by Patheresa Wells
On Saturday, April 16, 2022, Rowhouse International and Nomad Boxing Club combined forces to present the first annual Bumblebee Memorial Boxing Showcase, held at Washington Hall. A packed crowd attended the event to watch as amateur fighters from throughout the PNW came to put their fists together in support of foster kids. Additionally, the event included a partnership with Treehouse to promote its work advocating for youth in foster care as well as to raise money for the organization.
The all-day event started with a sparring session between two young female boxers who gave the crowd a fantastic fight. One of the two, Angeline Condulle, is the daughter of Coach Manny, owner of Nomad Boxing. Eleven-year-old Condulle has been training for a little less than a year, and got into the sport after seeing her brothers and father train. She says one positive aspect of boxing is that she can take any outside emotions into the ring.
Emotion and passion at the event were on display both inside and outside the ring. Those in attendance cheered along, encouraging fighters as their gloves made contact. And throughout the event, community leaders and organizations spoke to bring recognition to issues facing those in the foster care system. There were 10 matches total, with amaeuter fighters representing numerous Pacific Northwest gyms.
Demetrius Morgan, CEO of Rowhouse International, the entertainment company cohosting the event, says that when deciding on an organization to partner with, they agreed on Treehouse because it has a proven track record in its work, which Saturday’s showcase helped support and promote. Having been a part of it growing up, the foster care system is close to Morgan’s heart. He left the system only to return later to work with at-risk youth. Now that Morgan has moved on to other career endeavors, it is important to him to be able to amplify the voices of those still doing the work. He said, “I can help provide a platform. I can give them the microphone.”
And in the ring, the microphone was passed to Sen. T’wina Nobles, representing the 28th Legislative District, who took office in 2021, the first Black state senator to serve in a decade. Nobles spoke about her own experiences in the foster care system, and her sponsorship of Senate Bill 5824, the Fostering Finances Act, supports those aging out of the foster care system. Also in attendance was creative, community organizer, educator, and attorney Nikkita Oliver, who was there to honor Coach Bumblee’s legacy of serving area youth through mentorship.
As the crowd enjoyed the day honoring Bumblebee’s legacy while bringing attention to how the community can support those in the foster care system, the showcase harkened back to when boxing matches brought out everyone. Back in boxing’s heyday, when folks got dressed up for a fight, you might find a senator seated next to a local small-business owner, next to the supportive father of a boxer there to support their kid. All together to enjoy the fight and engage with each other.
Patheresa Wells is a Queer poet, writer, and storyteller who lives in SeaTac, Washington. Born to a Black mother and Persian father, her experiences as a multicultural child shaped her desire to advocate for and amplify her community. She currently attends Highline College in Des Moines. Follow her on Twitter @PatheresaWells.
📸 Featured Image: The community gathered to support amateur boxers in the first ever Bumblebee Memorial Boxing Showcase, in honor of the late Willie Briscoray, known as Coach Bumblebee. The event took place on April 16, 2022, at Washington Hall. (Photo: Patheresa Wells)
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