Category Archives: Arts & Culture

POETRY: Continental Divide

by Art Gomez


Poets and Pirates and Punks flock the streets. Some carry signs, some shake a fist, some flip the finger, some light a torch, some break a window, some loot a shop, some simply pray in the face of mace and tear gas spray and say we must have a peaceful way. 

Many fired up youth block the streets and march; caught in the crossfire of fire and brimstone and vigilante fire. As did courageous elders in past decades, they risk their blood; all while fearful xenophobe fascists revel in the flow of the other’s blood. This blood, thick and warm on the street, is not mine; is not color free; is equally red when spilled, but skin is all some see. The blood on the street is not mine but my blood has been forewarned. With the crystal clarity of a Reich night, the next time it could be me they don’t see. 

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UNBOUND: Nature Heals

by Carolyn Bick


In this special photography series, Emerald writer and photographer Carolyn Bick shares some of the challenges of being a breaking news reporter and investigative journalist and how they find release, healing, and resilience in nature.

I am bad at being vulnerable.

I am equally bad at asking for help, asking to take a break, saying no — you know, those classic perfectionist traits. These traits are really good at getting a person through the sprint … but what about the marathon?

This year, Reader, I nearly burned out. I think it took longer than anyone who was concerned about me expected, but it was quite a shock for me to find myself crying on the floor of my closet and unable to figure out why. I’d been doing the requisite therapy sessions (that’s what you’re supposed to do in a pandemic, right?), signed up for a Calm membership, kept up with my regular morning exercise, and (grudgingly) agreed to take time off when my publisher and managing editor said I needed to.

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‘The Shadow Beside Me’: Seattle Nonprofit Debuts Poetry From King County Juvenile Detention

by Mark Van Streefkerk 


“You see that I am always getting in trouble

Trouble follows me

like a shadow right behind me, always

You see that I am always in fights

Always rebel fights, arguments

But you don’t know me. I’m not that type of person

I’m really caring, giving

Always trying to help people”

Those are the opening lines to “Josiah,” a poem by 16-year-old Damian, a youth incarcerated at Seattle’s Children and Family Justice Center (CFJC), formerly King County Juvenile Detention. “Josiah” appears in The Shadow Beside Me, a new anthology of poems from youth at CFJC, published by the Pongo Poetry Project. In the poem, Damian writes about how life changed when his friend Josiah was shot and killed. “Josiah was the only person we knew who had graduated / had a job, and had something going for him / When he left, it broke me.” 

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Rising Star Estrella Gonzales-Sanders Featured in New Debbie Allen Netflix Documentary

by Jasmine M. Pulido

Estrella Gonzales-Sanders’ parents may have been prophetic when they named her Estrella, the Spanish word for “star.” The young Renton resident has already danced in front of notable stars like Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Barry Gordy, and Stevie Wonder, to name a few. Now, she has landed a small feature in Debbie Allen’s newly released Netflix documentary, Dance Dreams: Hot Chocolate Nutcracker. And at age 12, Estrella’s own rise to stardom has only just begun.

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Black’Butta Co. Delivers Love-Kissed Sweets to Pandemic Weary Seattle

by Beverly Aarons


Winter is here. The long, dark days. The cold wind. The wet and freezing rain. And since this is 2020, we can probably add quite a bit of snow to that list. But just beneath the blanket of gray is a golden thread of sunshine — a Seattle cook, born and bred right in this city, hopes to bring a little warmth to the hearts and hearths of this beleaguered town. Veronica Very, the owner of Black’Butta Co., has always cooked but not in any official capacity before the pandemic. She was (and still is) a writer, the wife and business partner of visual artist Hiawatha D., and the founder of Women of Wonder, “a sacred space for Black women and girls.” But the pandemic forced her to get creative about her next business move.

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ADEFUA Cultural Education Workshop Leads Effort to Certify Southeast Creative District

by Beverly Aarons


Entrepreneurs, artists, and cultural workers are the heart of Seattle’s South End, but lack of visibility and underinvestment have historically harmed the community. ADEFUA Cultural Education Workshop (A.C.E.W.) and a band of community stakeholders aim to change that by creating Seattle’s first state-certified Creative District. Since 2018, the Washington State Arts Commission (ArtsWA) has certified eight Creative Districts, but not one is in Seattle — yet. If things go as planned, the new Creative District will encompass the area between Franklin High School and Rainier Beach High School. In a telephone interview, Afua Kouyate, a Seattle native and the executive director of A.C.E.W., shared details about the Creative District and the work she’s done in the southeast Seattle community since 1985.

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Creators of ‘The Black Trans Prayer Book’ Address Spiritual Needs of Black Trans People at SPL’s Online Event Friday

by Mark Van Streefkerk 


This Friday, Dec. 11, the co-editors of The Black Trans Prayer Book (TBTPB), J Mase III and Lady Dane Figueroa Edidi, along with other contributors, will share readings, perform, and connect at a Seattle Public Library online event. A collection over three years in the making, TBTPB was released in April and features poems, stories, rituals, spells, and theology by Black trans people of many faiths and spiritual traditions. At once a tool for reclaiming spirituality and healing from religious trauma, TBTPB is also an important contribution to liberation theology, which views religion as a means of liberation for oppressed people. 

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Seattle Latino Film Festival Celebrates Latina Women in Film

by Emerald Staff


The Seattle Latino Film Festival (SLFF) is kicking off the first annual showcase of the “Ibero & Latino Women in Film” on Dec. 10, 2020. “Ibero and Latino Women in Film” will be an annual showcase of the SLFF in an online cinematic program. This cinematic program will showcase 20 titles including feature films, documentaries, and short films that are directed or produced by women from Iberian and Latin American Countries.

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