Skyway Community Members Offered Stipend to Participate in Building Local Food Economy

by Elizabeth Turnbull


Community members are encouraged to join and provide input at “Local Foods, Local Places Virtual Workshop” sessions which will be held Monday through Thursday of next week. Organized by the Urban Food Systems Pact – Skyway (UFSPS), the events will help develop a community action plan to grow the local food economy and to improve access to healthy foods.

The sessions will explore possible food-related projects such as developing an affordable neighborhood farmer’s market, a food hub with a commercial kitchen for entrepreneurs, or a gardening program led by BIPOC elders. 

The purpose of the workshop is to form a short-term action plan for improving access to local foods to be implemented through the next two to five years.

Continue reading Skyway Community Members Offered Stipend to Participate in Building Local Food Economy

Libraries, Artists, and Community Members Host ‘What the World Needs Now: A Dreamathon’

by Chamidae Ford


In response to the COVID-19 delta variant, The Seattle Public Library (SPL) has teamed up with an array of entertainers, community organizations, and artists to create “What the World Needs Now: A Dreamathon.” The Dreamathon is a series dedicated to encouraging community members to imagine a better pandemic life through art, music, and knowledge. 

“We started COVID response projects in 2020 but intentionally decided that community-led work should be at the center of what we were doing,” SPL public engagements program manager Davida Ingram said. “So there’s a really beautiful array of culturally specific work that happened in response to COVID that has a lot of implications for racial justice and the role that arts and culture sort of plays in amplifying concerns around public health.”

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Law Students Demand Seattle University Cut Ties With Data Companies Working With ICE

by Bunthay Cheam


Seattle University Law School students are calling on their school to cut ties with data companies Thomson Reuters and RELX PLC, the parent companies of legal research tools Westlaw and LexisNexis, respectively, because of their relationship with Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE).

On Oct. 4, 2021, the law students who are part of the national group, End the Contract Coalition (ECC), took part in a week of action that included a virtual panel facilitated by Mijente, a Latinx and Chicanx political activism group, and on campus direct action. Students unfurled a massive sign to inform students and faculty of their campaign and laid out sleeping bags covered in foil blankets inside the Law School building to represent people in custody at immigration holding facilities. 

In April, Seattle University Law School students Sam Sueoka and Peyton Jacobsen discovered the relationship between LexisNexis and ICE through an Intercept article.

According to the ECC website: “LexisNexis signed a $16.8 million contract with ICE, further consolidating the relationship between legal research companies and law enforcement agencies. The contract states that LexisNexis will provide Homeland Security investigators with access to billions of records containing personal data from an array of public and private sources, including credit history, bankruptcy records, license plate images, and cellular subscriber information. Both Thomson Reuters and RELX have a history of supplying ICE with person-specific data which allows the agency to conduct rapid searches for personal information.”

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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

Amplifying the Authentic Narratives of South Seattle

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