I'm writing today's message from our lobby, where I stationed myself this morning with the hopes of gaining some inspiration from the powerful messages conveyed through Amplifier's artwork and among the ever-growing number of plants that the Convoy Coffee team has been staging for the launch of their new retail plant operation (coming soon!).
As I write this, I'm watching a woman exchange a few rolled cigarettes for three clean needles. The person next to her just crushed a large can and made a pipe, loaded a bowl, and passed it around to the group. A few minutes later, the ambassadors from the MID arrived on their bicycles and start encouraging the group to disperse. They collect their belongings, leaving behind the cardboard that they'd been sitting/sleeping on. Ten minutes after most of the group left, two uniformed police officers walked by to ask those who were still remaining to move along. When the officers passed by again, one was holding a crowbar, which I assume they have confiscated from someone who was out of my line of sight.
This is a cycle we watch every single day.
For our team at Impact Hub Seattle, solving the crisis of homelessness is both a survival strategy for our business and an aspiration for our city, which is why we've chosen to use our 6th anniversary to do what we do best: mobilize compassion, creativity and our community to address Seattle's most challenging issue.
We invite you to join us on our 6th anniversary on Friday, October 26th for an evening event using a World Café methodology - a simple, effective, and flexible format for hosting large group dialogue. This process draws from the range of life experiences, perspectives, and activities of the people who participate.
On Saturday, October 27th, we will convene again to set the agenda in real time around the questions you bring and spend the full day diving deeply into the complexities we face and possibilities that emerge when people connect. We are using Open Space Technology - a process by which ordinary people can work together to create extraordinary results with regularity.
What makes this unique? Our goal is to bring community organizations, government, business, homeless people, neighborhood associations, artists - people from different sectors who aren't usually in conversation with one another - into conversation, rather than a lecture or panel.
As an initial outcome, we expect people to come away with more understanding of the nuances of this complex challenge and more personal clarity about the steps they wish to take.
Long term, this experience will provide a foundation for individual and collective action to mobilize the creativity, compassion, and grassroots engagement necessary to eliminate homelessness.
It is the responsibility of our community to work together to find solutions when traditional methods have not. Impact cannot happen in isolation - on October 26 and 27, we invite you to join us and experience the power of collective action.