City of Seattle and Local Leaders Launch Seattle Together Initiative to Create Community During COVID-19 Pandemic

Interactive Initiative Asks Residents to Amplify Stories of Community Good Work, Elevate Resources, Build Relationships During Pandemic

SEATTLE (May 21, 2020) – Mayor Jenny A. Durkan today announced the City of Seattle’s new Seattle Together initiative, which is designed to celebrate ideas, share resources and events, and connect community during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Seattle Together initiative asks community members to amplify stories of good work and resiliency by residents, elevate resources and share best practices, and build relationships as Seattle residents continue to follow the statewide “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order and physical distancing guidance.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Seattle, necessary public health guidance has undoubtedly taken a toll on the economic, physical, and mental health of residents. Seattle Together will help people connect by lifting up community-generated ideas, highlighting philanthropic efforts, and sharing information about City resources. Seattle Together features local artistic content, mental health breaks, physical activities, and helpful resources designed to provide respite and hope for our community.

“Much has rightly been said and done about the economic and public health impacts the COVID-19 pandemic has had on our communities. But we must acknowledge and address the impact this crisis is having on our collective wellbeing, and the loneliness and fear the pandemic creates,” said Mayor Durkan. “At a time when the weather is getting warmer and our City is at its most beautiful, we must continue to stay inside and physically distance ourselves from our loved ones and neighbors. Seattle Together is about creating a platform where we can build community and connection during this unprecedented time and celebrate the innovation, creativity, and drive that makes Seattle the best city in the country. As a City government, it’s our responsibility to not only look out for the physical and economic health of our residents, but to fight for the emotional wellbeing and happiness of all our communities. Seattle Together does just that.”

Key elements of the initiative include a Seattle Together website, SeattleTogether.org and online campaign featuring the creativity and stories of Seattle residents. Residents are encouraged to share their ideas using #SeattleTogether on social media or submit their ideas, stories of community resiliency, and resources for the Seattle Together website.

“While we are still focused on relief, we know that we need to find ways to connect and give our City a chance to come together in new and different ways. Seattle Together is an initiative that invests in our most impacted communities and celebrates our region’s resilience and the work everyone is doing to survive and come out of this crisis stronger than before,” said Randy Engstrom, Director of the Office of Arts & Culture.

“Seattle Together was created to support and uplift our Seattle community and celebrate the amazing  goodwill, generosity, and empathy that has come from our communities. We’ll weather this crisis because of the passion and concern we’ve already shown for each other, making us stronger, more connected, and supportive of our most impacted truly shows Seattle is Together,” said Andrés  Mantilla, Director of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods.

“I’ve been impressed every day by the individuals and organizations that have showed up and worked together in response to this pandemic, and I’m honored to be part of #SeattleTogether. It’s critical that we share and understand the stories of folks from across our community who are being hit hard by COVID-19, so we can come out of this stronger,” Maria Chavez Wilcox, CEO of YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish.

“We are absolutely thrilled to be launching From Home to Home: Northwest Folklife Festival this weekend—a place where we can collectively showcase our folklife, right from our homes,” says Kelli Faryar, Executive Artistic Director of Northwest Folklife. “In the same spirit as the Seattle Together initiative, we hope that From Home to Home and SeattleTogether.org will serve as a virtual platform showcasing local artists and culture bearers, creating a space for cultural exchange and community connection.”

Seattle Together will recognize community members, organizations, and businesses dedicating their time and money to those in need, individuals connecting with one another through creative and unique experiences, and artists sharing cultural content to vulnerable populations.

The City of Seattle will also share information on new resources and initiatives, online activities, and cultural programming. Online activities on Seattle Together range from yoga classes to live-streamed concerts, so that Seattle residents can access their favorite classes, as well as new opportunities. Seattle Center, Parks and Recreation, the Office of Arts & Culture, The Seattle Public Library, Human Services Department, Seattle Fire Department, and other City departments are contributing to Seattle Together.

Even during this civil emergency, the cultural and social life of Seattle is resilient. This coming weekend, the Northwest Folklife Festival will stream live at www.nwfolklifestreaming.org, and residents can also access the stream via Seattle Together. Created in partnership with Seattle Center, From Home to Home: Northwest Folklife Festival is a virtual festival that features multiple program channels and marketplace to bring together local culture bearers, artists, creatives, sponsors, and merchants all on one platform.

The Seattle Together website, https://seattletogether.org/, lifts up the creativity of Seattle residents in the following ways:

  • Celebrate: Stories of Seattleites supporting each other and their communities;
  • Connect: Encourages community to connect to neighbors, organizations, and communities through virtual events and gatherings;
  • Give: Opportunities to donate money, food, or resources to vulnerable communities; 
  • Participate: Creative ideas and ways to engage with your community and engage in acts of kindness; and
  • Lead: Tools, resources, and tutorials to help you organize your community around a project or cause. 

By elevating these efforts, the City hopes to strengthen our community and inspire more to act, ensuring we get through this together.

The City has also created a comprehensive resource page for residents and small businesses impacted by COVID-19. This page will be updated as more information becomes available.