In anticipation of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, various virtual events are being hosted in Seattle to honor the civil rights leader. From spoken word programs to virtual walks, there are multiple opportunities to honor MLK Jr.’s legacy this year despite the constraints of social distancing.
Intentionalist is built on one simple idea: where we spend our money matters. We make it easy to find, learn about, and support small businesses and the diverse people behind them through everyday decisions about where we eat, drink, and shop. #SpendLikeItMatters
As we enter the new year, there’s one thing that’s already clear: We’re going to need our energy to get through it. And what could be more energizing than a carefully crafted cup of coffee from a local South Seattle coffee shop?
Independent coffee shops are so much more than the coffee they serve. Pre-pandemic, they were our go-to meeting spots when we wanted to catch up with a loved one, community organizing spaces, and where we set up our office for the day. It may be awhile until we can fully embrace everything these special neighborhood spaces have to offer, but for now, we can still enjoy a delicious drink made by people who genuinely care.
For the past 38 years, hundreds to thousands of King County residents have arrived at Garfield High School on the third Monday morning in January. Rain or shine, they showed up to march in honor of one of the most important leaders of the civil rights movement, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
On an overcast Thursday afternoon in December, groups of local kids gather to play pickup soccer on Brighton Playfield, located in the heart of South Seattle next to Aki Kurose Middle School. It has rained all week, which in past years would mean that the field’s overgrown and misshapen grass surface would be unplayable. But now, after the park’s recently completed remodel, the kids play on artificial field turf without issue.
Suffused with colored lines marked for soccer, baseball, football, and ultimate frisbee, the dazzling green surface is a bit jarring for anyone used to the previously natural and blended landscape. Newly paved concrete walkways have replaced the mudded paths. Fences line the exterior of the field at a proper height.
The most important feature of the renovation, however, may not be the flatness of the leveled ground or softness of the state-of-the-art field turf. It’s the lights.
There is no denying that COVID-19 hit the restaurant industry hard, forcing businesses to lay off countless employees who made their livelihood by serving, cooking, and working in restaurants. Alex Dorros, who co-founded the new South American restaurant Siembra with his mother, Sandra Marulanda, is one of the many who lost their job back in March.
Owning a restaurant was never what Dorros had envisioned for himself, but the pandemic created a unique opportunity, and he seized it. After he lost both his restaurant jobs and his mother left her teaching job, the duo realized Siembra was a venture they could work toward together.
“We weren’t really thinking about being business partners from the beginning,” Dorros said. “But then, as she lost her job and we were sitting there cooking and testing recipes, we were like, ‘Why don’t we just do this together?’”
Although opening a restaurant in the pandemic has been a daunting and challenging task, Dorros has found joy in the process.
Coffee and art are a naturally occurring combo, especially among South Seattle companies Café Avole and Paradice Avenue Souf. The Ethiopian-owned café partnered with the South End clothing store and creative agency to release a limited-edition, single-origin Yirgacheffe coffee on December 22. With beans sourced from Yirga Ch’Efe, located in the province of Sidamo, Ethiopia, and artwork by Paradice’s Ari Glass, the result speaks on many levels about the birthplace of coffee, the significance of it passing through the hands of South Seattle communities — many of which hail from coffee-producing countries — and being interpreted by South End artists.
Like all construction trades, carpentry is overwhelmingly male-dominated, literally meaning most of the world has been built “by men for men,” as Melissa Garcia described. With her business La Matriarca Woodworkings, Garica hopes to make a little more of the South End built by women.
Offering carpentry, construction, resin, and custom work, South Park-based La Matriarca has been especially busy this year since more families have been staying in and focusing on home renovations during the pandemic. It’s a challenge Garica welcomes, especially with the support she receives from the community. Through her booming business, as well as future mentorship opportunities in the works, Garcia hopes she can be the visible representation of a queer, POC, Indigenous woman working in the trades that she never saw when she was young.
The last thing Seattle needs is some system reboot to its “last saved version.” We don’t need those program files restored. Not the crises of affordability, not the persistent disparity in education, resources, and opportunities. Not the heinously lopsided “economic growth,” not the endless civic “community feedback processes” that forever result somehow in more of the same. And definitely not the feel-good liberal jargon that tactfully, tactically sugarcoats it all.