Ty Swenson
From left to right: Zayra Ponce, Monserrat Juarez, Jorge Juarez and Melodi Juarez attend the White Center Community Summit on Dec. 8. The event took place at White Center Heights Elementary (Monserrat and Melodi's school) and was put on by the White Center Community Development Association. TO SEE MORE, PLEASE CLICK THE PHOTO OR SEE THE GALLERY BELOW

White Center Community Summit brings diversity together for commonality

Hundreds of White Center residents and supporters gathered at White Center Heights Elementary on Dec. 8 to look back on White Center’s past and look into the future, a fitting topic in the aftermath of a recent vote that denied a Burien annexation proposal.

“This is about bringing residents together to have an influence on what happens here in White Center,” White Center Community Development Association Director Sili Savusa said at the 2012 White Center Community Summit hosted by her organization. “I’m looking forward to having a great year and bringing residents together.”

In addition to free snacks and good music, workshops and community resource representatives were on hand to connect residents with services – from housing to health care. There was also a professional photographer on hand to take free family photos and participants received ever-popular “I (heart) White Center” t-shirts.

Savusa said much of the community was divided over the contentious annexation vote, and that events like this and common goals for the community are the path towards working as one once again.

“I am hoping that the work around keeping the library in White Center really is a process that helps heal our community,” she said. “Obviously folks were pretty polarized over the annexation thing, but bottom line for me is that we all care for White Center and we want to thrive. The more that we start to connect and build relationships with one another, and the more the CDA can help make that happen, I think it’s just good for the community.”

The theme of this year’s summit was “Continuing Change … 10 More Years of Action.”

“The event is a great reflection of the community because it shows the diversity in languages and cultures that are present in White Center,” CDA Community Builder Marquise Roberson said in a statement. “It also shows that even though our neighborhood is filled with so much difference that there is a commonality that transcends it in our concerns and well-being of the community (where) we live.”

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