Louder Than Words 2021-22

The University of Washington’s Othello-UW Commons presents Louder Than Words, a 2021-2022 monthly series dedicated to examining forces and trends that create disparities and division in our communities and exploring how we can act locally to find common ground and build together.

The conversations, moderated by Sally Clark and Ed Taylor, took place at Othello-UW Commons with a limited live audience, and were livestreamed to a broader audience. Links to the recordings can be found below.

The Louder than Words series is organized by the UW’s offices of External Affairs and Undergraduate Academic Affairs.


Benjamin Danielson: Youth, opportunity and justice

Dr. Benjamin Danielson is a clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington, where he received his medical degree in 1992, after completing undergraduate studies at Harvard University. He completed his pediatric residency at Seattle Children’s Hospital. He was the Senior Medical Director for the Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic (OBCC) until late 2020. He worked there for over 20 years, combining patient care, clinic leadership and community advocacy.

In early life he was rescued from the foster care system by a single mom who instilled in him and his sisters the value of education and community service.

Dr. Danielson also serves on various boards of health-related organizations, philanthropic organizations, and community groups dedicated to health issues. The unifying thread in Dr. Danielson’s activities relates to promoting well-being and dignity, especially for communities who have been pushed aside. He has found opportunities within and outside of systems to advocate in partnership with groups and individuals who are dedicated and passionate about creating a better world. He realizes he is the least useful member of the circles he joins and he is inspired — every day — by the children, families, communities and organizations with whom he interacts.

Watch the livestream from October 13, 2021.

Carver Gayton and LaNesha DeBardelaben: MLK in SEA, Echoes of 1961 in 2021


Martin Luther King, Jr.’s one and only visit to Seattle happened in November 1961. Carver Gayton, then a 23-year-old teacher at Garfield High School, met the Civil Rights legend backstage at Garfield. The influence of a meeting that lasted a mere 5-10 minutes continues to reverberate for Gayton, whose own influence on the Seattle community is long-lasting.

This event was produced in partnership with the Northwest African American Museum. Livestreaming provided by Academic and Student Affairs Advancement at the UW.

Carver Gayton  has deep roots in Seattle and at the University of Washington. He was born and raised in Seattle and attended Garfield High School where he later taught history and English. At the UW, Gayton earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees and played football and served as assistant coach for the football program. Gayton’s professional pursuits weave together a picture of service, education and community-building. He’s been a teacher; steered Boeing’s relationships with colleges and universities; was an FBI special agent; served in state government; and was the founding executive director of the Northwest African American Museum. He is an author and public historian and has served on a wide range of national, state and local boards. Gayton has been inducted into the Husky Athletics Hall of Fame twice and is the recipient of many additional awards and recognitions.

LaNesha DeBardelaben is the president and CEO of the Northwest African American Museum (NAAM). She is passionate about driving success for Black museums. She specializes in organizational leadership and management, institutional programming, and strategic engagement. Prior to joining NAAM, LaNesha was senior vice president at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit. With three masters degrees, respectively in museum studies, history, and library science, LaNesha is currently pursuing a Ph.D., and serves as national president of the Association of African American Museums (AAAM) Board of Directors. She has global experience with museums and libraries in Kenya, Ghana, South Africa, England, Germany, and Israel, and is involved in both the International Council of Museums and the International Women’s Forum.

Watch the livestream from November 10, 2021.

Colleen Echohawk: Lessons on self and city from a former candidate for mayor

Colleen Echohawk was raised with the belief that if there’s a problem you can fix, you jump at the opportunity to help. As an Indigenous woman, small business owner and executive leader, Colleen holds the lived experience and vision needed to lead organizations, inviting the entire community into the story of justice and reconciliation for community.

Colleen has a people-first reputation for building and igniting successful coalitions that champion change in housing, homelessness, racial justice, sustainability and public safety. For over two decades Colleen has served the most vulnerable people living in the greater Seattle community in many roles including as the executive director of the Chief Seattle Club, with the Seattle Community Police Commission and as founder of the Coalition to End Urban Indigenous Homelessness. Colleen also serves on multiple boards, including the Seattle Foundation and Downtown Seattle Association, and has been recognized for her influence and leadership with numerous awards, most recently the 2020 King County Martin Luther King Jr. Medal of Distinguished Service.

Colleen is an enrolled member of the Kithehaki Band of the Pawnee Nation and a member of the Upper Athabascan people of Mentasta Lake.

Watch the livestream from December 8, 2021.

Sean Goode: Community-grounded solutions to incarceration, justice and youth success

Sean Goode is a speaker, facilitator, writer, podcast host, executive coach and nonprofit leader. Goode’s mantra, “possibilities over problems,” was born out of his experiences growing up in overwhelmingly challenging circumstances. Through his stewardship of the nationally recognized nonprofit, CHOOSE 180, he has worked to decriminalize youthful behavior and transform the systems that have historically caused harm to marginalized communities. Prior to leading this 2021 City of Seattle Human Rights award-winning organization he served as a chaplain in juvenile detention, championed gang and group intervention efforts, and worked to provide education and employment opportunities for youth in at-risk communities.

Goode is considered a national expert on justice reform and has been appointed by Washington state’s governor to the Partnership Council on Juvenile Justice. As the Council’s vice chair, his work addresses statewide issues surrounding the criminalization of adolescent behavior. As a thought leader, Goode regularly shares his own personal journey, the transformative power of grace, and the impact of elevating possibilities over problems with a diversity of audiences in both the private and public sectors.

Watch the livestream from March 9, 2022.

Patty Hayes, Joycelyn Thomas, Azita Emami: Nurses save the day. Again.

Patty Hayes, MN, RN, recently retired as director of Public Health – Seattle & King County, and has over 30 years of experience in public health, policy development and advocacy. Most recently, Hayes has been responsible for the COVID-19 response for King County. In addition, King County Executive Dow Constantine and Hayes declared racism is a public health crisis. Hayes co-led the efforts in the county to address systemic and institutionally racist governmental policies and procedures and to build pathways for community-led solutions. Hayes has received numerous honors and recognition, including the University of Washington Alumnus Summa Laude Dignatus Award in 2020. Hayes holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing from the University of Washington, School of Nursing and was inducted into the Washington Nursing Hall of Fame in 2002. The King County Council awarded Patty the MLK Medal of Distinguished Service in October 2021.

Joycelyn Thomas, ARNP, holds a doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree, master of nursing and bachelor of science in nursing from the University of Washington. Currently, she works as a family nurse practitioner at a family practice clinic for Virginia Mason Franciscan Health where she is also the medical director. She is a nurse practitioner specializing in the care of persons of all ages and her interests include improving patient-provider communication with African American patients. As a result of this collaboration, Dr. Thomas developed evidence-based recommendations for implementation into an existing communication-training course for providers to be utilized by the collaborating agency.

Currently she serves as a board member of the University of Washington School of Nursing advisory board, University of Washington Foundation board, African American Reach and Teach Health, and Mary Mahoney Professional Nurses Organization where she is the president.

Azita Emami, executive dean of the UW School of Nursing, earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the renowned Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, where she grew up after emigrating from Iran. She went on to gain a master’s degree in international health care from Karolinska and the Red Cross College of Nursing; a nursing education degree with a teaching certification and a doctorate in medical sciences from Karolinska.

Azita’s academic leadership experience spans two countries and 25 years, including positions as the Dean of the College of Nursing at Seattle University, Head of the Division of Nursing in the Department of Neurobiology Care Sciences and Society, Karolinska Institutet, and Academic Leader in the Division of Elder Care in the Department of Nursing at the Karolinska Institutet. Azita’s research interests include cross-cultural care, elder care, the development of cultural competence, and specific diseases and conditions.

In her role as executive dean, she has emphasized the increasingly global nature of nursing and the importance of educating nurses to deliver care in a wide variety of culturally and economically diverse settings. She is a proud recipient of the UW Women’s Center’s Women of Courage award.

Watch the livestream from April 13, 2022.

Donald King: Affordability, financing and faith — Seattle’s Black churches building beloved community 

Donald I. King, FAIA, is a licensed architect in California, Hawaii and Washington, as well as a planner and educator with over 50 years of professional experience in the practice areas of community planning, design and project management. He has specialized expertise in the planning, design and management of community-based projects, healthcare facilities, educational facilities, affordable family housing and special needs housing.

Donald received a Master of Architecture degree from the University of California at Los Angeles and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Interior Architecture from Wayne State University in Detroit. He is currently a principal architect of Mimar Studio, and previously served as president/CEO of DKA Architecture, principal architect at Environmental Works Community Design5, and designer and architect at Four Community Design Centers. Donald has been a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) since 1979, was elevated to the AIA College of Fellows in 2000, and received the AIA Medal of Honor in 2015.

Watch the livestream from May 11, 2022.