A roundup of news and announcements we don’t want to get lost in the fast-churning news cycle!
curated by Vee Hua 華婷婷
✨Gleaming This Week✨
- Crisis Care Centers Levy Leads in Early Results From April Special Election
- Musician, Actor, and Activist Harry Belafonte Dies at Age 96
- Free Dental, Medical, and Eye Care Services at Seattle/King County Clinic
Crisis Care Centers Levy Leads in Early Results From April Special Election
In early results from the April Special Election, 54% of participating King County voters have voted to approve the Crisis Care Centers Levy, which will create five new crisis care centers in the region as well as build capacity in the behavioral health care workforce. Election night results at 4 p.m. on April 25 accounted for 294,714 ballots of 1,380,642 potential registered voters, or 21.35% of the voting population.
This levy was placed in the hands of King County voters following an announcement in 2022 by King County Executive Dow Constantine and subsequent approval by the King County Council in February 2023. According to King County, the levy “proposes to invest in urgent care needs to transform an aging system and restore a path to recovery. The proposal responds to continued closures, reduced capacity, and significant gaps of behavioral health resources.”
Over the course of a nine-year property tax — which should add an average of $150 a year to property taxes — the levy hopes to address King County’s lack of behavioral health crisis facilities. Currently, there is only one in operation in Seattle and it serves the entire county. It hosts 46 beds, requires a referral, and is understaffed.
The five new crisis care centers will have walk-in options and offer an alternative to emergency rooms or jails by allowing individuals suffering from crisis to receive immediate mental health and substance abuse treatment and care. One will be dedicated to youth, and all of the crisis care centers will accept those with and without insurance.
If the levy passes, the timeline of rollout will be proposed by the Executive in late 2023 and then reviewed and approved by the Regional Policy Committee and King County Council.
According to King County, the Executive’s early investments are focused around: “expanding mobile behavioral health services or services at existing sites that promote access to behavioral health services for people experiencing or at risk of a behavioral health crisis; providing early investments to preserve existing mental health residential facilities; [and] investing in growing and retaining the behavioral health workforce to ensure a sufficient workforce is available.”
Musician, Actor, and Activist Harry Belafonte Dies at Age 96
African American musician, actor, and civil rights icon Harry Belafonte (born Harold George Bellanfanti Jr.) has died in Manhattan at the age of 96. Born in 1927, Belafonte first broke through with his 1956 album Calypso, which included the hit song “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song),” and later with “Jump in the Line (Shake, Señora),” a cover song originally composed by Lord Kitchener but recorded by Belafonte in 1961.
Belafonte, the son of Jamaican-born parents, did much to popularize calypso music — a style of Caribbean music that has roots in Trinidad and Tobago — to international audiences, and his later musical career expanded into blues, folk, gospel, and other genres. As an actor, he also starred in a number of films, dating as far back as Carmen Jones (1954) and Island in the Sun (1957) to his final appearance in Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman (2018), in which he played an elderly civil rights pioneer.
Throughout his life, Belafonte earned accolades in music and film, including three Grammy Awards, an Emmy Award, and a Tony Award — but just as important was his work around humanitarian and civil rights causes. He was a close friend of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the 1950s and 1960s Civil Rights Movement and was blacklisted during the McCarthy era as a result of his activism at this time. During the 1963 Birmingham Campaign, he helped bail King out of a Birmingham jail and helped raise tens of thousands of dollars for the release of other civil rights protestors. He also participated in the 1961 freedom rides, helped organize the 1963 March on Washington, and funded the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee during the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer.
In his later years, Belafonte remained outspoken about humanitarian and civil rights issues, supporting HIV/AIDS issues, advocating for prostate cancer treatments, critiquing U.S. foreign policy, and much more. He also served as an American Civil Liberties Union celebrity ambassador focused on juvenile justice issues and was involved in countless other causes.
Listen or watch the three-part series on Democracy Now! that celebrates Belafonte’s work and life.
Free Dental, Medical, and Eye Care Services at Seattle/King County Clinic
For its eighth year, the Seattle/King County Clinic will be offering free dental, medical, and eye care services at Seattle Center. With the support of licensed health care professionals and volunteers, more than 3,000 people are assisted during the clinic period, which is focused on offering services to those who struggle to access or afford health care.
The clinics take place Thursday, April 27, to Sunday, April 30, from 6:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. A limited number of free admission tickets will be distributed at 5:30 a.m. each day in Fisher Pavilion at Seattle Center (corner of 2nd Ave. N. and Thomas Street/Lenny Wilkens Way), on a first-come, first-served basis. Clinic doors will open at 6:30 a.m., and patients will be escorted in according to their ticket number.
Patients cannot seek dental and vision care on the same day, and must come prepared with masks and the ability to wait for a long period of time.
Learn more about Seattle/King County Clinic at seattlecenter.org/skcclinic or by calling 206-684-7200.
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