Category Archives: Features

Black History Today: Girmay Zahilay, a Dream Manifested

by Marcus Harden

(Black History Today is published in collaboration with Rise up for Students.)


“One voice can change a room, and if one voice can change a room, then it can change a city, and if it can change a city, it can change a state, and if it change a state, it can change a nation, and if it can change a nation, it can change the world. Your voice can change the world.”

—Barack Obama 

As I’ve grown older, I’ve become more and more fascinated by the African Diaspora and the connection to the African American experience. I’ve especially been fascinated with learning more about the countries in Africa such as Ethiopia, as it stands as one of the only countries to not be colonized by European “settlers.” It’s begged the question: What lay in the culture of those people? What portions of that culture permeate from generation to generation and how do they show up today?

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Black History Today: Kisa Hendrickson, a Voice for Those Who Would Be Kept Voiceless

by Marcus Harden

(Black History Today is published in collaboration with Rise up for Students.)


“Listen, if you choose to believe nothing else that transpires here, believe this: your body does not have a soul; your soul has a body, and souls never, ever die.”

—Bernice L. McFadden

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Black History Today: Janiece ‘Grandma’ Jackson, Supplying Endless Love to Seattle’s Central District

by Marcus Harden

(Black History Today is published in collaboration with Rise up for Students.)


“To acknowledge our ancestors means we are aware that we did not make ourselves, that the line stretches all the way back, perhaps to God; or to Gods. We remember them because it is an easy thing to forget: that we are not the first to suffer, rebel, fight, love and die. The grace with which we embrace life, in spite of the pain, the sorrow, is always a measure of what has gone before.”

—Alice Walker

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OPINION: Why Local Jazz Must Survive

Story and photos by Glenn Nelson


If drummer D’Vonne Lewis isn’t the hardest working musician on the Seattle jazz scene, he is, by all accounts, in the top 1%. Typically, he played two to three gigs per day, every day of the week. Lewis was so busy he even stopped practicing because, spending all his time playing live music, he, his ear, and his body already knew the drill. 

Then came the COVID-19 pandemic and performances started cancelling. 

“Oh man, this is getting ugly,” Lewis remembers thinking.

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Shape Our Water: Shelagh Brown, Reconnecting Communities With Nature

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 Seattleto 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 Shelagh Brown, a member of the Alphabet Alliance of Color. 

Shelagh Brown won’t reveal her secret hideaway. All she’ll say is it’s a nearby lake with a lone public entrance, where the water is clean and powerboats are forbidden — a little slice of paradise. She’d like to keep it that way.

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Latino Voters Have Higher Than Average Ballot Signature Rejection Rates in Washington State

by Joy Borkholder

(This article originally appeared on InvestigateWest and has been reprinted with permission.)


Marissa Reyes still doesn’t understand why her signature would cause her August 2020 Benton County primary ballot to be tossed out. 

A letter from the county elections office challenging her signature came to her house in her hometown of Prosser. But Reyes had left for New York, where she had just finished college. Confused, neither Reyes nor her parents had the time to figure it all out before her ballot was rejected.

“I definitely felt annoyed and a little apathetic, but definitely not surprised,” Reyes recalled.

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Red Barn Ranch Gets One Step Closer to Potential Black Ownership

by Jack Russillo


Southeast of Seattle, in unincorporated King County near Auburn, sits a nearly 39-acre parcel of wild land and outbuildings. Currently called the Red Barn Ranch and owned by Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR), the property has been everything from a summer camp to a conference center to a farming education program. For the last three years, though, it’s sat empty. To some Black leaders in Seattle, this property could be exactly what the community needs to move toward an equitable model for Black-led land ownership that helps the Black community thrive. 

Several community voices have been lobbying since the summer of 2020 for the City of Seattle to transfer the Red Barn Ranch property to Black ownership. Who the land is sold to is ultimately up to SPR, but a leading candidate to take on the task of stewarding the land is Nurturing Roots, an urban farm located in Beacon Hill. 

“People have asked me if I wanted to own it, but no, I want it to be all of ours,” said Nyema Clark, the founder and director of Nurturing Roots, during an interview with the Emerald in October. “All of us should have a share, and that share should never be able to be sold. You could pass it down to other generations, but you couldn’t make money off of it. We want to make a legitimate model that lasts.”

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Help for the Hungry: Mutual Aid Networks Thrive During Pandemic

 by Alexa Peters


In March of last year, shortly after the city shuttered the first time due to COVID-19, Seattle’s Maria Lamarca Anderson wanted take-out. She called up a BIPOC-owned Filipino restaurant she’d been meaning to try, Beacon Hill’s Musang Seattle.

“I said, ‘Hi, I’d like to order food.’ They said, ‘Oh, well, you can’t, but if you need food come and get it,’” said Lamarca Anderson.

She was confused, but Lamarca Anderson drove to the restaurant anyway. Once there, she learned that upon closing their businesses when the pandemic hit, Musang’s owner, Melissa Miranda, had pivoted from regular restaurant operations to form the Seattle Community Kitchen Collective with a few other local restaurant owners, including Chef Tarik Abdullah from Feed the People. Ever since, the coalition had been donating their kitchens and labor to make meals for anyone who’s hungry, 100% of the time.

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Self Love Tips for Valentine’s Day

by Alexa Peters

Valentine’s Day is supposedly the day of love, but for singles — particularly Seattle singles riding out the pandemic alone — it can also be a day of loneliness. For Skanda Bhargav, a 31-year-old tech worker who moved to Seattle from the Bay Area last summer, this Valentine’s Day is especially hard.

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