NEWS GLEAMS: Election Checkup, Seattle Relief Fund, Black Future Co-op Seeks Community Input

curated by Emerald Staff

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

Photo depicting a Black- and male-presenting individual filling out their voter registration form.
Register to vote today! Photo courtesy of King County Elections.

Election Checkup

Only six days left until Tuesday’s important Nov. 2 election!

Seattle’s Mayor, City Attorney, at-large City Council Pos. 9 seat, King County Executive, as well as other local city and county district races will be decided. The winners of those contests will chart the course of how the region tackles homelessness, policing, and housing affordability.

Did you get your ballot, or was it damaged in the mail? If you need help with your ballot  or other questions, call 206-296-VOTE (8683).

Are you registered to vote? It’s too late to register by mail and online, but you can still register and get a ballot through Election Day, Nov. 2, by visiting the King County Elections Center, 919 SW Grady Way in Renton, or a variety of voting centers in the county.

Who can register to vote in Washington? Simple, you must be:

  • A citizen of the United States.
  • A legal resident of Washington State.
  • At least 18 years old by election day.
  • Not disqualified from voting due to a court order.
  • Not under Department of Corrections supervision for a Washington felony conviction.

Read more about who can vote.

This article is funded in part by a Voter Education Fund grant from King County Elections and the Seattle Foundation.

City Launches Seattle Relief Fund — $16 Million in Pandemic Aid to Low-Income Residents

Mayor Jenny Durkan announced on Monday, Oct. 25, a $16 million lifeline to low-income residents that will feature award amounts ranging from $1,000 to $3,000 depending on household size.

The fund is open to all eligible Seattle residents regardless of their citizenship or immigration status. Eligible applicants must be 18 years old or older, have incomes under 50% of Seattle’s area median income (less than $40,500 for an individual or $57,850 for a family of four), and have at least one of these situations apply to the individual or to a household member:  

  • Live within the boundaries of the City of Seattle, or 
  • Be enrolled in the Seattle Promise program, or 
  • Be enrolled in Seattle Public Schools, or 
  • Be an artist/cultural worker who has owned or rented an art studio or rehearsal space within the boundaries of the City of Seattle at any time since March 2020.

Applicants can access the online application in one of eight languages. In-language help to assist with application completion is offered from community-based organizations.

(Photo: Susan Fried)

Dr. Ben Danielson to Lead Solutions-Oriented Program to End Youth Incarceration and Is Recipient of Seattle-King County First Citizen Award

The Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington School of Medicine is forming a program to tackle youth incarceration by promoting paths to opportunity for young people, especially among Youth of Color.

The program, Allies in Healthier Systems for Health & Abundance in Youth (AHSHAY), will be directed by Dr. Benjamin Danielson, a clinical professor of pediatrics at UW Medicine, and a community leader in health equity. A foundational grant to establish the program was made by the Bezos Family Foundation. The program is in the process of becoming a center.

“There is no doubt that incarcerating young people is deeply harmful to their mental health, to their future, and ultimately to all of us,” said Dr. Jürgen Unützer, chair of the Psychiatry Department. “We are really looking forward to working with Dr. Danielson whose work aligns well with our department’s longstanding commitment to address serious health disparities in our community and to develop safe and meaningful alternatives to youth incarceration.”

In addition, for his work in the medical field and in the community, Dr. Danielson will receive the Seattle-King County First Citizen Award, the first from the medical field since 1992. Read about it in this post from The Seattle Medium.

Seattle Public Schools Seeks Substitute Teachers, Staff to Remedy Shortages

Interested in flexible, part-time work in education? Seattle Public Schools (SPS) are facing tremendous staffing shortages and seeking substitute teachers, bus drivers, and support staff. Here’s more information on what they’re looking for:

Review all job openings and apply at 

Black Future Co-op Fund Seeks Black Washingtonians to Shape the State’s Future Through New Survey

The Black Future Co-op Fund, in collaboration with Byrd Barr Place, Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle, and the Washington State Commission on African American Affairs, today launched a statewide survey to gather the diversity of Black perspectives for an upcoming report, “Black Well-being: Moving Toward Solutions Together.” The report aims to support collective organizing across Washington; direct resources to invest in Black prosperity, health, and well-being; and inform policy change to fix structural injustices and advance equitable opportunities. 

The first iteration of the report, Creating an Equitable Future in Washington State: Black Well-Being & Beyond, was published in 2015 by Byrd Barr Place, in collaboration with the Washington State Commission on African American Affairs and the African American Leadership Forum-Seattle. 

The online survey — at — is available in Amharic, Arabic, Dari, English, French, Garifuna, Haitian Creole, Oromo, Somali, Spanish, Swahili, and Tigrinya. Those who complete the survey can opt into a raffle to potentially win a $100 gift card to Black-owned business of their choice in Washington State. 

In early 2022, the survey findings and community-informed recommendations will be shared at a community event cohosted by Black-led organizations.

Secretary of State Kim Wyman to Lead Nation’s Election Security System

Washington’s Secretary of State Kim Wyman will leave office Nov. 19 to accept an appointment to serve as the senior election security lead for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the nation’s lead for cyber, infrastructure, and election security.

Gov. Jay Inslee will be charged with appointing a new secretary of state, who will hold the position until the next general election in November 2022.

“When I began working in elections 28 years ago, I resolved to work toward a system where every eligible person in our state had the opportunity to register, vote, and have their ballot counted fairly and accurately. In the past six years, my focus expanded to ensure our elections remained safe from foreign adversaries,” said Wyman, who has served as Washington’s secretary of state since 2013.

“I am honored to be able to share nearly three decades of experience and expertise at the federal level to support CISA’s efforts to safeguard our election systems from cyberattacks and enhance the public’s confidence in our elections. As I assume this new role, I remain committed to protecting the integrity of our elections and working closely with local and state elections officials nationwide to bolster this foundational pillar of our democracy.”

Washington’s Office of the Secretary of State oversees a number of areas within state government, including managing state elections, registering corporations and charities, and governing the use of the state flag and state seal. The office also manages the State Archives and the State Library, documents extraordinary stories in Washington’s history through Legacy Washington, oversees the Combined Fund Drive for charitable giving by state employees, and administers the state’s Address Confidentiality Program to help protect survivors of crime.

Gallery Owners Greg Kucera and Larry Yocum. Photo courtesy of Artist Trust.

Artist Trust Announces New Fellowship Awards for Art and Equity Advancement

Artist Trust announced two new Fellowship Awards to advance art and equity, one of which focuses on Black artists. The Fellowships will be permanently funded, thanks to a generous $500,000 gift from gallery owners Greg Kucera and Larry Yocom.

The two new Artist Trust Fellowship Awards, each offering an unrestricted grant every year in perpetuity, include the Greg Kucera & Larry Yocom Fellowship Award, for Washington State artists of any background, and the Artist Trust Fellowship Award for Black Artists, believed to be one of the first awards of its kind with a permanent funding source nationally. The addition of these two new awards will enable Artist Trust to offer 15 $10,000 Fellowship Awards for Washington State artists in 2022, the most in the organization’s history.

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