SEATTLE - It’s been more than a month since D’Vonne Pickett Jr., a beloved Seattle business owner, was shot and killed at his store. Now, the doors to his business are open once again.
Pickett and his wife, Keanna Rose Pickett, opened The Postman in the Central District in 2018. It is a mail and delivery service in honor D’Vonne’s great-grandfather, who was a mail carrier for nearly 40 years.
Running the business comes naturally for Keanna. She and her husband shared an entrepreneurial spirit. It’s a space where their dreams of owning a business came true. Sadly, it’s the very place where so much was taken from her.
D’vonne was shot and killed at the store on Oct.19, and Keanna witnessed it. Since the reopening of the store, she said remembering the past is how she gets through the workday without him.
"At the end of the night, we were able to convene and really just talk about all this we got going on. So the biggest difference is I don’t have him at the end of the night to really [say] this is going on. So, that’s the hardest thing for me, is not having my go-to person," said Keanna.
The Picketts intentionally opened their business in the Central District. It’s the community that raised D’Vonne, the community he gave so much of himself to. Now, the neighborhood is stepping up to give back.
"It feels good, but it’s scary. It doesn’t feel wrong, it doesn’t feel like I’m not supposed to be here. I feel like when you plant a seed and you finally see the tree," said Keanna. "D’Vonne’s life, my life, our legacy is literally an orchard. And that’s how we see it. It’s going to continue to feed and provide for our generations, our community generations."
Honoring the legacy of African American entrepreneurship in the Central District, Seattle’s historically Black neighborhood. Photos courtesy of Africatown Community Land Trust.
It will also inspire future generations of Black businesses in Seattle’s historically Black neighborhood. That’s the mission of Africatown Community Land Trust. The organization is full of staff dedicated to helping Black communities thrive through land ownership. Their works include providing resources and empowerment to Black entrepreneurship.
"D’Vonne and Keanna and The Postman were at that front wave of the renaissance that Africatown has helped be able to catalyze in the Central District, where the Black community has been kind of written off at one time. But now we see that we do still have a heartbeat," said K.Wyking Garrett, president and CEO of Africatown.
More than just a successful businessman, D’Vonne was a devoted father of three, husband, youth coach and star athlete at Seattle University. He was also a student in Garrett’s youth mentor program.
"Though he has left us physically, his spirit remains as an inspiration for us now and future generations," said Garrett. "Learn from his legacy and example of really not letting anything stop him from rising in his own power and greatness and creating the life that he wanted to see for his family. And being a model and giving back to other young people and others on the community. We all have the opportunity to walk in those same footsteps."
Garrett encourages the public to continue supporting Black businesses in the Central District, including The Postman, so that Keanna’s and D’Vonne’s dream will live on.
"Not just the business, but what he stood for as a person is going to outlive me, my kids and just will continue. He’s a pillar of the community, he’s made his mark in history," said Keanna.