What the South End Wants to Hear from Seattle City Candidates

by Agueda Pacheco Flores


Even though Danielle Jackson says she is skeptical of the system, she always votes.

“I want my vote to count, but I’m not always happy with the people in place,” she says. 

Jackson is a long-time Rainier Valley resident and founder of the Changing Habits and Motivating Personal Self-Esteem (CHAMPS) organization. Her community organization helps connect Rainier Valley residents with programs and resources such as violence prevention workshops taught by youth for youth. The non-profit partners with groups, businesses, and churches across the valley to help people who may be struggling. 

Continue reading What the South End Wants to Hear from Seattle City Candidates

PHOTO ESSAY: Rediscovering the Central District With Wa Na Wari’s ‘Walk the Block’

by Susan Fried


Over seven hundred people bought tickets for Wa Na Wari’s inaugural “Walk the Block fundraising event on Saturday, Oct. 16. Attendees were treated to a feast of visual art, music, dance, food, and drinks. 

Upon arriving at the event, participants were given maps, chose custom racing bibs with a variety of words and slogans, and then set off on a .08 mile walk through the Central District neighborhood. During “Walk the Block,” they could find work by artists Inye Wokoma, Chloe King, and Kimisha Turner. There were also video pieces by Martine Syms, Sable Elyse Smith, and the Shelf Life Community Story Project, as well as live music by the Gary Hammon Band. Three blocks away, in front of the Garfield Community Center, there were dance performances by Northwest Tap Connection and the Bring Us Collective, with jazz trumpeter Owuor Arunga playing in between performances. There were 15 stops along the way.

Elisheba Johnson, co-founder of Wa Na Wari, told the Emerald that the event was “a total success.” 

Continue reading PHOTO ESSAY: Rediscovering the Central District With Wa Na Wari’s ‘Walk the Block’

NEWS GLEAMS: The Great Debate, SAAF-T Free Workshop, NewHolly Branch Reopens, & More!

curated by Emerald Staff

A round-up of news and announcements we don’t want to get lost in the fast-churning news cycle!


The Great Debate 2021

On the afternoon of Saturday, Oct. 23, attend The Great Debate at the Rainier Arts Center, 3515 S. Alaska St., to hear from candidates for Seattle Mayor, City Council Position 9, City Attorney, and King County Executive.

Moderated by Marcus Green, Mike Davis, and Lance Randall, the schedule is as follows:

  • King County Executive — 12–1 p.m., Dow Constantine • Joe Nguyen 
  • Seattle City Attorney — 1:15–2:15 p.m., Ann Davison • Nicole Thomas-Kennedy
  • Seattle Council Position 9 — 2:30–3:30 p.m., Sara Nelson • Nikkita Oliver
  • Seattle Mayor — 3:45–4:45 p.m., Bruce Harrell • Lorena Gonzalez

If you’re interested in attending The Great Debate in person, go to Rainier Arts Center’s Eventbrite page to register. 

COVID-19 protocols for masks and temperature checks will be followed. Attendees will be required to show proof of vaccination or a negative PCR COVID-19 test in the last 48 hours before entering the Rainier Arts Center.

The South Seattle Emerald is an event partner for The Great Debate .

Continue reading NEWS GLEAMS: The Great Debate, SAAF-T Free Workshop, NewHolly Branch Reopens, & More!

Unemployment Data Shows Unequal Recovery, Galvanizes South End Equity Efforts

by Alexa Peters


Recovery in south King County has not kept up with north King County and preexisting economic disparities between the two regions were exacerbated by the pandemic, a recent Economic Security Department (ESD) report said.

The August ESD report showed evidence of an ongoing economic recovery in King County, including an unemployment rate much lower than in other counties at 4.8%, suggesting that King County’s recovery has been the swiftest in the state. That said, data at the city level shows a different picture.

In January 2020, the highest unemployment rate among Auburn, Kirkland, Redmond, and Renton was 3.4% in Auburn, and the lowest was 2.1% in Redmond.

“While the relative positions of these four communities persisted throughout the pandemic, the gap over time has widened,” said Anneliese Vance-Sherman, regional labor economist for the ESD. “All four communities are worse off today than they were before the pandemic, but it is taking longer for the South End communities to recover.”

Continue reading Unemployment Data Shows Unequal Recovery, Galvanizes South End Equity Efforts

Born in the Aftermath of 9/11, Tasveer Festival Centers South Asian Stories

by Beverly Aarons


On Sept. 11, 2001, the twin towers fell, and the face of terrorism became Muslim, Sikh, and South Asians of all religious persuasions. Xenophobia burned through the American landscape, unmasking deep-rooted racism hidden just beneath a thin foliage of inclusivity. Many people who were perceived as foreign were harassed. Rita Meher, the cofounder of Tasveer, was told “go back to your country” only weeks after she became a citizen. The experience shook her. She began to doubt her decision to immigrate. Was America really the land of inclusivity and opportunity she had imagined it to be? But out of the embers of her disillusionment the seeds of a new vision began to sprout — Tasveer, an arts organization, festival, and platform to showcase South Asian film, literature, and storytelling.  

“It’s never so straightforward that this happens and then we do this,” said Meher during an interview with the South Seattle Emerald. Her journey to cofounding Tasveer with Farah Nousheen in March 2002 was filled with many twists, turns, and surprise destinations. But if one had to highlight an important waypoint, it might be Meher’s first film, Citizenship 101, an autobiographical account of what life was like for South Asians in the shadow of 9/11. Nousheen, who Meher said is an activist and a friend, encouraged her to make the film and helped cultivate Tasveer into a social-justice-centered organization. 

“Our existence hasn’t been weaved into the community yet,” Meher said of the South Asian community, “but as you see in Seattle or greater Seattle, our population is huge.” She wants South Asian characters to go from sidekick to center stage. Tasveer has begun achieving that goal by funding films like Coming Out With The Help Of A Time Machine, which opened the Tasveer Festival Oct. 1, 2021, and introducing audiences to filmmakers like Aizzah Fatima and Iman Zawahry, the producers of Americanish, a romantic comedy about Muslim immigrant women navigating love, career, and family. Americanish will screen at the festival’s closing night on Oct. 24, 2021. 

Continue reading Born in the Aftermath of 9/11, Tasveer Festival Centers South Asian Stories

City Announces $4 Million in Grants for Pandemic-Stressed Small Businesses

by Agueda Pacheco Flores


Alicia Haskins is no doubt applying for a grant from the City’s Small Business Stabilization Fund program. 

After visiting small businesses around Rainier Beach, Mayor Jenny Durkan announced the program at a press conference at Rainier Health and Fitness, where she said the fund would focus on businesses owned by women and People of Color “because of the disproportionate impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on our Black, Indigenous, and People of Color communities.”

Continue reading City Announces $4 Million in Grants for Pandemic-Stressed Small Businesses

Parents at Charter School Cry Foul as Students Eat Inside Doubled-Up Classrooms

by Ari Robin McKenna


When students at Puget Sound Elementary (PSE) in Tukwila returned to in-person learning at the end of August, the neighborhood surrounding the office-building-turned-elementary-school had one of the highest positive COVID-19 case rates in King County — according to the County’s COVID-19 dashboard at the time. Meanwhile, parents say in-person learning at almost every grade level was over-enrolled, especially 2nd and 3rd grades, which had class sizes of 37, 37, and 39 and 36, 38, and 37, respectively. According to concerned parents who spoke to the Emerald, because this school lacked a cafeteria, because the school’s stated educational model involved having two adults per classroom, and perhaps because of a loose interpretation of State guidance, in at least a couple of cases, for over a month, 40 people gathered their lunches, unmasked, and ate together inside classrooms.

Serving mostly students of color — many from immigrant and refugee households — PSE is one of a fast-growing group of charter schools setting up in southwest King County and Tacoma called Impact Public Schools (IPS). The first of four charter schools stamped for approval by the Washington State Charter School Commission in 2017, PSE was joined in 2019 by Salish Sea Elementary, in Seattle’s Othello neighborhood, and in 2020 by Commencement Bay Elementary in Tacoma. Next school year an already approved Black River Elementary will be opening in Renton. This growing portfolio of non-profit schools is presided over by CEO Jen Wickens, co-founder of IPS.

Continue reading Parents at Charter School Cry Foul as Students Eat Inside Doubled-Up Classrooms

Mayoral Candidates Spar on Public Safety, Being “From Here”

by Erica C. Barnett & Paul Kiefer

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


Seattle Mayoral candidates Lorena González and Bruce Harrell faced off once again on Sunday during a public safety-focused forum hosted by the ACLU of Washington and moderated by Sean Goode, the director of the Seattle-area youth diversion nonprofit Choose 180.

The forum was a chance for the two candidates to get into the weeds on issues like police oversight, union contracts, and the logistics of civilian emergency response.

But anyone looking for detailed, specific responses to questions about these issues — not to mention the City’s use of the King County Detention Center, plans to increase or decrease Seattle Police Department (SPD) funding, and under what circumstances police should use lethal force — might have come away disappointed.

Continue reading Mayoral Candidates Spar on Public Safety, Being “From Here”

Halloween 2021 in South Seattle: A Ghostly Guide to Local Events

by Emerald Staff


With the spookiest night of the year fast approaching, the South Seattle Emerald has gathered some haunted happenings around the South End here so you, friends, and family can spend a scary (and safe!) Halloween together. From pumpkin hunts to trunk or treats, there’s something here for all the ghosts, goblins, and ghoulies to enjoy all weekend long.

Check back to this post as we continue to add more events that we hear about! If we missed an event and like us to add it, fill out our event form here.

🎃🎃Last updated on Wednesday, Oct. 20.🎃🎃

Continue reading Halloween 2021 in South Seattle: A Ghostly Guide to Local Events

SPD’s 2022 Budget Proposal Relies on Optimistic Hiring Projections

by Paul Faruq Kiefer

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


The Seattle Police Department’s (SPD) staffing goals for 2022 are extremely ambitious and could leave the department with millions in unspent salaries, according to a staff presentation to the City Council’s Budget Committee on Friday, Oct. 15.

More than 300 sworn officers have left the department since January 2020. In 2022, SPD hopes to begin replenishing its ranks, starting with the restoration of 31 paid positions that the council eliminated last year. That proposal would leave SPD with a total of 1,357 funded officer positions, but the department can’t realistically fill all of those positions in a year; instead, SPD estimates that it would end 2022 with 134 vacancies.

Continue reading SPD’s 2022 Budget Proposal Relies on Optimistic Hiring Projections

Amplifying the Authentic Narratives of South Seattle