Black History Today: Roxanne Christian-Dancer — a Brilliant Reminder of What’s Possible

by Marcus Harden


(Black History Today is published in collaboration with Rise Up for Students.)

“Mama exhorted her children at every opportunity to ‘Jump at de sun.’ We might not land on the sun, but at least we would get off the ground.” — Zora Neale Hurston (Dust Tracks on a Road, 1942) 

I’ve heard it said that we aren’t humans on a spiritual journey, but we are spirits having a human experience. In life you encounter people who seem like they’ve “been here before” because of their vast knowledge and understanding of the world — who are well traveled in the physical, mental and spiritual spaces.

Roxanne Christian-Dancer is one of those people who has been here before. Born in Columbus, Georgia, and raised by her angelic and equally ambitious mother, Ms. Rolaina, who embedded the spirit of discovery in her, Roxanne is truly a renaissance woman. Her latter formative years were spent in Seattle, where she graduated from Ingraham High School and later the University of Washington.

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OPINION: Clean Air Everywhere, for Everyone in Washington

by Paulina López and Troy D. Abel  


Recently, legislative debates turned from carbon pricing to the Healthy Environment for All Act (HEAL) uplifting environmental justice (EJ). This is important legislation, but what we really need are bold solutions and different laws addressing a persistent form of unjust and ongoing pollution. Air toxic exposure disparities and their impacts on communities like the Duwamish Valley are still being ignored by politicians and industry. This inattention continues even as new research suggests that higher air pollution may increase COVID-19 vulnerability and deaths.

Many environmentalists in our region not only overlook decades of toxic air pollution injustice, some even gloss over the problem. In January, the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Seattle office announced that industrial toxic releases declined in the Northwest. Pollution dropped 12% in 2019 for 752 facilities in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska. They further asserted “that U.S. companies that use and manage chemicals and metals continue to make progress in preventing pollution.” 

But we knew that regional averages likely obscured trends in our heavily polluted Duwamish River Valley neighborhoods of Georgetown and South Park — often first documented by our community. EPA analysts lumped air, water, and land pollution together. When viewed separately, air and water pollution went up in the Northwest. Surface-water discharges increased by 1.17 million pounds and air pollution by 610 thousand pounds between 2018 and 2019. 

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Virtual Groundbreaking of Uncle Bob’s Place Honors Legendary Community Activist

by Ronnie Estoque


The love that the Seattle community had for legendary civil-rights activist Robert “Uncle Bob” Santos was in full bloom Thursday evening for the virtual groundbreaking of a new affordable housing development named after him. An additional Zoom overflow room had to be created to accommodate all the many community members in attendance. The CID-based InterIm Community Development Association (CDA) in charge of the development produced a video shown during the event that discussed Uncle Bob’s contributions to the neighborhood and details about the building, which is set to begin its construction in the second week of March.

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POETRY: Revolutionary Encounters

by Evelyn Chow


Free Write: “If the revolution will not be televised, where will it be seen?” (thank you Nikkita for the prompt) 

You will not find the revolution posted in the window of the fancy new coffee shop down the block 

Or at the ginger beer store run by the white lady with dreadlocks 

The revolution will not have private security or no-trespassing signs 

You will not simply put a #BlackLivesMatter banner in your driveway, window, or storefront because 

The revolution will not be gentrified 

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INTENTIONALIST: Woman-Owned Businesses in South Seattle

by Kristina Rivera


Intentionalist is built on one simple idea: where we spend our money matters. We make it easy to find, learn about, and support small businesses and the diverse people behind them through everyday decisions about where we eat, drink, and shop. #SpendLikeItMatters

Women’s History Month begins this Monday, March 1, and the Intentionalist team is excited to kick off our celebration by highlighting some of our favorite woman-owned businesses in South Seattle. 

This month is all about commemorating, acknowledging, and celebrating the vital role women play in history and present day. March also marks one year since the pandemic shut down small businesses throughout Seattle, disproportionately affecting women and women of color in particular. This month, especially given the events of the past year, it’s important to continue showing up for the woman-owned small businesses at the heart of our communities.

Whether you’re into sweet, savory, or all of the above, here are three Intentionalist suggestions for woman-owned businesses you can support in the South End.

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Weekend Long Reads: The 2020 Urban Exodus — It’s Complicated

by Kevin Schofield


This weekend’s Long Read comes to us from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.  The network of Federal Reserve Banks do a large amount of research to inform their work in planning the nation’s monetary policy. This particular research report looks at the reported “urban exodus”: the flight of people from urban neighborhoods of cities.

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Black History Today: Gary Ladd II — Lifting a Powerful Legacy to New Heights

by Marcus Harden


(Black History Today is published in collaboration with Rise Up for Students.)

“Commitment is a big part of what I am and what I believe. How committed are you to winning? How committed are you to being a good friend? To being trustworthy? To being successful? How committed are you to being a good father, a good teammate, a good role model? There’s that moment every morning when you look in the mirror: Are you committed, or are you not?”

— LeBron James

Legacy is typically defined in the human construct as being what we leave behind for those who come after us — and what we inherit from the ones who came before us. It can be a gift but also, at times, a heavy load to bear.

For some, carrying on a legacy happens in name only. For others, it happens through our life’s purpose. For a few, like Gary Ladd II, it happens in both, and they find their legacy intertwined like links on a chain with the generations on either side of them.

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Seattle Rejects Biden Administration Offer to Pay Full Cost of Hotel-Based Shelters

by Erica C. Barnett 


(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.) 

As funding runs out for JustCARE, a program that has moved more than 100 very high-needs people from tent encampments in Pioneer Square and the International District into hotels where they receive case management and services, Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office has made it clear that it considers one source of funding off the table: money from the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA), which recently announced it would pay 100% of the cost for eligible hotel-based shelters.

“While we appreciate the work of President Biden’s administration,” City Budget Office Director Ben Noble and Office of Emergency Management Director Curry Mayer wrote in a letter to Seattle City Councilmembers this week, “there continues to be no option to receive 100% reimbursement of the operation and services of non-congregate shelters for individuals experiencing homelessness in King County or Washington.” In other words, the City is grateful that the new administration is offering to pay for hotels; they just don’t consider it a viable option for Seattle.

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One Year After First COVID-19 Outbreak, County Health Officials Cautiously Optimistic

by Andrew Engelson


Nearly one year after the first outbreak of COVID-19 in King County and the nation, public health officials and King County Executive Dow Constantine say they are cautiously optimistic about the spread of the virus. Effective prevention measures combined with slow but steadily increasing vaccinations have the potential to “put the pandemic in the rear view mirror,” said Public Health Officer Dr. Jeffrey Duchin in an online press briefing on Friday. But concerns remain, including the discovery of two new SARS-CoV-2 strains in the county, and pressure among those tiring of restrictions to let up on prevention strategies such as masking and limits on gatherings.In addition, inequitable access to vaccines remains a concern.

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Amplifying the Authentic Narratives of South Seattle