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MOHAI Community Conversations

Cities continuously evolve, just as Seattle and greater Puget Sound are currently demographic, social, economic, and cultural changes. The Community Conversations program series fosters dialogue between city, business, historians, community leaders, and local residents who are impacted by these changes in a town hall format. Conversations draw on lessons from the past and analysis of the present to discuss the possibilities for the future.

Watch these Community Conversations, then discuss topics with peers about these issues facing Seattle, King County, Puget Sound, and Washington State.

Continuing Community Conversations

Addressing Hunger

Seattle is often referred to as one of the greatest food cities in America yet many people who live in our region  are uncertain about where their next meal will come from. According to a recent study conducted by The United Conference of Mayors and the National Alliance to End Homelessness, Seattle saw a 15% increase in requests for emergency food assistance in 2016, the greatest swell of any city surveyed. This Community Conversation discusses the complex challenges faced by King County residents caught in the cycle of poverty and hunger and how you can make a difference.

Panelists include:

Presented in partnership with King County TV.

Community Conversation: Immigrant Life in Uncertain Times

King County’s immigrants and refugees have made significant contributions to our region’s creative spirit, culture, and economy. But for many, there is now fear and uncertainty as the government begins to limit immigration and crackdown on the undocumented and sanctuary cities like Seattle. Enrique Cerna moderates an important community conversation about the challenges and concerns in Puget Sound’s immigrant communities.

Panelists include:

Maru Mora Villalpando, Latino Advocacy

Simon Okelo, Founder, One Vibe Africa

Lola Zakharova, Immigration Attorney; Member, King County Immigration and Refugee Task Force

Aneelah Afzali, Executive Director, MAPS-AMEN (American Muslim Empowerment Program)

Gentrification: How Is It Changing the Identity of Seattle and King County?

This important community conversation examined the rapidly changing demographics of the Puget Sound region. Moderator Enrique Cerna guided a discussion on gentrification through a variety of lenses including race, housing, economics, and public health.

Panelists include:

  • Pat Wright, Founder and Director, Total Experience Gospel Choir
  • Knute Berger, Author, Crosscut.com
  • Adrienne Quinn, King County Director of Community and Human Services
  • Sam Assefa, Director, City of Seattle Office of Planning and Community Development

The Heroin Epidemic

This Community Conversation examined the region’s growing heroin and prescription opiate epidemic. In King County, more people now enter detox for heroin than they do for alcohol. Families are being devastated as the number of opiate-related deaths has tripled since 2009. What must be done to address this growing epidemic?

Enrique Cerna moderated a discussion among panelists and community members, including:

  • Dan Satterberg, King County Prosecutor
  • Penny Legate, founder of the Marah Project
  • Dr. Caleb-Banta Green of the University of Washington’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute
  • Molly Carney, Executive Director of Evergreen Treatment Services

Housing the Homeless

This Community Conversation examined homelessness in our region. Two years after Seattle and King County declared a “State of Emergency” on homelessness, the numbers continue to rise. The 2017 annual count found nearly 12,000 people living in shelters, on the streets, and in tents and cars in Seattle and King County. Hear personal stories, learn about current initiatives aimed at increasing housing, and find out what is being done to address complex issues related to the homeless crisis.

Moderated by: Enrique Cerna

Panelists include:

  • Sara Vander Zanden, Facing Homelessness
  • Gary Cashman, Wounded Warriors Project
  • Mark Putnam, All Home
  • Colleen Echo-Hawk, Chief Seattle Club

Presented in partnership with King County TV.

Generous support from
In partnership with King County TV

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