July 10, 2017

The Current

In this week's edition:

  • Gentrification in Ultimate (4/4)
  • NEW! Upwind Monthly Book Club 
  • Oh Yes She Did! Weekly Highlight Clip
  • Announcements

Ultimate and Gentrification (4/4)
Learn to Listen, then Listen to Learn

Series overview: As ultimate players, we strive to build a community that is inclusive, supportive, and just. This means we have to look directly at how racism and white privilege harm people of color and benefit white people. In Seattle, a group of white ultimate players hosted an event to hear the stories of people of color, learn how gentrification and segregation impact our access to ultimate, and commit to supporting groups that challenge racism and empower youth of color. We invite you to explore this with us! This is part four of a four part series, click here for archives.

We invite you to take a moment to hear from Mandy Truong, a young woman who shares her story of growing up in Seattle. She builds a connection for us between racism and opportunity and shows us how AGE UP has had a positive impact on her life.


Mandy Truong is  a second year student at the University of Washington. She has been playing ultimate for 8 years - first at Asa Mercer, then at Franklin, and now college. Mandy has also been involved in AGE UP and in coaching for several years. She has coached at Aki Kurose Middle School, Ingraham High School, Seven Hills, and at Southend Summer Camps.

All of the speakers tonight shared something personal, something that may have made them feel vulnerable. And everyone in the room had the chance to push themselves to feel that way too. This is key in opening to new ideas and changing the way we operate. So together, we did one more activity that helped us build the trust, strength, and humility to head out into the world and more deeply understand others’ experiences. To do that, we practiced listening.

Listening is the foundation for learning, and learning is the foundation for changing. Consider these:

Pay attention

Rid your mind of your own thoughts or responses. Look your person in the eyes. Show that you are listening by nods, facial responses or even by sending a nonverbal message that you are listening.

Listen to understand

Let a person finish their thought and then seek clarification. If something didn’t make sense, try asking, “What did you mean when you said…?” Practice paraphrasing by responding, “What I’m hearing is…”  Ask for confirmation that you have heard the message correctly.

Have an open - and pliable - mind

Hearing and understanding the stories and people around us asks that we open ourselves to new perspectives, and to the truths of others people’s lived experiences. Suspend judgement of someone’s story while they are telling it, and remind yourself that this is their story, not yours.

Stop & think: With a friend - or teammate - take turns sharing and listening deeply. Tell a story that links the topics of segregation and gentrification to experiences in your ultimate community.  Perhaps a change you’ve noticed, a loss or a gain, or even what brought you here tonight. Listen, and reflect.

Hana Kawai. ( AGE UP )

Hana Kawai. (AGE UP)


The Habit of Listening, Learning, and Acting

In the spirit of learning how to listen, we encourage you to continue feeding your curiosity of how segregation and gentrification impact your city and ultimate community. Together we continue to have opportunities to learn about these themes and how they intersect with the sport we love. These conversations, however difficult, are more urgent in the context of our national political landscape and the rapid growth and gentrification in our own communities.

Of course we did not solve anything in one night with our event in May. But our goal was to share knowledge together so that we may better engage with our communities, use ultimate as a source of energy for political change, and support the work of people organizing to resist displacement.

Additionally, the event was an opportunity for us to celebrate and acknowledge the amazing people who are a part of All Girl Everything Ultimate Program (AGE UP). This program has had a great influence on many people in our community and has taught us how to engage in difficult conversations with love and understanding. We asked attendees to make a gift to support AGE UP - if you’d like, you can do so here!

We’d like to share resources we’ve found helpful for anti-gentrification work in Seattle. These folks are working to counter the damaging impacts of gentrification, and we believe that one of the best ways we can plug in more is to support their organizing and follow their leadership.

AGE UP members talk about their experience with the program. ( AGE UP )

AGE UP members talk about their experience with the program. (AGE UP)

  • Got Green is a rad Southend-based organization that does really great work from door to door organizing all the way to getting policy passed that requires big developers to hire locally.

  • Africatown Seattle has a wealth of current information on current gentrification issues.

  • Displacement Stops Here is a grassroots organizing network resisting gentrification in the Central District.

  • The James and  Janie Washington Cultural Center is a small organization dedicated to the legacy of Dr. James Washington is a great resource for learning more about the  history of the Central District.

  • Puget Sound Sage advocates for equitable development, environmental justice and economic opportunity for low income people and people of color.

  • Want to add some to the list for your city? Email us at powerprivilegeandplastic@gmail.com.


Our work is just beginning, but there’s no other group I’d rather do this with than my ultimate frisbee family. I extend an invitation to you to read up on your city’s history and listen to others that are experience the impacts of gentrification today. For those of us that hold privilege on and off the field, it’s time to get to work in doing our part to make ultimate a space for tough conversations, inclusivity, privilege-checking, and radical change.

Written by Natalie Jamerson with Caitlin Cordell, Clay Dewey-Valentine, Erica Petru, Katy Craley, Lindsey Wilson, Margo Kelly, Molly Sinnott, Noah Baker, and Sam Terry. If you want to share your questions, thoughts, or suggestions, please email us at powerprivilegeandplastic@gmail.com.

NEW! Upwind Monthly Book Club 


We are introducing a new monthly book club! On the first Monday of every month, we will host a Twitter conversation on the book of the month, as well as announce the book for the next month. 

For this first month, we're starting with "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness" by Michelle Alexander. 

Highlight of the Week


Check out highlights of Seattle Riot from Pro Elite Challenge this past weekend in Denver, CO. (Fulcrum Pro Media)


  • We periscoped a bunch of games from Pro Elite Challenge on our Twitter. Take a look and share some feedback so we can improve our services.
  • Player Advisers Chip Chang and Zara Cadoux are working with us to build educational courses around equity topics, including how racism and sexism exist in our sport, and how we can work against these systems. Got an idea for a topic? Tweet at us. #playhardlearnhard
  • This week wraps up our series on Gentrification in Ultimate. Next week, we'll start a new series on the connections between sports, money, and gender. 
  • Happy birthday Miranda Roth-Knowles!

Questions? Comments? Email us at create@thenationalultimateleague.com. 
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