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On Monday morning, as the Eighth Generation team gathered in the lobby for our weekly staff meeting, we saw a recognizable silhouette approaching the front door of our headquarters for a surprise visit.
Eighth Generation team presenting during the weekly staff meeting before the Seattle Indian Health Board arrives.
It was Esther Lucero (Diné), Executive Director of the Seattle Indian Health Board. She was followed shortly by Debora Juarez (Blackfeet) of Seattle City Council. In turn, Tom Warren (Choctaw), President of the SIHB Board of Directors, and other dignitaries from the urban Native community followed. Something very special was happening!
Tom Warren (Choctaw) and Esther Lucero (Diné) express their gratitude by gifting Louie Gong (Nooksack) a glass Eagle feather.
The distinguished visitors quickly organized a small gifting ceremony to honor our team's broad-based community work, which was put in the spotlight in the early days of the pandemic when National Geographic and The Seattle Times told the story of our 10k Personal Protective Equipment donation to the Seattle Indian Health Board. In case you missed it, according to the article by National Geographic, this is when our little company "did in 8 days what the state and federal government failed to due since the early days of the pandemic." This incredible feat was also recently featured in a short video by Google Small Business.
We were graciously gifted with a stunning glass eagle feather by glass artist Michael Dupille, as well as an honorary plaque. The plaque reads "for you generosity in our time of need."
Gong holds honorary plaque in our studio headquarters.
Our relationship with the Seattle Indian Health Board goes back nearly 20 years, when Founder Louie Gong (Nooksack) had an office located in their basement while working for the University of Washington. At the impromptu ceremony, Gong said "My time at the Seattle Indian Health Board established the community foundation that Eighth Generation is built on."
Senior Project Manager Serene Lawrence (Hopi/Anishinaabe), who worked evenings and weekends to ensure a prompt delivery of the donation, and Founder Louie Gong accept glass feather and plaque.
It was important for the Seattle Indian Health Board to visit Eighth Generation in person. Esther said, "I've only had a handful of in-person interactions with you, but I've always known you have my back."
From left to right stands Michael Dupille, Debora Juarez, Louie Gong, Serene Lawrence, Esther Lucero, and Tom Warren.
Our hands are raised in appreciation to our friends at the Seattle Indian Health Board. Touching moments like this strengthen our commitment to the community-based business practices for which we are nationally known for. We hope that - by continuing to nurture a cycle of support in our own community - our small business will shine so brightly that it can't be ignored by conscientious consumers.