Hard Goodbyes 2020 – Final Edition

Mary and Anneke at the HEH Hall of Fame happy hour in February. Photo by Steve Schimmelman.

After more than 10 years of working with students, our project must say goodbye to our final team of project assistants, Anneke Karreman and Mary Lacey. Mary graduated from Seattle University in March 2020 and continued with us as a temporary employee; Anneke, who started working with us two years ago as a rising junior, graduated in June and has been freelancing. We never want to say goodbye to our students; knowing this is the last team is bittersweet, but what a tremendous year of accomplishments it’s been. This, in spite of our team working together from a very long distance as of March. In their words, we share their favorite work on behalf of our partners, and reflect on what they learned.

 

We always ask our student assistants to reflect on what made them proud. Not surprisingly, both Anneke and Mary chose the same activity as their proudest accomplishment as a team member.

What is your proudest accomplishment (personally)? How about as a team member?

Mary: As a team member, my proudest moment was Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day (HHAD) 2020, hosted by Washington Low Income Housing Alliance, and our Housing Postcard Mosaic. It was rewarding to see our effort to represent Seattle University and ourselves at the state capitol to directly impact legislation. We were able to create a mosaic postcard project to visualize ending homelessness by building affordable housing. We illustrated individual efforts coming together as one to solve homelessness. Through our project, we were able to bring the voices of the Seattle University community to legislators and gather voices at HHAD to impact housing policies within our state. Anneke and I further describe our experience in a blog post that goes into depth about HHAD 2020.

A closer look at some of the postcard designs from the mosaic. From afar, the postcards resemble different apartment buildings.

Anneke: As a Project Assistant, my proudest accomplishment this year was the Postcard Mosaic we brought to the Capitol for Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day (HHAD) in early February. Working for the Project for almost two years now, I am privileged to have gone to two HHAD rallies and have created two installations. What made this one special, besides attending with my wonderful co-workers and vocal supporters, was the feeling of community and unity that the display created. Not only did we gain support from Seattle University, we also set up a table beside the display in Olympia so that people at the rally could voice their support in written form. Some of the lawmakers did not show up to meet with HHAD attendees during their scheduled times; I like to think that by providing an option of written support, the HHAD advocates who wrote and signed postcards were able to have a lasting impact on representatives’ perspectives of the needs of people experiencing homelessness and housing instability.

Here are a couple pictures of the HHAD Mosaic and action in Olympia!

Mary and Anneke proudly present the display in Olympia.
A view of the exhibit from the steps of the Legislative Building, HHAD 2020.
A sea of red scarves on the steps of the Legislative Building in Olympia, HHAD 2020.

Shifting to a different state…When campus closed in mid-March due to the pandemic, Mary — who had just graduated days before — flew home to Wisconsin. There she pondered whether to vote in person for the April primary.

Mary: The proudest moment I felt personally was writing about my experience voting in Wisconsin during the pandemic. At first, I was nervous to write about my experience, but to see the positive messages from my family and friends was assuring that my story came across well. I felt that I brought a unique perspective to the project by sharing my experience in Wisconsin and my family’s influence on my passion for civic engagement.

A voter with a homemade sign waiting in line outside Washington High School, one of Milwaukee’s five polling places open on Election Day. Photo: Patricia McKnight, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

What did you most enjoy working on, if different from above?

Mary: I really enjoyed working on the 2019 Seattle City Council Housing and Homelessness Voters Guide alongside Tech 4 Housing and Resolution to End Homelessness. I got the opportunity to reach out to candidates from each of the seven districts to learn about their proposed solutions to addressing homelessness. Additionally, I became more interested in local politics and the role of city council in passing legislation and allocating resources that affect housing issues in our city. Although I do not vote in King County, because of my involvement in this project I became a better-informed Seattle resident by learning about city council candidates and elections.

Housing Voter Forum in July 2019, moderated by Michael Hobbes. Speakers: Lauren McGowan, Dr. Richard Waters, Colleen Echohawk, Lisa Daugaard.

What skills have you developed/enhanced?

Mary: One of the greatest skills I enhanced at the project was my communication skills. Being able to work with Catherine and other communications professionals increased my writing, social media, and oral presentation skills. Another skill I improved was my creativity in event planning and outreach efforts while working on the project. I learned how to effectively engage an audience in advocacy work which will help me in future career positions in public service.

Mary and Anneke set up a campus board promoting the October Housing Voter Forum.

Anneke: What I feel like I most developed this year was confidence in my work and in my decision-making. I am often the person to be most critical of my work. With the support my peers, colleagues, and partner organizations we’ve worked with, I’ve started to open up to the compliments and take them to heart (without reminiscing about what I should change after a project is over!). I also think my communications skills have improved over the last year by working with our partner organizations and creating specific pieces for them.

Anneke’s poster design for the HEH Hall of Fame in February, which honored SU community members working to solve homelessness.

What have you learned about family homelessness? How have your views changed?

Mary: Although I learned a lot about family homelessness as a project assistant, I continue to learn about the causes, effects, and struggles of those experiencing homelessness. One of the most important aspects of housing and homelessness is the relation to racial justice. While learning about disproportional data among King County residents and Washington students, I learned that Black and Native people experience higher rates of homelessness and housing insecurity. Additionally, understanding the racist policies and practices within the housing and homelessness sector helped me unlearn notions I had about the non-profit sector, American history, and our government’s role in creating and perpetuating institutional racism. As a project assistant, I understood the importance of having culturally appropriate services beyond building affordable housing to meet the needs of those experiencing homelessness. I realized the importance of having those with lived experience at the head of the solutions to ensure effectiveness and accessibility to essential services and resources. [Mary wrote about unlearning the narrative about racism in housing here.]

Anneke: In light of the racial and systemic inequities and injustice exposed by the death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless other Black lives cut too short, I am inspired to expand my awareness about homelessness and housing insecurity through many lenses. These include different lived experiences including (but not limited to) race, class, mental health, physical health, accessibility of education, employment, and location. Unfortunately, a combination of these differences can make a person more vulnerable to homelessness. I want to carry this intensified awareness with me so I can be supportive for people in different situations.

One of the infographics Anneke created for our partner Schoolhouse Washington focuses on the racial disparities among students experiencing homelessness.

How would you measure our impact among your family/friends, campus and the community?

Mary: Over the past ten years, the project has been creating helpful content that educates people on campus and among the greater Seattle community about homeless and housing insecurity. The project is able to educate those who may have not been involved with homelessness previously and facilitates an environment to help others be effective advocates for change. My casual conversations about Seattle’s expensive housing market led to important conversations with friends and family about issues within our housing system. Identifying racist policies, practices, and legislation led to discussions about housing and homelessness advocacy. This led to close friends and family taking action on an individual level to do their part, whether it’s saying hello to a person living on the street, building tiny homes through Facing Homelessness’ Block Project, or voting for a candidate who supports the Housing First model.

The popular sticker of Facing Homelessness.

Anneke: The Project definitely has had a profound impact on my family and close friends who are often a part of intense conversations on the topic of homelessness and housing insecurity. The knowledge and awareness I have gained during my time as a project assistant will stick with me as a voting citizen and wherever life takes me. I believe that our presence on the SU campus and within the Seattle community has had a positive impact on community engagement with opportunities for people to voice their support of affordable housing and people experiencing homelessness, as well as educate and congregate people around issues like the ones mentioned above.

Anneke with her dad, Frank, in Olympia. Frank, an architect, helped Anneke design and build the frame, and came to HHAD both 2019 and 2020 to help us set it up. Thank you Frank!

The project benefited from the fact that Anneke and Mary were already friends before working on this project.

How did your friendship affect what you were able to accomplish as a team?

Mary: Overall, I think our friendship improved our work at the project. We were able to have extensive conversations outside of work about how we can improve the work we do that led us to be able to problem-solve more effectively. We felt very comfortable sharing our thoughts with each other, including constructive criticism when necessary. Overall, I think working together improved our friendship, and I have a deeper appreciation for Anneke as I got to know her as a co-worker.

“Working Apart, Together” – An image Anneke created for use by our partners, and an apt description of our final six months together.

Anneke: At first, I was slightly worried that our friendship may have a negative impact on our productivity as Project Assistants, but that was proven wrong pretty quickly! Already having an understanding of each other and ability to talk openly about tough topics improved our productivity and we were able to accomplish a lot in a small amount of time! Even though some of our projects were no longer feasible given COVID-19 status [such as their plans for an Affordable Housing Week event on campus in May], I am super proud of what we did as a team and had fun along the way.

What are your goals and next steps professionally? How will you incorporate what you learned on our project into your career?

Mary: Working on the project opened up my understanding of intersectionality and the role housing has on many social issues that I am interested in, including urban planning, transportation, civic engagement, sustainability, youth incarceration, and so many more! Although I am unsure what the next steps are in my career, I will take a critical lens to our systems and institutions to improve the communities we live in.

Photo of light rail by SounderBruce/WikipediaCommons

Mary also used her interest in transportation to work with Anneke on a 15-second promotional video for Stand Down Seattle, displayed in Metro transit centers where bus drivers could see them.

Anneke: Below is a picture of my, Zephyr — how relaxed I wish to be!

Role model Zephyr. A good dog.

I would ideally apply to jobs that are at the intersection of my interests – art & design, social justice, racial equity, climate justice, and/or sustainability. As you can see I have a lot of interests so I feel like there should be something out there! (Fingers crossed). What I have learned during my experience at the Project is highly valuable as I have worked in a nonprofit, collaborated with partner organizations, engaged the community, and worked on a highly collaborative team. I will also take my expanded perspective from learning about homelessness and vulnerable communities to make sure they are equally represented and considered in my work.

Any final thoughts?

Mary: I am very grateful for this opportunity to work with an amazing team who has positively impacted my experience at Seattle University. Thank you to Catherine, Anneke, IPS faculty and staff, friends, and family for the constant support and encouragement that you had for our work and my personal development as a project assistant. I will carry the lessons and knowledge I gained from this experience into my personal and professional life to advocate for housing security for all people.

At the HEH Hall of Fame in February: Our IPS colleague Lindsay Ohab; Anneke; Mary: SU Social Work adjunct professor David Moser. Photo by Steve Schimmelman.

Anneke: I will definitely miss everyone who I interacted with within the Institute of Public Service. It was such a pleasure and inspiration to be surrounded with people who truly care about the welfare of others and the environment we live in. This passion has become a part of me. Of course I will also miss our tiny but mighty Project team! The wealth of knowledge I have gained from you and experiences I have been privileged to be a part of will stay with me forever! THANK YOU!!!

The team at HHAD 2020 along with Professor Zach Wood, our colleague from SU’s Institute of Public Service, who joined us for the day.

 

Coda: After they wrote this post, Anneke and Mary finished two more projects:

The cover page from Anneke and Mary’s three-part COVID Kit for young people.
  1. A “COVID Kit” Instagram series for young people, produced mid-August to support Public Health – Seattle and King County.
  2. A slide show on our project’s history, highlighting some of our favorite projects and remembering some of our best collaborations. 

Thank you Anneke and Mary! Your contributions to our partners will last long after our project has ended.

“Experts on Our Own Experiences” — HHAD 2020 in Olympia

By Anneke Karreman and Mary Lacey, edited by Catherine Hinrichsen

Our project assistants traditionally create an event to support Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day (HHAD) in Olympia during the legislative session. For the second year, our student team, Anneke Karreman and Mary Lacey, chose to host an advocacy postcard project that would culminate in an art installation in front of the Legislative Building (aka “The Capitol”) in Olympia. Anneke had participated last year; Mary was a newcomer to HHAD.

Mary and Anneke at the HHAD rally in Olympia.

Another tradition is their reflection on the day. Here they talk about how they conceived of this project, what they learned, and what they advise for future students working on the project.

What were your expectations before HHAD, and what’s your perspective now after participating?

Mary: At first, I was intimidated by HHAD, but excited for my first time at the Washington state capitol to be advocating for housing and homelessness. I was hesitant about meeting with legislators due to power dynamics between elected officials and their constituents; however, the feeling of uncertainty was overtaken by excitement after the Morning Call to Action where 43rd District Rep. Nicole Macri [who represents the district SU is within] ensured advocates that we are experts on our own experiences, and those experiences are extremely valuable to motivating lawmakers to act. Upon reflection, I realized the power of showing up for important causes and participating in the legislative process. All of the organizers from WLIHA, workers at the capitol, and attendees were inclusive and welcoming, and that encouraged a welcoming, comfortable, and safe environment to engage in. I am grateful that I got to be a part of a state-wide alliance of solidarity that sparked inspiration, engagement, and advocacy.

Rep. Nicole Macri at the HHAD Call to Action. Macri, probably the most experienced legislator in Washington when it comes to homelessness direct service, represents the district (43) that Seattle U resides in. Macri is also an SU alumnus. Photo courtesy of WLIHA.

Anneke: Since I was lucky enough to participate in my first HHAD last year (2019), I felt like I had a sense of what it was going to be like a second time around. Even with its similarities, there were many with a slightly different twist. The “morning call to action” was hosted at the Washington Center for Performing Arts because the sign-up had grown from the year before, which was a good sign! [WLIHA moved the event from the longtime United Churches gathering place because, with 700 registrants, we had outgrown it.] It included a good luck and unifying prayer by a Chief Seattle Club Elder in her native tongue, and drumming performance by other club members. This was different from the year before because the prayer and drumming was only done at the rally itself. I really appreciated how the organizers of HHAD had a stronger focus on Indigenous Washington residents this year. At the rally, leader Colleen Echohawk from the Chief Seattle Club underscored the Indigenous People’s original success in housing before colonization and current fight to reclaim it and their culture. Symbolically, Rep. Debora Lekanoff of the 40th legislative district also spoke at the rally and excited the crowd as the first Native American woman to be elected to the House of Representatives.

Among the many legislators who spoke at the rally: Sen. Joe Nguyen of the 37th District — Seattle U’s Alumnus of the Year for 2020. Photo courtesy of WLIHA.

What was the postcard project, what was your role, and why did you decide to do it?

Anneke: This year, we continued the legacy of the postcard project within the SU and Washington state community. We also used last year’s installation display of the house to display the cards down at the Capitol. However, the concept was different this year. We decided to use the display as a vehicle for a mosaic of the postcards themselves. I designed 11 different variations of postcards to help construct and illustrate “beautiful multi-family housing,” as Colleen Echohawk mentioned in her speech. Each piece represents a “building block” for affordable housing, as they each were a voice from a different advocate. As a whole, they combine as the collective voice for the support of affordable housing. Side by side on the panels, the bright colors of the installation managed to attract advocates at the rally and we were able to gather more postcards for legislators! Thanks to my dad who agreed to come along for his second HHAD experience; also, he was able to staff the table when we had to race off to go to a legislative meeting with a Senator.

A team effort: With five of us, it took about 45 minutes to get from start…
…to finish.

Mary: The postcard project was an attempt to gather different voices, perspectives, and stories of those who could not attend HHAD but still have their messages heard by legislators. Anneke and I wanted to elevate the project from last year by having the structure serve as a mosaic installation for the postcards. We wanted the mosaic to represent each individual voice who helps to build affordable housing which completed a bigger image of multi-family housing. To accomplish our goal of 200 postcards, we tabled in the Student Center on four different days to encourage students, faculty, and staff to share their messages on housing and homelessness to their elected officials.

Additionally, we reminded them that they are a part of the larger image of helping to build affordable homes by filling out a postcard and adding it to the mosaic. At the HHAD rally, the mosaic was on display for advocates to read and participate in, to further demonstrate support for legislative action to address homelessness and housing insecurity. While advocates and legislators were encouraging the crowd, the image of the mosaic could be seen from the Legislative Building steps, further illustrating support for the construction and preservation of affordable housing.

Anneke and Mary had determined that the structure would need at least 140 different postcards to create the mosaic. They hosted four tabling events at SU in January to collect the postcards. Each postcard featured key messages about housing legislation, with space for advocates to write their own personal messages.

What worked well with the tabling events, and what would you change if you did it again?

Mary: At the tabling events, it was helpful to have part of the structure physically there to show the community where the postcards were being displayed. Having the visual imagery helped participants engage and get excited about their contribution to the project. Next year, it would be helpful to know who the postcards were going to beforehand, so we could encourage the community to personalize their message to certain legislators. [Each year, we need to address the postcards to two or three key legislators just before HHAD, depending where the bilks have moved by that point in the session.] Additionally, it might be helpful to have an additional location for tabling, to reach different audiences such as residence halls and other academic buildings.

A group of people standing in a room

Description automatically generated
Anneke and Mary tabling at Cherry Street Market, engaging students in writing postcards to legislators.

Anneke: In terms of collecting enough postcards for the installation (140), we were able to do so with the four student tabling sessions at the Student Center. The first tabling session was lunchtime on a Friday, which I think helped us get more postcards than on the other days since students were excited for the weekend and had some extra time. At both lunchtime sessions, we were able to get more student engagement than at dinnertime, so if I were to schedule the tabling times again, it would be for all lunchtime. I also noticed that it worked to ask individuals, rather than to aim for groups of people. If someone is on their own, they may have more time to talk than if they were already socializing with friends. Over the days, I definitely learned to underscore how short of a time it would take to do the activity since many of the excuses not to participate was that they were busy.

Anneke and Mary at the first tabling event, wondering whether they would be able to collect enough postcards to fill the mosaic. They did!

On HHAD morning, we met near SU and set out for Olympia. We attended the Morning Call and our district meetings. Then we walked over to the capitol campus to install the structure. With our five-person team of Anneke, Mary and Catherine plus Prof. Wood and Anneke’s dad, Frank, it took about 45 minutes; we were ready for the noontime rally.

What’s one moment or memory that stands out to you from the day in Olympia?

Anneke: One memory that stands out to me from HHAD 2020 was the engagement that we were able to get at the actual rally itself. I think it may have to do with the way we decided to display the postcards this time around. Instead of having the illustrations alternate on the exterior of the display [every other card was flipped], we inverted them so the illustrations faced the rally itself. This way, you didn’t have to walk around the display to see the most engaging part of the postcard. During the rally, we were able to gather about 30 more postcards and that way be more representative of advocates and different regions.

Mary and Anneke at the rally, with hundreds of people wearing red scarves behind them.

Mary: The most memorable moment for me was at the rally on the steps in front of the Legislative Building. From helping attendees fill out postcards at the bottom of the steps and looking up to see hundreds of red scarves showing support for housing and homelessness advocacy was a special moment. Additionally, the presence of the Indigenous community brought an essential component of housing and homelessness, as Colleen Echohawk from the Chief Seattle Club acknowledged that “there is no justice on stolen land.” Another meaningful aspect of the rally was having the support and voices of legislators from a variety of districts as they spoke about the work being done in the house and senate to address homelessness and housing insecurity. HHAD highlighted the collaborative efforts between advocates and legislatures that advance positive change throughout the state.

What are you most proud of from your experience at HHAD?

Anneke: I am most proud of the ability to represent voices at the state government level that would otherwise not be heard. Civic engagement often has many barriers to participation, especially if you are a busy student, staff or faculty on campus. Also, the Capitol is an hour or so away from campus, which can be a limiting factor if you do not a have a convenient form of transportation available. I am also very proud of the complicated design we were able to pull off in such a short timeframe! Especially, during a busy time of school. Overall, it went rather smoothly in terms of time management and flexibility of schedules to accommodate what we needed to accomplish.

Mary: I am most proud of our ability to bring our creative vision to life in a short amount of time. Through effective collaboration and organization, we managed to deliver over 200 postcards with 11 different designs and ensure the mosaic would be complete. I am incredibly lucky to work with intelligent, hardworking, and dedicated people who continue to impress me with their ability to create engaging and meaningful projects.

A sample postcard, filled out by an SU student.

A view from rally attendees as we listen to legislators speak to the crowd next to the mosaic.

Would you do this again if you had the choice? What would you tell future project assistants about this experience to make it easier for them?

Anneke: I would do this event again given the chance. I think it is super important for civic engagement of students on campus with issues like housing affordability and homelessness. By engaging and educating about the subject there is an opportunity to change perspective and future action, which is priceless! To make this project easier for project assistants in the future, I would advise them to plan ahead. [This year’s HHAD was much earlier than in 2019 because of the shorter legislative session, 60 days in even years.] As soon as you get the main idea, work on a schedule to lay out deadlines and anything else you think is necessary for the project to be successful. Communication is key. Make sure to have be able to clearly communicate your idea with others and its feasibility.

Catherine, Mary, Anneke, and Zach in front of the display of postcards before delivering them to Speaker of the House Rep. Laurie Jinkins, Majority Leader Sen. Andy Billig, and Representative Nicole Macri.

Mary: I would absolutely participate in HHAD again. It created a unique opportunity to gather like-minded individuals and collaborate to make a difference through civic engagement. HHAD opened my eyes to the importance of organizing and demonstrating the power of the people. It’s essential to keeping our democracy alive and our elected officials accountable. Although I didn’t get to meet all of the legislators from my district this year, I would love to meet them next year to continue an important dialogue about housing affordability and security. For future project assistants, I would encourage them to step outside their comfort zone to make connections and start an important conversation about housing and homelessness within their communities. Further, I would encourage them to tap into their creativity to contribute innovative messaging and advocacy projects that engage different audiences. HHAD encouraged me to bring my advocacy into the different spaces in my life to generate greater support to create change.

Lastly, who would you thank and why?

Anneke: I would like to thank my fellow team members, Catherine and Mary, who each uniquely filled in the gaps of my wildly unorganized creative brain for their attention to detail, sensibility, and planning skills. We each had an important role to play in the outcome of this project being a success, down to the very small details. I also want to thank Prof. Zachary Wood for his company and moral support at the Capitol, it was such a pleasure to have your presence and expertise! Also thank you to WLIHA for the coordination and providing a means to get our installation down to the actual event; we couldn’t have had the same impact if you weren’t willing to help us with this element.

HHAD is something that I will remember for the rest of my life because it was the first real frontline advocacy work I’ve done and toward such prevalent issues in Washington State.

Anneke and her dad, Frank, the architect who designed the structure.

Mary: I would like to thank the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance for hosting and organizing this important day. I would like to commend my fellow project assistant, Anneke, who spent long hours designing 11 different postcards in a short amount of time while also being a hardworking student. Additionally, Anneke and I could not have done this without our Project Director, Catherine, who supported our vision for the postcard project and ensured its success. Also, special thanks to Prof. Zachary Wood and Frank Karreman for attending the event with and helping us set up the art installation. Lastly, we could not have done this project without the engagement of the community who took the time to fill out postcards, the mosaic would not be complete without you!

Our beautiful Capitol dome at the end of the day. Photo by Anneke.

Our thanks to the staff at WLIHA, especially Caroline Lopez and John Stovall, for their help securing the approval for us to install the mosaic in front of the Legislative Building and for moving the pieces of the structure to and from Olympia. Thanks also to our Facilities Department at SU for yet again helping us move pieces of an art installation in the Puget Sound region!

Collective Urgency, Spirit of Support — Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day 2019

HHAD 2019 Olympia A&C with structure

By Connor Crinion and Anneke Karreman, Project Assistants, Seattle University Project on Family  Homelessness

 

Note: Every year our student project assistants create a special event to support Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day (HHAD) in Olympia, and every year there’s a special twist that reflects the creativity and energy of that team. So when more than 600 advocates from around the state filled the steps of the Legislative Building on Feb. 28, 2019, they saw something new and different: a special art installation created by our project assistants, Anneke and Connor. They reflect on what they’ll take away from this whole experience, which started last fall with the eviction reform fact sheets they created for WLIHA.

 

What were your expectations before HHAD, and what’s your perspective now after participating?

Anneke: What I thought about HHAD before I got there was chanting on the steps and meeting with legislators about housing and homelessness advocacy, but in reality it turned out to be much more. It was a bonding experience in that everyone was there for the same thing, but with different levels of experience and different lived experiences. It didn’t matter if you had gone before or not; everyone was welcome.

HHADflier(FINALcorrected SINGLE)_1-11-19
Because WLIHA was short-staffed on communications this year, they asked us for help creating a flier. Here’s the flier Anneke designed.

Connor: In some ways, HHAD was similar to the expectations that I had, and in other ways it was quite different. Meeting with legislators and legislative aides felt familiar, as I’ve done that in the past at various lobby days that I’ve attended. However, HHAD also provided a sense of community that I’ve never felt before while engaged in advocacy—meeting advocates and activists throughout the day felt like being welcomed into a broad community. Whether the connection was fleeting, or something that may last more long-term, it felt powerful to connect with others based on our shared values.

Photo Feb 28, 1 43 54 PM (1)
Part of the HHAD community: SU Prof. Rashmi Chordiya joined us for the day, and our partner Eric Bronson of Firesteel/ YWCA Seattle-King-Snohomish was among the many advocates we saw that day. Here, Rashmi, Anneke, Eric and Connor pose in front of the flag of King County and other Washington counties, in the Legislative Building.

What was the postcard project, what was your role, and why did you decide to do it?

IMG_6961
Connor and Anneke at one of the postcard tabling events, in Cherry Street Market, our main dining facility.

Anneke: This project was designed to educate and engage the community at Seattle University to advocate for different policies regarding student homelessness, eviction reform, and affordable housing in Washington state.  To expand on the successful advocacy postcard project that Katie, Madison and Tess did last year, we thought up a way for the postcards to be displayed in a way that also alluded to the spirit of support for those who experience housing instability and loss. We decided on a “house”-like structure to symbolize the intrinsic importance of the home and the foundation it provides for a person’s success and well being.

The postcards I designed utilize the human symbol of the hand and connect it to the home through its combination with household belongings.

 

HHAD Tabling Event 2_2-20-19_by Hallie three cards
Anneke’s friend Hallie came by the tabling event and became one of our most enthusiastic supporters. Here she displays the three postcards, each with a different theme related to this year’s legislative agenda. Photo by Hallie.

 

Connor: My contributions to the display structure and postcard project mainly related to writing the copy for the postcards, legislative research, and handling some of the logistics related to placing the structure on the Capitol campus in Olympia. To help in writing the copy, I was able to draw in knowledge from classes and past work experiences to better inform how we discussed and framed issues of eviction, affordable housing, cost burden for renters, and the challenges faced by students experiencing homelessness.

hhad-tabling-event-rudy.jpg
SU’s mascot, Rudy the Redhawk, stopped by one of our tabling events. “Home is a warm nest,” he wrote (with a little help from Connor).

I am grateful that collecting the advocacy postcards – nearly 200 — provided us with the opportunity to engage the Seattle University community in critical discussion about the tremendous need for housing in our city and state. For me, deciding to display the postcards allowed us to connect our community to the larger statewide movement for housing justice. Even though only Anneke and I were the only SU students to travel down to Olympia, our display was a reminder that we were joined in spirit by many remote advocates, both those from SU and others.

 

Photo Feb 28, 12 49 20 PM
We visited the office of Anneke’s representative, Sen. Christine Rolfes, who’s also the chair of Senate Ways & Means. Because of her leadership role, we delivered the postcards about affordable housing and student homelessness to her.

 

What’s one moment or memory that stands out to you from the day?

 

HHAD Olympia display from back
The postcards could be displayed on both sides of the structure; here’s the view looking up at the Legislative Building.

Anneke: One of the most compelling parts of HHAD to me was the drumming and prayer led from indigenous members from Chief Seattle Club. A woman from the Lakota tribe led the prayer which she spoke in both her first indigenous language, then in English. Sage was burned during this time and the rich smoke wafted from the parking lot up to the steps. There was something truly special about that moment, to hear the expression of an ancient and endangered language by a native leader. Her speech was also followed by a drumming session by members of the club.

HHAD Olympia Chief Seattle drum circle
Members of Chief Seattle Club led the crowd in drumming and prayer. Photo from Chief Seattle Club.

The rhythmic beat of the drum connected everyone there in that moment and made me think about how we all stood on indigenous land of the Duwamish tribe. It was also mentioned how Native Americans have been the top demographic to experience homelessness. In truth, it started a long time ago during the time of Westernization and assimilation and natives were forced from their home spaces.

Connor: One aspect that struck me was the scale and the collective urgency that I felt while participating. Gathering on the steps of the Legislative Building in Olympia with hundreds of other advocates was a moment that reminded me of the stakes of the day, and the potential impact that our advocacy could have on the lives of thousands of Washingtonians.

As WLIHA staff and other HHAD participants led chants with the 600-strong crowd gathered on the steps, I almost felt like I could feel the possibility of a world with more just eviction laws, more affordable housing, and fewer students experiencing homelessness. While obviously our chanting alone did not get us there, I believe the collective power that it represented will help us get a bit closer to that world.

 

HHAD Olympia rally
Advocates gather on the steps of the Legislative Building to rally for housing justice.

  

What are you most proud of from your experience at HHAD?

Anneke: I am most proud of the potential ways in which this project inspired people at HHAD, at Seattle University, and lawmakers to have conversations about housing affordability, eviction reform, and student homelessness. I really hope that lawmakers will read each postcard thoroughly.

HHAD Olympia with Chopp Anneke talking
At the 43rd District meeting, Anneke describes the project to Speaker Frank Chopp. Later, we delivered the eviction-themed postcards to him.

Possibly, the postcards will influence some of the outcome of some law decisions around housing and eviction reform.

IMG_6964
Last year, the sticker with the image of the red advocacy scarf was a big hit. Madison Vucci, our student design assistant last year and now SU alum, updated the sticker for 2019.

 

I am also proud of our team of three that enabled this installation to happen. It was a crazy idea to start out, which seemed unattainable at times, but all of our meetings discussing logistics and content paid off. I am honored that I could bring local Seattle voices to the Capitol and support those who need it the most through public art. As a team of only two project assistants, I am very proud of the way Connor and I brought our strengths to the table for this project.

HHAD Olympia Anneke and dad installing
Anneke’s dad, Frank Karreman, is an architect who designed the structure. He even came to Olympia to help us install it.

 

The video below, by Prof. Chordiya, shows a close-up of some of the postcard messages.

 

Connor: There’s a lot to be proud of. First and foremost, I think Anneke and her dad, Frank, deserve recognition and appreciation for the hard work that they put into creating the structure. Without them, displaying the postcards would not have been possible.

I am also proud of our entire team for the way that we collaborated to get the project done. From Catherine helping us through brainstorming and anticipating challenges, to the way Anneke and I collaborated to integrate the written messaging with the vision for the design of the hand, I think our collaboration and flexibility made this project possible.

HHAD Olympia installation roof
Anneke and Connor, directed by Anneke’s dad, Frank, install the roof on the display.

 

Lastly, a short thank you from Anneke and Connor:

In recognition that this project was a collaborative effort, we would like to conclude by thanking many of the people that helped make it possible. Many thanks to the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance for organizing this day, as well as Seattle University’s Facilities Team for their assistance in getting this project down to Olympia.

HHAD Olympia Dimitri
Dimitri Groce managed HHAD and took care of thousands of details. Thank you, Dimitri!

In particular, thank you to Dimitri Groce of WLIHA for all his support and encouragement throughout the process.

Thank you to our Project Supervisor Catherine for supporting us in every way throughout this project. Thank you Prof. Rashmi Chordiya for your positive presence and technical support at Olympia during the event.

 

 

HHAD Olympia A C C installation
The team at the end of a long but rewarding day: Connor, Catherine, Anneke. Photo by Rashmi Chordiya.

 

We’d also like to thank Kristina Sawyckyj, the 43rd District legislative lead (and SU student), for her support in our meeting with Speaker Chopp.

Thank you also to Frank Karreman; you made the “house” design come to life.

HHAD Olympia Frank and Anneke
Architect Frank Karreman and daughter, Anneke, a talented design team!

 

Finally, we are grateful to all the Seattle University students, faculty, staff, and community members who took the time to write a postcard — thank you for adding your voice to a statewide movement.

 

 

 

All photos by Catherine Hinrichsen unless otherwise noted. 

Katie’s Declassified HHAD Survival Guide

 

HHAD 2018 Katie Declassified Guide Cover.png
From the cover of my Declassified HHAD Survival Guide flipbook. L-R: Tess, Me, Madison.

By Katie Bradley, Project Assistant, Seattle University’s Project on Family Homelessness

 

For my Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day (HHAD) reflection, I decided to create a flipbook describing my experience and what I learned throughout the day. An online flipbook is a new version of the traditional flipbook — a series of pictures that appear to be animated when you flip through them quickly. I felt like HHAD was a lively growth experience for me, and wanted my reflection to be equally dynamic, both visually and physically.

I also wanted to provide insight into what HHAD was like for me and share what future HHAD attendees can expect throughout the day.

The “Declassified HHAD Survival Guide” flipbook showcases my experience, while providing recommendations for the process of preparing for, attending, and reflecting on Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day.

Continue reading

Overcoming Impostor Syndrome at Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day

HHAD Backgorund
Our team at HHAD. Image by Digital Design project assistant Madison Vucci.

By Tess Riski, Project Assistant, Seattle University’s Project on Family Homelessness

Up until recently, I had never considered myself to be an “advocate.” The term just didn’t seem to fit quite right. Being an advocate, I had thought to myself, was all about quantity, as if there is an advocacy checklist that looks something like this:

□ Attends multiple rallies each month;

□ Dedicates 40+ hours a week to saving the world;

□ Eats-drinks-breathes their chosen cause.

The more boxes you can tick off, I had thought to myself, the closer you are to being a bona-fide advocate. I didn’t tick many boxes, therefore I felt I simply did not meet the minimum qualifications.

Continue reading

“My Dream” — Khadija’s Reflection

By Khadija Diallo, Project Assistant, 2016-17

 

 

khadija-diallo-copy
Me at the beginning of the year.

 

For the past year, I have had the pleasure of working on the Project on Family Homelessness as a project assistant. It was my dream to be part of the project from the minute I heard about it. I wanted to start using my Strategic Communications skills for good and I knew I could have an impact on my community if I worked on this important Project.

I’m happy to say that I was right. Continue reading

Get Online and Advocate on Social Media Day of Action, Jan. 31

Note: This is an updated version of a post that originally ran on Firesteel in January 2016.

 

Use your social media skills to advocate for affordable housing and an end to homelessness on the fourth annual Social Media Day of Action, Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017.

Advocates around the state will flock to Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms that day to build an online movement as we lead up to Housing & Homelessness Advocacy Day (HHAD) in Olympia, Thursday, Feb. 2. HHAD is hosted by our partner, Washington Low Income Housing Alliance.

Continue reading

3rd Annual Social Media 101 for Housing Advocates Hangout, Jan. 27 – Register Now!

Social Media 101 photo
Erin Murphy of YWCA is one of the Hangout leaders; this is a screen shot from the first Hangout two years ago.

 

Effective use of social media is a great way to reach a target audience, and advocate for the issues you care about — like affordable housing and an end to homelessness.

So, join us on Tuesday, January 27 at 10:30 a.m. for our third annual “Social Media 101 for Housing Advocates” Hangout. Co-hosted with Firesteel and the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance, this will be a free training session for people who want to learn how to use social media to advocate online for affordable housing issues. The session will help you understand and use social media sites and apps like Twitter and Facebook, and show you how to join with organizations to be an online housing advocate.

There are two ways to access the training:

Option 1: Access Online By Yourself via Webinar

The organizers will be facilitating this workshop as a live Google Hangout video conference, running from 10:30-11:30 a.m. So, participants will be able to attend from anywhere they choose. Register now!

Option 2: Watch in a Room with Other Advocates

If you want a more hands-on approach, you can come to Seattle University’s Chardin Hall, room 145, to watch the live 45-minute webinar and exchange ideas and ask questions afterwards till about 12:30 p.m. Seattle U’s social media marketing specialist, Sarah Hyde, will be on hand to help us think through how we can use social media techniques to advocate year round. Coffee and snacks will be available. Please register by Friday, Jan. 23 for this option if you can.

Agenda for Option 2
10:30 – 11:30am      Video conference
11:30 – 12:30pm      Follow-up coaching and Q & A
Coffee and snacks will be provided. Please bring your own lunch.

We highly recommend that you bring your laptop and/or a mobile device with you, but it is not required. Paid parking is available on the street (12th Avenue is easiest) or in the Murphy garage.  There is also limited free two-hour parking in the streets east of the university. Please see this campus map for details on parking and room location.

Hope to see you there!