Reimagine Seattle: Jessica Ramirez

The challenges of the past year have changed the way we live, the way we work, and the way we show up for each other. They have also given us a rare chance to collectively reimagine our future. With the Reimagine Seattle Storytelling Project, we invited community members to reflect on their current experiences in Seattle, how they have been impacted by the events of 2020, and their hopes for the future of our city.

Slow Down

words and video by Jessica Ramirez

The majority of the last year was spent understanding, and being more keenly aware than ever of, the movements of other people. Most of us were forced to stop, pause, and reorient to a place where we had to think not only about ourselves but about others. I witnessed a noticeable shift in our neighbor’s understanding of the very critical and emergent needs for our communities’ survival.

The reality of 2020 was not one that any of us could surmise. However, I am humbled and deeply grateful for the nimble nature of grassroots organizing; to witness how quickly people, who had never participated in mutual aid before, found themselves on the giving and receiving end. We crowdsourced funds for all kinds of needs that the pandemic and the racial uprisings required to keep people healthy and safe. My social media feed was filled with giveaways of homemade masks, hand sanitizer, laptops for youth remote learning, and resources for our ever so vulnerable (and growing) houseless population.

Over the last year I have become more familiar with the Indigenous way of being as it relates to reciprocity, our interdependence on each other and with Mother Earth for living our most healthy and full lives. My desire for our future together here on Coast Salish territory is that we can continue to work from that place of reciprocity, that we continue to step up to support each other and humbly accept the responsibility of taking care of each other with care and respect because when you live your life from a place of abundance the possibility of living in a world where we can all be free is just right there.


Jessica Ramirez, wearing glasses and blue t-shirt, smiling in front of a brick wall
Jessica identifies as a queer Mexican and Indigenous Creative Producer and Community Organizer. As an advocate for social change, Jessica uses anti-racist, anti-oppressive and decolonizing frameworks to create narrative shifts and storytelling strategies that build community power. She attended the University of Washington where she received a bachelor’s degree in American Ethnic Studies with a concentration in Chicano Studies and minors in Labor Studies and Law Societies & Justice. She is a Creative Producer at Nia Tero, programmer for the Seattle Queer Film Festival, arts curator, and a board member of the Northwest Film Forum. Jessica resides as a guest on the traditional territory of the Coast Salish peoples with her dog, Luna Ramirez Thomas.

Submissions for the Reimagine Seattle Storytelling Project were commissioned by the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods. The opinions expressed and information contained in each submission do not necessarily reflect the policies, plans, beliefs, conclusions, or ideas, of the City of Seattle.