Black History Today: Gwen Allen-Carston, unwavering activist

This post is part of an ongoing Black History Month series written by Marcus Harden, a pillar of the South Seattle community and a truly unsung hero, as he honors the living legacy of Black history in his neighborhood and beyond, and recognizes the people who are shaping the future.

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By Marcus Harden


Angela Davis powerfully stated, “I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change... I am changing the things I cannot accept.”

When I was a child, I didn’t understand what things like Black Pride, Black Power, heroes like Malcolm X, the Pan African movement or even local things Umoja Fest, etc. Being proud to be something other than what society put in front of us and learning more than what schools dared to teach us.

Beginning to understand different religions and philosophies and maybe most importantly, learning what it meant to advocate for others in truth and in authenticity. One of the strongest if not the first to teach me those lessons and so much more was Gwen Allen-Carston.

She epitomizes unwavering activism, being a strong voice for social justice, community collaboration and change. As a child I couldn’t understand what the fight was about and why she was always so passionate, yet like seeds being planted, I understand it so much more now.

Yet beneath that activist spirit is a mother’s heart. A proud mother and grandmother to her family, she’s been that for so many more. She constantly gives of her mind, heart and soul, lovingly fighting for her people, the community and not just standing in front of but standing beside the present and having no problem handing the torch to the future.

Whether running for local office, strongly promoting the city of Kent, Leadership in the Kent Black Action Commission or leading a supply and food drive for hurricane victims from her beauty supply store with her pillar of a husband (C&G in Kent) she is an incredible community and state treasure.

Whether you’re calling her Momma, Nami, Aunty, Mrs. Gwen or being the answer to the question who’s yelling, “Who ya wit!”, Gwen Allen-Carston is Black history, today.