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PONGO POETRY | Dough

Pongo Poetry Project’s mission is to engage youth in writing poetry to inspire healing and growth. For over 20 years, Pongo has mentored poetry with youth at the Children & Family Justice Center (CFJC), King County’s juvenile detention facility. Many CFJC residents are Youth of Color who have endured traumatic experiences in the form of abuse, neglect, and exposure to violence. These incidents have been caused and exacerbated by community disinvestment, systemic racism, and other forms of institutional oppression. In collaboration with CFJC staff, Pongo poetry writing offers CFJC youth a vehicle for self-discovery and creative expression that inspires recovery and healing. Through this special bimonthly column in partnership with the South Seattle Emerald, Pongo invites readers to bear witness to the pain, resilience, and creative capacity of youth whose voices and perspectives are too often relegated to the periphery. To learn more about Pongo’s work of inspiring healing and relief in youth coping with mental and emotional turmoil, register for Pongo Poetry Night, its upcoming event at Third Place Books Ravenna


Dough

by a young person, age 17

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Poet and Former Cage Fighter Jenny Liou Talks About Her Debut Book ‘Muscle Memory’

by Amanda Ong


As a poet and former cage fighter, Jenny Liou has a unique perspective on violence, both in the ring and out of it. On Wednesday, Dec. 7, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., Seattle Public Library (SPL) will host a discussion between award-winning poet and writer Shin Yu Pai and Liou about her debut collection of poetry Muscle Memory. The collection brings together Liou’s time in the MMA cage with her Chinese American family’s history, as she reflects on violence in the cage and generationally.

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Reciprocity Project Highlights Indigenous Storytelling and Values

by Victor Simoes


Reciprocity Project, a series of seven Indigenous-made documentary short films, combines Native American storytelling with climate awareness and other intersectional movements rooted in Indigenous guardianship, social justice, and human rights. The first season of the project debuted on Oct. 10, and it’s already available to stream. 

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OPINION | Bail, Ransom, Wealth Transfer, and Real Community Safety

by Sadé A. Smith


Inequitable bail laws allow bail companies to extort the poor for the little wealth they have. By working as a proxy for the courts’ cash bail system, bail companies are allowed to engage in extreme wealth transfers in exchange for your freedom. In reality, the U.S. legal system has normalized ransoms. Here’s how it works: If you are charged with a crime but not convicted, the court has the option to set bail. If you can’t afford to post bail, you are stuck in jail pretrial, despite being presumed innocent until proven guilty. You are caged until your case resolves. This process can take years. The courts make their determination based on the statements of police and charges determined by prosecutors. You have no way to refute these frequently baseless allegations. The court presumes the police are telling the truth, despite mountains of evidence that police lie in reports regularly. To obtain your freedom, you must pay the full amount to the court or pay 10% to 15% of the bond ordered by the court to a bail company. The bail company pays the full amount and will be reimbursed once the case resolves. In short, you exchange your limited resources for your freedom. The bail company keeps the 10% to 15% you paid no matter what, even if they are fully reimbursed by the court. They also secure collateral for the full amount. If you fail to appear in court (at times for any reason), and the court forfeits your bond, the bond company keeps your 10% to 15% and can collect on the collateral you signed over in exchange for your freedom. In any other circumstance, a contract leveraging your freedom in exchange for money would be null and void, but the criminal legal system allows it. Already economically depressed families have lost homes, vehicles, and other property as a result. In a disparate system that we know is racist, the central question should be, what about having money makes you safer for the community?

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Seattle City Council Finalizes Amendments for a Balanced 2023–2024 Budget

by Lauryn Bray


On Monday, Nov. 21, after weeks of public hearings and public meetings, the City Council finalized amendments to the 2023–2024 budget, following Mayor Bruce Harrell’s initial proposal at the end of September. The council’s budget amendments allocate funding for projects focused on affordable housing, homelessness, equitable development, economic reliance, the Green New Deal, as well as transportation and safe streets. The new budget also carves out money for programs related to health, youth, education, arts, and culture, including $4 million for mental health services in schools in response to the demand for more mental health providers in schools by students impacted by gun violence.

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The Legacy of the Turkey Bowl Week of Service Continues With the 8th Annual Event

by Troy Landrum Jr.


“I don’t ever want to be able to help, and not help.” Those words from Cortez Charles signify the foundation and the mission of the 8th Annual Turkey Bowl Week.

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New Moon Movie Night: ‘The Woman King’ Is the Epic I’ve Always Wanted

by Saira B.


Welcome to our moon-synced movie review show, hosted by Saira Barbaric and NEVE. This duo of South Seattle creatives make multidisciplinary work together and individually. For this show, they’re ecstatic to join their love of astrology, ritual, and pop culture.

Stream this month’s podcast at the New Moon Movie Review official podcast website

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OPINION | We Must Listen to the Students

by Mark Epstein and Michael Dixon


Almost 60 years ago, in the middle of two decades of civil rights activism that changed our country,  James Baldwin delivered a speech to teachers, in which he declared that the purpose of education is for students to look critically at their society and to have a vision of change they are willing to fight for. Without such a perspective, he says, we will perish, or follow the worst example of a Nazi youth movement.

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NEWS GLEAMS | Indigenous Resources to Decolonize Thanksgiving; COVID-19 Services for the Holiday Season

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

curated by Vee Hua 華婷婷


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