SEATTLE - It's been one month since a drive-by shooting injured a man and sent a bullet through the window of a daycare near the corner of 23rd Ave S and S Jackson Street in Seattle. The shooting was captured on camera outside the A 4 Apple Learning Center. Inside, children had to army-crawl to safety.
On Tuesday night, those who live and work in the Central District came together to talk about safety in the area and how to improve it. It was the second meeting of the community safety group, and it was standing-room only.
"I try to make sure I represent all cultures on the mural," said Appollonia "Apple" Washington, co-owner of A 4 Apple Learning Center, pointing to the painted glass at her daycare center.
Washington replaced the window that was damaged during the drive-by shooting last month. The artist who created the original mural for the daycare's windows came back to repaint the glass with new symbolism.
"I told her I wanted a dove on there to represent no violence, so she added it. I was so excited," Washington said.
Her message, for the community to stop the violence, resonated at Tuesday's packed community safety meeting.
"I can’t dwell on the bullet coming through the window, even though it’s frustrating," said Washington.
Meeting organizers say change is happening, with organizations already putting boots on the ground near the intersection of 23rd and Jackson.
"Community Passageways has been showing their faces, making sure they are in the parking lot, activating the space," said Washington.
The Community Passageways CEO says the organization also plans to add more trained teams to provide outreach to the community and local schools.
"We just got over here, back into the CD, a few months ago. Now it’s time for us to really be visible," said Dominique Davis, CEO and Founder of Community Passageways.
Newly elected District 3 City Councilmember Joy Hollingsworth also pledged Tuesday to use city resources to help make the area safer.
"We know we’ve had issues with this corner for a long time, now it’s time to activate this corner," said Hollingsworth.
As far as what's already been done to improve the area, changes at a bus stop near the daycare are making a difference. It's a stop where Washington said open drug use was prevalent before. She says the benches were moved away from the shelter overhang. The relocation of the seating has stopped some of the past loitering and drug consumption that used to be a common occurrence at that particular bus stop.
"Now what Metro needs to do is flip that bus stop around, so that the city can see the bus stop, just like they did across the street, and it needs to be lit up," said Washington.
Washington has also installed a new, locking gate outside her daycare.
"All the parents were like, ‘Oh we love these’," she said, showing off the new gate.
She's also applying for a grant to help pay for the installation of bullet-proof glass. She hopes monthly meetings keep the momentum going.
"It took a bullet to go through our learning center for everyone to be activated," said Washington.
The community discussed other potential goals to improve safety in the area. One speaker suggested working towards creating a Business Improvement Area and installing better lighting. Meeting organizers say there is also still more work to do with the owner of a large parking lot that sits near the daycare and other businesses.
The meetings will continue monthly, with everyone in the community welcome and encouraged to attend.