We Were in These Streets: Closing out 2023
United Way of King County is out and about in your community! We’re keeping an eye and a pulse on happenings, events, organizations, and activities throughout King County as we work side by side with communities and partners to build an equitable future for everyone. We’re in These Streets is a blog post that highlights your community.
Here are some of the events we attended at the close of 2023, leading off with a fundraiser at the Center for Wooden Boats.
The mid-October fundraiser for Community Passageways, a Seattle-based felony diversion and prevention organization, was held this fall at the Center for Wooden Boats in upmarket South Lake Union. But Community Passageways founder Dominique Davis made sure folks’ minds were on his side of Seattle.
He focused specifically on 23rd and Jackson streets in the Central District, where in just days prior adults and preschoolers in a daycare center had to duck for cover as bullets from a drive-by shooting were fired just outside.
The incident made local headlines in a city that in December set a record for its most homicides in a single year—73, which surpassed the previous mark of 71 in 1994.
Davis said he and Community Passageways themselves have dodged flying ammo while doing outreach on some of Seattle’s blighted streets and neighborhoods that its economic prosperity passed over. He reminded the fundraiser crowd that not only is their cash needed to narrow the chasm between King County’s rich and poor, but their concern and caring are needed as well.
“We’re helping young people and families go through trauma and pain with just a little help, a little relief,” said Davis. “When we see shootings out here in the streets, we get called to the scene. We have critical incident responders that show up to the scene of these shootings, to help the families of the persons who might have lived or might have passed away. We have a ton of systemic issues that need to be challenged through the work that we do.”
The organization’s programs include Community Passageways Family Integrated Transitions, which is therapeutic, home- and community-based case management for youth and young adults 12 to 24 who are either involved or at risk of being involved with the legal system. The program fields ambassadors who work with families and youth to address behavior change with mindfulness, distress tolerance, and anger/aggression management.
Since 2017, Community Passageways has worked with more than 100 young people with felony charges to divert their charges and keep them out of prison and in the community. Most of those participants ultimately spent no time in detention and, on average, saw an 80% reduction in the length of sentencing.
“We’ve been helping young people get jobs, internships, apprenticeships, housing, therapeutic services, along with families getting those same services,” said Davis. “And we’re helping with funeral costs, food insecurity situations, doing healing circles, furnishing meals, and providing safe passages for kids after school. It’s been beautiful having all these different dynamics and watching this thing blow up to where it is today.”
Community Passageways is a member of United Way’s Black Community Building Collective, a group of 14 Black nonprofit organizations that help determine how United Way funding can support equitable recovery and the long-term viability of King County’s Black community.
Davis credits the Black Community Building Collective for providing resources, spaces, and collaborations to work more effectively.
“The resources coming through it have been supporting us for the last few years,” said Davis. “They’ve always come through every time there was a need. Or even if there wasn’t a need, they would surprise us and say, ‘We have some resources for you,’ or ‘We have some funds for you,’ or ‘We’re going to connect you to this person.’ The Black Community Building Collective is a cornerstone in keeping us together and helping us flourish.”
Other outings United Way staff attended: