The main entrance of MOHAI housed a collection of powerful images and quotes from women in the women who rock community and powerful women leaders in history and current pop culture. Of these women included Celia Cruz, Laverne Cox, Ida b Wells, Ma Rainey, and Tarana Burke. This served not only as an example of powerful women making a difference, but also as a social activism platform. Specifically, this addressed gentrification in the Seattle area, bringing attention to the issue of low income communities being pushed out of their homes and an increasingly homogenized Seattle.
The discussion room was a safe, open space to have engaging conversation. Many of the women discussed their original intentions of moving to Seattle as a place of inclusion, as they hoped to find others they could identify with on spiritual and cultural levels. In a city like Seattle, they discussed how being surrounded by people who look like themselves can bring comfort and a sense of pride to something that often seems burdensome. However, some women discussed suffering from a lack of mentors/elders in their communities, leading to an absence of historical cultural knowledge that the history books do not fill. This is where the archive is most helpful; it serves as a platform for teaching the history of peoples through visual and auditory messages. As many cultural histories where buried by colonization and the terrors of white supremacy, the archive serves as a collection of the oral histories passed down through generations. Therefore, the archive can help fill the void left by an absence of elders/mentors. The same can be said about musicians like Black Mama – she serves as a leader in her community, a role model for women around the globe, and a source of oral history portrayed through her music. Other topics discussed included using the arts to teach students lagging behind in school, working as a community to educate others, rediscovering ancestral stories, pushing for minority leaders to be represented in history books, people having to identify as white in order to navigate political and social systems, people rejecting their cultural history out of a shame engrained by the society they live in, forced assimilation to procure jobs or leadership roles in communities, and the reclamation of space. Ultimately, the discussion regarding reclamation focused on identifying oneself, recognizing one’s goals, and protesting/fighting for those goals through whatever medium possible.