Liberty. Equality. Diversity. Those are urban ideals. But our cities don't always live up to those ideals.
In 2015, the Brookings Institution crunched US Census data and found 24 of the 50 largest American cities got whiter between 2010 and 2014. But whiteness still means wealth, so Seattle is losing livability by the second.
A city puts you next to people unlike you, and that is a social-justice issue, not just a matter of better restaurants. How can you work to create and maintain affordable housing in your own neighborhood? How can you persuade the residents of your street that parking is not more important than transit? We still do not have public restrooms for people with nowhere to go, nowhere even to wash for a job interview. Our public school system is even more woefully segregated than it was just a decade ago. Tell the billionaires their financing of charter schools is unacceptable.
To fight for the disenfranchised, to prioritize affordability and transit, you must be informed. How would Seattle residents do on a quiz about the mayor's housing plans? Follow local news even if you're skeptical of the media; without you, journalism can't get better, and the city can't stem the tide of rising homogeneity. We need intrepid critics. Read free local publications and purchase subscriptions to others.
Cities are where we are supposed to remember each other. You don't need to be an asshole to fail other people. You just need to forget them. Density is a wake-up call. So is riding public transit. Use it.
Do not fall into the belief that a "liberal" city is a liberal city all by itself. Every city that's getting whiter and wealthier—including Oakland, DC, Austin, Atlanta, Charlotte, Colorado Springs, Denver, Oklahoma City, Portland, Raleigh, Detroit, New York City, Los Angeles, Dallas, Louisville, Nashville, Baltimore, Kansas City, New Orleans, and Seattle, beloved Seattle—has to get off its high horse and self-criticize. We do it in big ways and small. Public and private. At work, too. White men working at white-male-majority Amazon, not the only but the largest such company in Seattle, do something every day to correct this. There are thousands of you, and you have a role. You are so important. Put pressure on your HR supervisors and managers and CEOs to use their power to create a more equitable workplace and city. When you see people experiencing homelessness in your neighborhood, let them be innocent until proven guilty. Rich neighborhoods, stand up and invite them in.
Cities are inclusive, equitable, and just only if we make them that way.Read the full feature The Resistance: How to Defeat Donald Trump's Plot Against America