Category Archives: Community

How a Facebook Group Supporting Seattle’s Chinatown Became a COVID-19 Community Movement

by Sharon H. Chang


It was back in February — what now seems a lifetime ago — when Bill Tashima first heard people were avoiding Seattle’s Chinatown-International District (ID) because of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China. It was still winter, COVID-19 was not yet a pandemic, and only one known U.S. case existed in nearby Snohomish County (in a man who had visited Wuhan). But because Seattle’s Chinatown, a historically Asian immigrant community, was being perceived as directly connected to China where the outbreak began in December, businesses in the ID had been experiencing decline as early as January. Restaurants were getting hit especially hard. 

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“I want them all to be here when we emerge from this” — South Seattleites Raise Funds for Local Businesses

by Elizabeth Turnbull 


Rainier Valley community members raised more than $5,000 last week, which they distributed to six local businesses and one community project to show solidarity with local businesses suffering due to restrictions caused by the novel coronavirus. 

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Rainier Beach Community Pays Tribute to Conner Dassa-Holland

by Ari Robin McKenna and Makayla Miles


When Conner Dassa-Holland was in middle school at Orca K–8, his English teacher there, Donte Felder, would often present students with two questions:

“What is your story? What is your future?”

Years later, Donte would run into Conner from time to time in South Seattle, where they both lived. Usually, after getting an earful of Conner’s recent achievements, he would ask Conner what had become a predictable question:

“What is your story? What is your future?”

Responses varied over the years. Having spent both 7th and 8th grade in Donte’s English classrooms, Conner was ready with a variety of off-the-cuff answers over the years.

Donte remembers their final exchange:

“What is your story? What is your future?”

“Change the world. Our systems are wrong.”

“How?”

“I’ll figure that out later, but one step at a time.”

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Neighborhood Check-In: Beacon Hill

by Jessie McKenna

This is the second in our series of articles checking in on the neighborhoods of South Seattle, produced by community members living within them. Read our first, a Rainier Beach and Dunlap check-in, here.


Per the new norm in the era of COVID quarantine, I don’t see people out on Beacon Ave as much or at the coffee shops, restaurants and grocery stores like I normally would, and I miss my community — our interactions and checking in with each other, sharing news and resources. I miss being connected to my neighborhood in a way that feels organic and authentic (vs. awkward and/or virtual). 

I’m grateful for the online realm where my friends and neighbors are sharing stories and information, but nothing beats face-to-face conversation and we’re not getting as many of those these days. But I caught up with some neighborhood folx to check in on them one-on-one (virtually), and then later we arranged a time for me to snap their pics from a safe distance. 

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Mother’s Day #SolidarityFlowers Support Hmong Farmers and People Excluded From Coronavirus Relief

by Sharon H. Chang


It’s early morning when vans from eight different Hmong farms pull up to unload spring bouquets across King, Snohomish and Pierce counties. Bins and boxes, filled with vibrant flowers wrapped in white paper, are placed on the ground or on tables. Gold and red tulips, cream and maroon peonies, blue violet irises and pink lupines. Volunteers move the flowers into the shade to avoid wilting, careful to keep the blooms brilliant for later, when they’ll be picked up by families and gifted to hundreds of beaming mothers in the area.

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Hillman City’s Onda Origins Cafe & Roastery Serves Food and Flowers from Local Farmers

by Mark Van Streefkerk


Onda Origins Cafe & Roastery has turned their flagship cafe into a general store for local farmers, whose revenues have been hit hard by the closure of Seattle’s farmers markets. Although COVID-19 has shut down all but essential businesses, Onda remains open for take-out beverages and wholesale coffee, initiating partnerships with other local producers to sell their products. The company’s mission of connecting consumers to coffee producers has broadened to include connecting local farmers with the Hillman City community.

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Africatown Media’s Morning Show Champions the Voices of the Historic Central District

by Thea White


“My Mother is 73, she still has her own radio show, my dad opened the first Black-owned photography studio in the Pacific Northwest … media is not on me, it’s in me.”

—Omari Salisbury

This past Friday, I had the opportunity to speak with Omari Salisbury, manager of Africatown Media, to talk about the Morning Update Show, a pop-up broadcast show that he and his team of volunteers — Trae Holiday (co-host), Darryl Glover (live streaming production), Anthony Austin (production assistant), and Acacia Iyana (producer/researcher) — have been producing.

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Tilth’s Annual Edible Plant Sale Goes Digital and Comes to Rainier Beach

by Jack Russillo


Springtime means the busiest time of the year for gardeners everywhere and, even during the COVID-19 crisis, the Tilth Alliance is doing all it can to help supply plants to Seattle-area residents.

This year, the effects of the pandemic have forced Tilth to move its annual edible plant sale online, requiring pickups out of its South Seattle base of operations, the Rainier Beach Urban Farm and Wetlands (5513 South Cloverdale St.), just north of Be’er Sheva Park. The plant sale’s pickup and distribution storefront will be open from 7 p.m. Friday, May 1, until 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, May 5, or until all products sell out. 

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News Gleam: Beacon Hill Council Searches for 100 Community Stories

by Emerald Staff


With Governor Inslee’s COVID-19 “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order in force, and many in the Beacon Hill neighborhood impacted by displacement, the Beacon Hill Council (BHC) is asking the  question “How do we keep our community together during the time of COVID-19 and beyond?”

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News Gleam: Rainier Beach’s Detective Cookie Chess Park Receives $10,000 Donation

by Emerald Staff


Liberty Mutual and Safeco Insurance announced Wednesday that Merrill & Merrill Insurance has earned a 2020 Make More Happen Award. The honor recognizes the Rainier Beach business for its volunteer work with the Seattle Parks Foundation (SPF) and helping to improve the local community. The award includes a $10,000 donation that will directly benefit SPF, a nonprofit with the mission of providing a place for Seattle residents to feel connected in safe and beautiful green spaces while having easy access to recreational opportunities that meet their needs.

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