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✨
- Gov. Jay Inslee Opts Not to Seek a Fourth Term
- Seattle Public Library Joins Fight Against Censorship With National Free Card for Youth
- Swim Seattle Initiative Promotes Swimming and Water Safety Skills for Youth of Color
Gov. Jay Inslee Opts Not to Seek a Fourth Term
In a press release on the morning of May 1, Gov. Jay Inslee shared the decision not to seek a fourth term, stating, “We’ve made Washington a beacon for progress for the nation. I’m ready to pass the torch.”
Inslee was reelected in 2020 and is only the second governor to have sought three consecutive terms. Some of his accomplishments have included leading the nation in some aspects of climate change policy, establishing a Marijuana Justice Initiative to clear misdemeanor convictions, placing a moratorium on Washington State’s death penalty, making decisions around COVID-19 that led to Washington State having one of the lowest death rates in the country. He has also taken steps towards more affordable health care options, strengthening legal protections for abortion rights and gender-affirming care, welcoming refugees, and enacting a paid family and medical leave program which offers up to 16 weeks of paid leave.
Inslee’s current term ends on Jan. 13, 2025. Of his own accomplishments, Inslee wrote, “Now is the time to intensely focus on all we can accomplish in the next year and a half, and I intend to do just that. I look forward to continued partnership with legislators and community leaders to address Washington’s homelessness crisis, speed our efforts to expand behavioral health services, continue our fight against climate change, and continue making Washington a beacon of progress for all.”
Attorney General Bob Ferguson issued his own press release regarding Inslee’s decision, saying, “It has been a privilege to work with you to stand up to the Trump administration, protect women’s reproductive freedom, defend immigrants, get assault weapons off our streets, protect our air and water, eliminate the death penalty, and advocate for our veterans.”
Seattle Public Library Joins Fight Against Censorship With National Free Card for Youth
Following the lead of Brooklyn Public Library (BPL), the Seattle Public Library (SPL) will now join the fight against censorship by joining BPL’s “Books Unbanned” initiative, which originally began last year. Teens and young adults aged 13 to 26, who are living anywhere in the country, will now be able to sign up for free access to all 900,000+ e-book and e-audiobook titles available through SPL’s OverDrive collection.
In a March 2023 report, the American Library Association shared that, “Censors targeted a record 2,571 unique titles in 2022, a 38% increase from the 1,858 unique titles targeted for censorship in 2021. Of those titles, the vast majority were written by or about members of the LGBTQIA+ community or by and about Black people, Indigenous people, and People of Color.”
The American Library Association’s recently-published list of “Top 13 Most Challenged Books of 2022” shows that most of the books are challenged for LGBTQIA+ content or claims of them having sexually explicit material. Among the most-challenged books on the list are Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe, All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson, The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. The entire list was shared as a part of their 2023 State of America’s Libraries Report.
“In the face of a growing national movement to censor what children and young adults read, we are proud to stand with Brooklyn Public Library in protecting intellectual freedom and the right to read,” said The Seattle Public Library’s Chief Librarian Tom Fay, via SPL’s press release. “This movement and trend must be countered by doing what public libraries are supposed to do – providing free and unrestricted access to information, ideas, and diverse viewpoints.”
According to SPL’s press release, since April 2022, “6,300 teens from all 50 states have signed up for BPL’s National Teen eCard, and have used the card for 100,000 checkouts.”
Teens and young adults nationwide can sign up for an SPL card at SPL.org/BooksUnbanned.
Swim Seattle Initiative Promotes Swimming and Water Safety Skills for Youth of Color
Seattle Parks and Recreation, Mayor Bruce Harrell, and a number of community partners have launched the first cohort for Swim Seattle, a new “drowning-prevention and youth aquatics initiative” which, according to their press release, is designed to “remove barriers to learning to swim and to eradicate disproportionate drownings among youth of color.”
Lessons will take place in summer 2023 at pools throughout the city, with the pilot program offering a year of free lessons to 250 youth. Registrations will prioritize those who cannot afford lessons, as well as support children and families in becoming “comfortable swimmers and water safe.” Workshops for families will include topics such as skincare and haircare when swimming, fear of water, and best practices for water safety.
The program is now taking registrations for their first cohort, which will begin May 16. Register online, in-person at Seattle pools, and via phone (206-684-8020).
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