle WA, Wyking design programs and initiatives that catalyze, mobilize and activate communities for social impact. He is the chief strategist for the Africatown Seattle community development initiative and has been a co-catalyst for several ventures including the Africatown Community Land Trust, Liberty Bank Building, Umoja PEACE Center, Hack The CD, Black Dot and Africatown Center for Education Innovation. Wyking was the recipient of the 2014 Center for Ethical Leadership Legacy Leadership Award, Tabor 100 2016 Crystal Eagle Award. He is also an inaugural member of the Seattle Music Commission and past fellow with national green advocacy organization, Green For All.

Linda Elman grew up in the Central Area in an orthodox Jewish home. After graduating from Garfield, she left Seattle and returned to the Pacific Northwest over 30 years ago. Having retired from a career as a public school research and evaluation guru, she now teaches Hebrew school for Temple de Hirsch Sinai, gives school tours of the Pike Place Market, give tours of “Historical Jewish Seattle” for the Washington State Jewish Historical Society. She is a docent at the Holocaust Center for Humanity, and can often be found at the McCaw Hall gift shop.

Marie Kidhe is the Facilities, Rentals and Events Manager, at the Northwest African American Museum. A proud Seattle native, the Ugandan-American party planner is no stranger to event management. As the former Assistant Manager and Event coordinator for the popular Good Hair Salon, Marie was happily connected to the Museum via their partnership; leading to her consulting in the planning of NAAM’s AfroPunk Bash, Get the Tea: Beauty, Power and Womanhood and Groove and Give Bash before formally becoming a part of the Museum staff. Ms. Kidhe’s background consists of various administrative management positions within the nonprofit and private sector, while heavily involving herself in the connection of talented people and the volunteering of their services (hers included) for a variety of local charitable events. Marie has a BS in International Business.  Marie is excited to involve and develop her vast network and community engagement skills to the greatness of NAAM.

Recorded live at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute by Town Hall Seattle on Wednesday, May 30, 2018.