Shelf Life Community Story Project
Amplifying community voices, learning from neighborhood stories, and interrupting narratives of erasure in Seattle's Central District.
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25 Years of Block Watch

Photo by Carina del Rosario

Photo by Carina del Rosario

Bridget Albright is an Emergency Room Physician Assistant. She has lived a few blocks from the Red Apple for over 20 years where she raised three kids and two foster kids.

Bridget Albright and Family

I think when I first lived here, most of the members of block watch were African American. We started our block watch meetings with prayer. They always had a good moral sense. We always donated money, every year, to a local charity. The block watch group was the group that put the light up in the alley, so they paid to have that light installed, and I think we always paid the Joneses for that bill, and I think now I just pay that bill. I remember when that was one of the orders of business was figuring out the light bill and what the neighborhood owed the Joneses to pay for that light. Which I always thought was a pretty cool thing that the neighborhood said - we want that alleyway to be better lit so we'll all pitch in and pay for that. 

And then the holiday, like the Christmas party, was always a big thing, and the Joneses always had it, and they always had ham and mac & cheese, and I think Mrs Jones always did the ham, so I did a ham for a long time, as well, when I took over Mrs Jones' role. It was great.

I think it was great for Hunter, from Jamaica, to live in a neighborhood where there were other people that had brown skin. I think it was interesting, because he didn't identify as being black at all. He was like, "I'm black? I'm not black. I'm West Indian. I'm Caribbean." But I think it was great for my kids to grow up in a really diverse community. Liam played for the CD Panthers from the time he was 7 until he went to high school, and he still walks around the CD and people know him. So it's a small community, and you know we did stuff at CAYA, through football, there was dinners there, camps there. And my kids went to Odessa Brown, and the receptionist still remembers my kids. Liam was pretty sick a lot as a kid. So we were there pretty often. And the doctors are all still the same. My foster kid Yahya, who's 31 or 32 now, his doctor is still there.

We had another friend, his family lived in, I think it was like assisted housing, I think they were homeless and then had moved into housing right across the street from Garfield. The younger siblings went to Washington Middle School. And I think it was his senior year when they got housing further south. They were told that he could no longer go to Garfield. The principal and the football coach, and a couple other families, all said to the school district, "He needs to stay for his senior year, like we actually don't care where he's living." So they got an exception for him, but again it was the principal and the football coach all going to the school district saying, "You can't relocate this kid for his senior year." And then it was a lot of the families saying, "We'll pick up, like we'll drive him back and forth to practice." Right? Cause, it's like, I mean the family would love for him to stay, but now they live out in Rainier Beach, practices go to 8 'o clock at night, so you know everybody kind of just said we'll drive him.