Luzviminda Uzuri Carpenter, also known as Lulu, is at the center of Seattle's community organizing scene. She works for the City of Seattle's LGBT Commission and serves as a resident artist and performance studies teacher at Seattle Girls’ School. Through her work with other nonprofits, she also uses art and education to prevent youth violence within marginalized communities. A Filipinx, Black, mixed-race, working-class, femme, queer person of color, Carpenter created her Hollow Earth Radio show, #LuluNation + crew, to help archive the stories of queer and trans people of color (QTPOC). "I wanted to create a metaphorical 'nation' that accepts all of who I am and all of the complexity of people," she told me. "I wanted to build community with [people] who were on the margins of the margins."
Who do you dream of interviewing on your show?
Janet Mock, because she is brilliant and I could learn about her views on media and journalism. Also, I would love to interview Marshawn Lynch about his youth work in urban/inner-city communities along with race, religion, class, "sports as the new form of slavery," state violence, and media resistance—but only if he is accepting of QTPOC.
Where would you recommend QTPOC go in the city to find community?
Nightlife is important to build community, so for a party, try out Soul-Fi, Night Crush, and Darqness: a Queer and Trans People of Color Party. There are many organizations new and old that support QTPOC. I am not able to list all of them. There is so much marginalization in Seattle and King County, based on various factors, that people are constantly supporting each other's survival and resilience through building collectives, creating partnerships, sustaining networks, and organizing from the margins.
What is the one Seattle establishment that you want to stay open forever?
Island Pacific is a Filipino grocery store on Martin Luther King Jr. Way, and I love to meander in their snack aisle. Their deli keeps my coworker and me alive. Some of my favorites there are lechon kawali, crispy-fried pork belly; sinigang, a sour tamarind soup; and barbecue pork skewers.
I've heard you're a karaoke fan. What's your favorite venue and what's your go-to song?
Bush Garden—FOR LIFE! I have sung there for more than 10 years with a lot of other community comrades. I have many go-to songs! My OG song is "What's Up?" by 4 Non Blondes. My new favorite is "Piano Man" by Billy Joel.
Speaking of music, what's been on your playlist lately?
Mostly songs of grief, rage, and fierce joy: Solange Knowles's "Don't Touch My Hair," Andra Day's "Rise Up," Lady Gaga's "Million Reasons," and Leon Bridges's "River."
Which local artist or performer should everyone know about?
Nikkita Oliver, who is a lawyer, poet, writer, advocate, and activist. She gives me hope and helps me believe femme women of color can be themselves. She has integrity and stands for justice.
What are you tired of people complaining about in Seattle?
Slow traffic. We are a slowwwww "town"... but that is changing.
If you could fix one thing about Seattle with a magic wand, what would it be?
People who don't pick up their dog poop.