Local organizations Beacon Hill Music and ROCKiT Space, who have worked closely together in the past, have merged. Here’s a message they sent us about the change:
Beacon Hill Music and ROCKiT Space are merging. Last year ROCKiT Space teamed up with Beacon Hill Music to bring you “Beacon Rocks!” Now we are merging to continue building programs for families on Beacon Hill. ROCKiT Space is an all-volunteer-powered arts non-profit striving to create space for community in our lives through the creative arts. We will continue to work closely with The North Beacon Hill Council; they will be a co-sponsor of all our Beacon Rocks events, generously providing permitting and insurance for those events. So “Beacon Hill Music” and “ROCKiT Space” now are interchangeable when it comes to putting on musical activities on Beacon Hill (we’ll sort out the naming as we go along).
Who Is Beacon Hill Music?
Beacon Hill Music is a group of Beacon Hill residents who love music and would love to see a whole lot more music (and dance) happening on Beacon Hill. We are excited about Beacon Hill having the first festival street in Seattle, the “Lander Festival Street” (the block just north of the Beacon Hill Light Rail Station). Now, as part of ROCKiT Space, we want to continue to use the Festival Street as a performance space and we are branching out to other activities such as the Beacon Hill Music Songwriters Circle, coordinating music for the Beacon Hill Festival, etc.
If you have questions, suggestions, or would like to join in the fun of putting these events on, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Beacon Hill is (and historically always has been) a community of mixed incomes, cultures, ages and lifestyles. I am sometimes teased by friends from other ’hoods for what seems like excessive neighborhood pride, but there’s a lot to be proud of! Our Neighborhood Council is an active and effective voice for the community, and meetings are almost always respectful and productive. Even comments on our neighborhood blog manage to stay civil most of the time.
I hope we can maintain the positive and productive tone as the process moves forward to plan the next stages of development activity at El Centro de la Raza. El Centro staff, volunteers, patrons and tenants are part of our Beacon Hill community. I don’t understand the “us versus them” tone that creeps into conversations and comment threads about El Centro—especially when we’re all in the same room. We share the same goals and priorities: making Beacon Hill safe, vibrant and successful for everyone who lives, works, plays, studies and shops here.
El Centro de la Raza is working towards a goal to develop affordable housing, commercial space, and a public plaza. They are trying to build the “beloved community.” The need is real and the goals are attainable. While the process of changing zoning around the light rail station moves forward, El Centro is trying to activate their now-vacant south lot. They want to encourage vendors and food trucks, and to improve security and pedestrian access. They also need revenue and are proposing a gravel parking lot with 80 spaces for commuters and sports fans.
In 1972, the “Four Amigos” inspired countless volunteers to pressure elected officials for access to a space that would become a community meeting place. The original Beacon Hill Elementary building was vacant and seemed an ideal location. Their passion and dedication still inspire 38 years later.
El Centro de la Raza is the Center for all Peoples. The name is Spanish; the roots and mission multicultural. Roberto Maestas is the man best known for the occupation that led to El Centro’s foundation, but a photo of those involved in the occupation would make a classic Benetton t-shirt.
Today, the people who seek services (and those who provide them) are astonishingly diverse. Blonde acupuncture clients share the halls with East African mothers picking up children who learned Spanish with their Filipino classmates. Ukrainian seniors wait in line at the food bank staffed by Latino volunteers coordinated by an Asian AmeriCorps leader.
El Centro’s clients and staff are more than culturally diverse. They also represent the economic diversity of Beacon Hill. The food bank and meal programs help our hungry neighbors. All services are supported by donors and volunteers who have extra time, money, or other resources to share. Several small businesses and independent nonprofit organizations thrive as tenants in the building.. Public art and cultural events are offered throughout the year. El Centro is also the new home for Tots Jam, the toddler music class that started at ROCKiT space.
In addition to the work that goes on inside the building, El Centro advocates for and represents those in our community who might not otherwise participate in the political process. Through translation services, advocacy training, public meetings hosted at accessible times, and other means, El Centro staff and volunteers engage and inspire the community.
I’m not thrilled about parking lots on Beacon Hill. I don’t like any part of the idea. However, I’m willing to support El Centro’s efforts to build a temporary lot while the slow zoning process moves forward. A safe, accessible area with vibrant small businesses is a better short term use of this area than an empty lot. Some small income to help support programs is better than nothing.
El Centro is a vital part of the incredible community I’m proud to call home. They need our help so they can help us.
Oh, by the way… a group of diverse community activists are working to secure public meeting space on Beacon Hill. The North Beacon Hill Council is working with the Beacon Hill Merchants’ Association and other groups to request free access to office space in the library. We need a place to share community information and provide storage and meeting space. Please contact the Mayor’s Office and City Council members to support our efforts. We’re not asking people to occupy the space—an email or tweet should suffice.
Clean your pantry and/or pick up extra items for a Beacon Hill food bank. South Beacon Hill neighbors can donate to Beacon Avenue Food Bank, located at 6230 Beacon Avenue South. North Beacon folks can donate to El Centro’s food bank. Mid-Beacon neighbors can flip a coin—or donate to both!
The Alleycat Acres urban farming collective relies on donations and volunteers to keep their community-run farming efforts going.