Reimagine Seattle: E.T. Russian and GV

The challenges of the past two years 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. Through the Reimagine Seattle Storytelling Project we invite community members to reflect on their current experiences in Seattle, how they have been impacted by recent events, and their hopes for the future of our city.

Formulas for Fair Futures

by E.T. Russian and GV

Audio track of the written text below, recorded by GV.
hand drawn illustration in orange and blue of person with short curly hair and glasses having a video chat with another person.

ET and GV are friends and identify with a multitude of different communities. They have been essential workers in the same health care facility for over 15 years. They have provided hands-on care to their clients throughout the pandemic and have witnessed and felt firsthand, the effects of Covid-19 and its disproportionate impact on populations that have been consistently and historically pushed to the margins. This co-authored creation weaves together reverence for Mother Earth, weft of grand views, and warp of possibility.

hand drawn illustration in orange and blue of the Seattle skyline being overtaken by a large blue wave

The story before the story of the biggest of big waves
predicted to come
has now come. 
The earth will indeed shake again, the water rising up. When the big one comes crashing
It will flatten e-very-thing. 
Downtown Seattle will be set free.

Today, the pain and suffering of our fellow residents can and should be prevented and we are not preventing it. Thus, when the water rises there will be unnecessary death, destruction and devastation. 

Later when we begin anew, there may be opportunities for those who administer these systems of harmful neglect to engage in the process of repair.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT, APOLOGY and ACTION

Dear government officials, bureaucrats, politicians, businesspeople: You are invited to consider – Acknowledging the harm you, your industry, and your structures have caused.  Offer a sincere public apology. And then take reparative action. Don’t wait for the big waters to come. Do this now.

Like the coming and going of seasons, the cyclical nature of birth and decay is essential.


hand drawn illustration in orange and blue of a decimated landscape, an orange banner that reads "George Floyd" rests on a hillside of blue

DEATH, DESTRUCTION and DEVASTATION

will create a portal/threshold through which we paddle our canoes, push our wheelchairs to birth our reimagined city.

Collapse of our cityworld is painful and necessary for the emergence of new creation stories.

When beginning our citystory anew, can we remember this?
The view of wellbeing and happiness that is not contingent on financial security. Will we atone the past and create healthcare systems, institutions and industry that are in service to all and not just some of us?

After the waters have receded, we healers are now builders and creators as well as healers. And yes, sex workers are healers along with herbalists, plant medicine practitioners and energy workers.  

hand drawn illustration in orange and blue of an individual laying in a bed being cared for a by a healer. a wheelchair sits next to the bedside.

After physical healing is complete there is the possibility of ceremony. 

A Beginning Anew ceremony with a sincere apology. This could be the start of reparations for harm done in the times before the rising of the big water.

hand drawn illustration in orange and blue of a tiny house village. two people sit near a campfire in the center of the village. there is a yard sign that reads "sex workers are healers."

We believe that reparations are an essential part of healing.

We believe that all people deserve healing, including those who do the healing work, like essential workers.

Our ethic is of 

KINDNESS, KINSHIP and KINKYNESS

We feel with the skin of our hearts. We listen with all our attention without judging. We look sideways for nuance. We smile wholeheartedly at the taste of complexity. 

We are intertwining structures broad enough to cover e-very-one with housing and healthcare. In this creation of our city, public lands and city parks are under sovereign guidance of Coast Salish Indigenous peoples.

hand drawn illustration in orange and blue of two people sitting under a starry sky, weaving. one person is seated on the ground, the other in a wheelchair.

We are healers – working time backwards – healing on behalf of the 
people harmed and systems who caused the harm.
We are healers – weaving time forwards – creating on behalf of those who come after the story has ended. 


headshot photograph of E.T. Russian.
E.T. RUSSIAN is a multi-sensory artist, cartoonist, hospital worker, and disability justice advocate living on Coast Salish land. Russian is the author of The Ring of Fire Anthology, Co-Director of the documentary Third Antenna, and a featured artist with Sins Invalid. Russian was a 2020 Arc Artist Fellow and their work is currently on exhibition in the Bellevue Arts Museum and Wing Luke Museum. E.T. is a cyborg, gardener and shape-shifter who values spiritual time, loud music, friends of all ages, and mutual aid. ETRUSSIAN.COM

headshot photograph of GV. they are standing outside and smiling.
GV is a conjure woman whose wage-paying work is as a physical therapist. With a deep bow, she pays homage to the blood, land, and spiritual ancestors on whose shoulders she stands. She offers a variety of embodied practices with Mindfulness Community of Puget Sound (MCPS), located on the lands of the Suquamish and the Duwamish Coast Salish peoples. She likes to write, facilitate BIPOC groups, organize events, and hold space for ritualized ceremony. She can often be found spending the night in a tent without its fly, high up underneath the big blue sky.

This piece was commissioned by the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods. The opinions expressed and information contained herein do not necessarily reflect the policies, plans, beliefs, conclusions, or ideas of the City of Seattle.