Skip to main content

Voices from the Rent Control Rally on July 20

Community Leaders for Rent Control

Deyo Equival and William Redbear’s Native prayer song, followed by Deyo’s speech As a housing case manager I have worked directly with working families, people who are struggling to maintain housing, that are working full time or two or three jobs, that are saving meals from work and bringing them home to their family, washing their clothes in the bathtub. I work with these families directly and they’re under constant threat of eviction. And we need to do something now. We need rent control now! Watch the Speech!
Nikkita Oliver, community organizer What I want us to remember is that when we fight for rent control, when we say, no new youth jail”, when we block the bunker, when we say we don’t want more police in our streets, when we talk about affordable housing, when we call our politicians to the carpet, when we talk about the race and gender gap in this city and this county, all those things are interconnected. The fight for rent control and affordable housing impacts what happens to black, brown, latinx, and native communities. It impacts what happens to women, and genderqueer folks.” Watch the Speech!
Cliff Cawthorne, Seattle / King County NAACP We stand in solidarity with union sisters and brothers, stand in solidarity with our communities and demand that the Seattle City Council pass rent control! Then we’re gonna take it to the County, then we’re gonna demand a lift of the ban on rent control for Washington State!” Watch the Speech!
Mac MacGregor, LGBTQ Activist I’m a Transyouth activist and in 2017 we did a survey of LGBTQ people in Seattle and found out that 78.5% of the LGBTQ people that live in Seattle are renters. Now in the Trans community that is about 98%. So this really affects us...My wife and I were trying to find a house to live in close enough to my son’s high school, where he wouldn’t have to bus more than an hour there, and an hour home. And the lowest thing we could find was $2,200. They wanted first month, last month, a deposit and a pet deposit. We had to pay over $7000 for move in fees. We had to borrow from family. We had to drain everything we had in our savings. That is ridiculous. That should not be allowed.” Watch the Speech!
Maru Mora-Villapando, La Resistencia I am hear to let you know that my undocumented, black and brown, low-income community cannot afford to live in this city. I am one of them. It’s just impossible for us. But it seems to us that corporations want us to be servicing them. They want us to clean, they want us to work the restaurants, to take care of their children, and then be gone. Like we’re not part of this community... And that’s why we need to support rent control. That’s why I am here today. We hear again and again that this is a progressive city, that this is a sanctuary city. But how can it be a sanctuary city when people like me are not even allowed to live here? It seems to be a sanctuary city only for the wealthy corporations and people that can afford to live in the city. We cannot allow this to happen anymore...Let’s make sure that rent control happens and it happens now!” Watch the Speech!
Devin Silvernail, Be:Seattle Devin: (17:23 - 18:47) A small group of people can make a huge impact. If everybody in this room went out and built this movement we would win rent control right? Fredrick Douglass once said: Power concedes nothing without a demand, we have to make that demand. It’s absolutely right, for tenant’s rights!” Watch the Speech!
Chloe Demay. Be:Seattle I met a lot of Seattleites who have a job, but can’t afford a house in their city because of the unjustified increase of their rents. That’s why we need to build a strong movement here, we have to fight for rent control for a diverse and humane seattle. We need rent control!” Watch the Speech!
Julie McGowan-Ramsey, Kenton Apartment Tenants In February, our building the Kenton apartments was bought by Milestone properties. Tenants that have been living in their homes for 10 years, were suddenly faced with a rent increase from $900 to $1600 on very short notice...Knowing that these increases would mean our community would be torn apart, and that many of our friends and neighbors would lose their homes, we decided to fight back....Initially, Milestone properties responded to our demands with contempt. Calling us literally ‘kids demanding more desert.’ But we felt we were only asking for our basic rights as tenants to be treated as people who deserve a safe and affordable place to live. We refused to back down. We delivered letters, we held a phone bank that engaged our friends and families, and we made them listen. Tenants in our buildings now have legal leases, none of the rent increases went into effect, and the utility fees were removed as well. Together we fought back. We were able to stay in our homes. We did not let this corporation get away with outrageous rent hikes and bullying. This is just one victory, a beginning and it gives me hope we can fight back on a broader scale and we can help make housing affordable across Seattle.” Watch the Speech!
Renee Holmes, Chateau Apartments Tenant I’m here today because Cadence Real Estate ,a for profit developer worth $185M in real estate assets, has decided to tear down the Chateau Apartments where I live with my Aunt Mother Gordon in the Central Area. These are affordable and low income apartments. Cadence plans to replace them with market-rate studios. Mother Gordon has lived in the Central all of her life. She’s 88 years old now. Our family came up from Arkansas in the 40’s and settled in this area. It was the only area people of color could live in. She’s lived at the Chateau for 30 years, 31 years this October. The Chateau is her home. This is her neighborhood, her community, and she deserves to stay!... Our struggle at the Chateau is part of the overall struggle for Affordable Housing in Seattle. We have enough people living on the streets! The struggle is not over! We need Rent Control. We need it now! That’s why we will continue to Stand Up, Fight Back for What’s Right!” Watch the Speech!
Sahro Farah via Violet Lavatai I want to introduce somebody who stood up to their landlords. Her name is Sahro Farah. A member of one of the tenant families that lived at one of the Carl Haglund buildings...He raised the rent like, one hundred gazillion percent; and he had cockroaches in there, so we were like, NO”. Hell no. So the families fought back. They fought back. We rallied around them, Kshama and a lot of the tenant families they passed a law...if you’re a landlord and you want to raise the rent...you better make sure you don’t have bed bugs, cockroaches everything above.” Watch the Speech!
Kelly Hines, Nickelsville Seattle has thousands of homeless people on the streets, and only enough shelter for a small portion. Waiting lists for low-income and reduced cost housing programs are not counted in days or months, but in years. Rent control is crucial to stop the bleeding. Without that promise of rent control, more and more people here will become homeless, not less, as they continue to be priced out of housing. We have seen that those with too much money on their hands just don’t care. Our rent shouldn’t be going into the pockets of elitists, who waste it, but stay with us to have a better life and support the community around us...My fellow Nickelodeons are fighting with you for our tiny house village now, and affordable housing in the future. We stand shoulder to shoulder with you, to fight those who would stand on our shoulders to get ahead.” Watch the Speech!
Saba, Small business owner The building where my family restaurant resided was bought for 5.5 million, and [my mother] was evicted in less than a week without relocation assistance. They even said they would relocate her, but then left her for dead. We now have a community rally on July 29th to show these abusive and bullying developers we have the support against displacement...We have more than 2000 signatures, but we still need more and we’re going to keep going and going until we get the results that we all need, to keep these small business owners having faith in having a business here. We can’t fight Alchemy alone, but together we can win. Like has been said, when we fight we win!” Watch the Speech!

Union Members for Rent Control

Lisa Cruz, Unite Here Local 8 I want to stay here in Seattle, of course. We keep fighting to get fair rent because I am a single mom, and I have to live with my parents. I can’t afford to live in Seattle.” Watch the Speech!
Justin Adsuero, Unite Here Local 8 From the floors that we clean up at the hotel, we can look out the window and see the Chinatown International District, where none of our Chinese immigrant housekeepers are living right now...We have community members living in Tacoma, we have people commuting everyday from as far as Puyallup, taking more than 2 hours on the train. So for us to care about this campaign, it’s just obvious. So we are really glad this camping is happening. If we can beat our bosses with this strike and we can afford to live in Seattle, we can beat the landlords too, so let’s do it.” Watch the Speech!
Matt Maley, Seattle Education Association In Seattle Public Schools, there are around 4,000 students who qualify as homeless...On top of that, one third of SPS students qualify for free and reduced lunch and for some students, their only access to regular medical care is the one or two days of the week that their school nurse is in the building! That is also why my union, the Seattle Education Association...passed a unanimous resolution at our representative assembly calling on the city council to immediately pass the universal rent control and economic evictions assistance ordinances that have been put forward by Councilmember Sawant’s office. I would urge all of my union siblings here tonight to take forward similar resolutions to their own locals. Like the fight for the first ever $15/hr minimum wage, it’s not maybe rent control” or Please, Jeff Bezos and Paul Allen”, it’s we need rent control and we need it NOW!” Watch the Speech!
Paula Lukaszek, WFSE Local 1488 WFSE local 1488 and 3488 have all signed onto this rent control initiative. Rents have gone up 67% and the only thing the UW wants to give us is 2%, you do the math, people have to keep moving further and further out. [Chanting] WHAT DO WE WANT? RENT CONTROL! WHEN DO WE WANT IT? NOW!” Watch the Speech!
Kelsey Barnes, Frye Museum Art Workers Union I'd like to start off by thanking CM Sawant and her team for her support in starting our union. For that reason we are happy to be here. One of the main reasons for starting our union is to increase our wages as minimum wage is not a living wage. Especially in Seattle. Many of our coworkers are having to work a second job, or have multiple roommates to keep up with rent, or need the support of a partner.” Watch the Speech!
Adam Kapilow, UAW 4121 We are proud to stand here with you all here today and declare it is time for rent control in Seattle! Over 82% of our members are rent burdened paying on average almost half our salaries in rent. This is unacceptable, and that is why we are here to fight for rent control we are ready and we are mobilized. My friends are forgoing healthcare and other basic essentials because the rent takes so much of our paychecks. But over these past few months, I’ve been out petitioning, getting people to sign the rent control petition, I’ve been talking to people about rent control, and it’s clear to me that we are ready. We are ready to fight for the city we need!! And if there's one thing I’ve learned from going on strike with my union, from the struggle for the fight for 15, or the historic victories of the Chateau tenants, its that when we fight, we win.” Watch the Speech!
Kathy Heffernan, SEIU 119 NW We are building a powerful social movement for universal rent control in Seattle. 4 years ago, I came home from work to my West Seattle apartment to find a notice on my door. My landlord was raising my rent 130%...Friends were shocked when I told them about my outrageous rent increase. They said, ‘Kathy that can’t be legal!’ But all of us here, know that it is. My landlord raised the rent because he could. Because the rental market works a rich guy like him. But it doesn’t work for ordinary working people. The for profit housing market has failed Seattle, it’s time for rent control.” Watch the Speech!