Category Archives: Features

Weekend Long Reads: 2020 Didn’t Bring a Baby Boom

by Kevin Schofield


Every year the National Center for Health Statistics, a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), releases updated statistics on births and fertility rates in the United States, and this week it published figures for 2020. There have been plenty of predictions about what effect the pandemic would have on births, with some (including myself) guessing that with everyone cooped up at home we might see a mini baby boom.

Alas, it was not so. There were 3,605,201 births in the U.S. last year, a 4% drop from 2019. Birth rates declined across all age groups except for the youngest teenagers and the oldest women. Other than a slight bump up in 2014, the number of births in the United States has been steadily dropping since 2007, and 2020 saw the lowest level of births since 1979.

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Shape Our Water: Magdalena ‘Maggie’ Angel-Cano

by Ben Adlin


Shape Our Water is a community-centered project from Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) and KVRU 105.7 FM, a hyperlocal low power FM station in South Seattle, to plan the next 50 years of Seattle’s drainage and wastewater systems. Funded by SPU, the project spotlights members of local community-based organizations and asks them to share how water shapes their lives. Our latest conversation is with Maggie Angel-Cano, community engagement and communications specialist for the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition. 

Growing up in South Park, Maggie Angel-Cano spent years without realizing Seattle’s only river ran through her neighborhood. 

“We had no idea there was a river in the community,” she said. “We just, you know, lived our daily life: work, school, back home.”

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Weekend Long Reads: A Whole Lot of Sloshing Going On! What a Tsunami Would Do in Puget Sound

by Kevin Schofield


If you’ve lived here in the Pacific Northwest for a while, you’ve probably heard of the Cascadia Subduction Zone, a massive earthquake fault off the coast of British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon where the seismic plate holding up the land is slipping underneath the one at the bottom of the ocean. Pressure builds up for centuries along the area where they overlap and rub against each other, and every 500 years a major “rip” occurs where the mainland plate moves farther west and down, and the ocean plate is pushed up (and potentially east). The resulting earthquake is around magnitude 9.0 — about 100 times stronger than the 2001 Nisqually earthquake, our last big seismic event here in Seattle. In addition to the earth-movement damage that it would cause, the uplifting and dropping of the ocean floor along the fault line is expected to cause a tsunami wave. 

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Weekend Long Reads: A Watershed Ruling on Homelessness

by Kevin Schofield


On Tuesday, April 20, U.S. District Court Judge David Carter of the Central District of California issued a ruling that is likely to become a watershed moment in the United States’ response to homelessness.

In March of last year, the LA Alliance for Human Rights and several individuals sued the City and County of Los Angeles, alleging that they had not only fundamentally failed to address the homeless emergency in Los Angeles but had in fact contributed to creating it over the course of several decades. The complaint they filed reads more like what we might imagine the authors of the “Seattle is Dying” video would have written about Los Angeles: public health hazards, accumulating trash, rising crime, blocked sidewalks, local government leaders unwilling or unable to rise to the challenge of dealing with it. But Judge Carter had his own ideas, and over the last year has fully immersed himself in the issues and the situation on the ground.

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Weekend Long Reads: Why the CDC ‘Paused’ the Johnson & Johnson COVID Vaccine

by Kevin Schofield


Earlier this week Carolyn Bick wrote an excellent article on the CDC’s decision to “pause” use of the COVID vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson after reports of a handful of cases of blood clots in the several days following vaccination. This week’s Long Reads dives into the science of why the CDC made that controversial move, and what happens next.

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How to Get a COVID-19 Vaccine in South Seattle and South King County

by Ben Adlin

Editors’ Note: This article will be updated periodically as new information becomes available. New sections will be dated for your convenience.


Beginning Thursday, April 15, everyone in Washington 16 years or older will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Chances are that’s you. So now that you qualify for a shot, how do you actually get one?

The good news: There are plenty of places around South Seattle and South King County that offer the vaccines. Vaccination is also free of charge, no matter where you get it or whether or not you have insurance.

The not-so-good news: Finding a shot — at least for now — might take some time. Millions of people across the state have become eligible in recent weeks, and waitlists are getting long. The region is also forecast to see a near-term shortage in vaccines as manufacturers scramble to ramp up production.

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How Medical Racism Robs Black Families of Joyous Birth Experiences

by Chamidae Ford

(This article is published in recognition of Black Maternal Health Week, which takes place every year from April 11–17. The week is intended to deepen the national conversation about Black maternal health in the US; amplify community-driven policy, research, and care solutions; and center the voices of Black mamas, women, femmes, families, and stakeholders.)


Childbirth is often thought to be the most magical experience one can have. But for Black women, the road to motherhood can often be paved with horror due to the racism they face in the medical field. 

Shayla Akande gave birth to a baby girl on January 24, 2021. Although her story ends with a happy and healthy baby, the birthing process wasn’t the smooth transition she had been hoping for. 

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Native Communities Seek to Keep the Spirit of the Powwow Alive During the Pandemic

by Alexa Peters


Any Native American powwow performer, artisan, staffer, or organizer will tell you that a powwow — rich with intricately-beaded regalia, the dust of dancing moccasins, and the call and response of traditional songs — is a celebration of life itself; it’s a chance to honor the drum that beats in us all.

While nothing can stop the beat of this drum, the ways of celebration must adapt during the COVID-19 pandemic, which disproportionately affects Native Americans. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that in 23 selected states, the number of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases among American Indian and Alaskan Native people “was 3.5 times that of non-Hispanic whites.”

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Weekend Long Reads: Unicorns and Popsicles

by Kevin Schofield 


After last week’s interesting but depressing column looking at the leading causes of death in the United States, I promised South Seattle Emerald publisher and editor Marcus Green that this week’s column would be on a lighter note. Or, as Marcus jokingly put it, “unicorns and popsicles.” 

Ask, and ye shall receive.

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Weekend Long Reads: The Leading Causes of Death in 2020

by Kevin Schofield 


Now that we’re a few months into 2021, the final statistics on the dumpster fire that was 2020 are now trickling out. This week’s long read — admittedly not a very long one but an important one for us to reflect on — is a look at the leading causes of death last year.

You may be surprised to learn that COVID-19 was only #3 on the list — and a distant third at that. That said, the COVID pandemic still had an obvious and outsized impact on nearly every aspect of the mortality figures.

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