The Seattle Department of Neighborhoods’ Hey Neighbor! series introduces you to the people behind the scenes working to build, strengthen, and engage the communities of Seattle.
Meet Sherry Collier!
Sherry Collier is an alum of our Winter 2018 session of the People’s Academy for Community Engagement (PACE). She is a practicing family law attorney, a resident of Seattle’s Columbia City neighborhood, and a former Co-Chair of the Seattle Renters’ Commission.
What inspired you to join the People’s Academy for Community Engagement (PACE)?
I was inspired to apply to PACE because I realized that I didn’t know much about city level government in Seattle and how the average, everyday citizen can engage with the city for the benefit of their community and others. I also felt like it would be a good compliment to my role on the Seattle Renters’ Commission.
What is one lesson you learned in PACE that has stuck with you after completing the program?
One lesson that I learned is that there is definitely a willingness of people in Seattle to step out of their comfort zone and engage with others in ways that are transformative. Our PACE class was, in a lot of ways, a microcosm of society in Seattle and we all engaged to do the work of getting to know one another better and taking what we learned back to our respective communities.
In what ways have you used the lessons you learned in PACE in your civic engagement outside of the program?
I think that the PACE class has been most helpful in terms of me understanding the city budget and now when I see the city budget in the news, I have more of an understanding of what is going on. The presentation about the light rail station in the Roosevelt area was also a helpful lesson about the impact of community.
What would you tell someone who is thinking about applying to join PACE?
I would tell them that it is really a class that you have to be engaged in and that you cannot show up on Saturdays just hoping to blend in or not contribute. If you are a shy person, it is a great way to be more outgoing and meet other well-intentioned people.
What is one thing you love about Seattle, and one thing you’d like to see change?
I love everything about Seattle! It’s my home and every square inch is unique, beautiful and captivating. If I could change one thing, it would be to eradicate homelessness and to have programs that are set up to help people get on their feet and become employed and to locate affordable housing. Seeing all of the homelessness and suffering in Seattle breaks my heart.