Category Archives: Social Justice

Jerry Elster: Transformational Change From San Quentin to Seattle

by Amir Islam

At the age of nineteen Jerry Eslter killed a rival gang member, ending up in prison. He was released five years ago after serving a twenty-six year sentence. The first five years of that sentence was spent in solidarity confinement. During that time Jerry came to find that his violence was hindering his life’s progress. The time in solidarity confinement challenged him on many different levels, and led Jerry to have a spiritual awakening, which changed his mindset. He knew this would be a hard process, but he adamantly sought alternatives to violence. Jerry began using his influence in jail for the better, making a peace treaty with rival gangs, and promoting peace throughout the California penitentiary system. 

 
Today, Jerry is a Black Liberation freedom fighter working on transforming a racist crimal justice system through an anti-racist organizing lens, while helping to build the people’s movement. I sat with Jerry to discuss his work, movement building, and where today’s fight for Black liberation is heading.

Continue reading Jerry Elster: Transformational Change From San Quentin to Seattle

Anti-Deportation Efforts at Northwest Detention Center Increase as Immigration Reform Heats Up

by Joseph C. Denton

On Jan. 19 the U.S. Supreme court agreed to hear a lawsuit brought by 26 states seeking to overturn President Obama’s 2014 executive order that would allow up to 5 million immigrants to gain work permits without fear of raids, incarceration and deportation. The order is currently suspended as a federal judge reviews its constitutionality. Continue reading Anti-Deportation Efforts at Northwest Detention Center Increase as Immigration Reform Heats Up

Georgia Stewart McDade: A Life Mightier Than Obstacles

by Sharon H. Chang

Georgia Stewart McDade has a mind bigger than the world and yet she is so easy to be around. Warm, friendly, full of smiles and stories, she’s irresistibly energetic and far younger than her years. Don’t be fooled though – cause she’s fierce as anything too. She is a Black woman who grew up in the segregated south, trail-blazed her entire life and doesn’t plan on slowing down any time soon. Georgia is the first African American woman to earn a Ph. D. in English from the University of Washington. In addition to being a college educator for three decades she is a prolific poet and writer, has published three books, once traveled the world in six months, and is headed to Malawi for the first time where she will lecture at two universities. Oh. And she just turned 70. Continue reading Georgia Stewart McDade: A Life Mightier Than Obstacles

Life, Race and Politics After The Bernie Sanders Interruption

by Marcus Harrison Green and James Trimarco

The only time Marissa Janae Johnson ever doubted the interruption heard ’round the world came not long after she left a crowd of irate and disappointed Bernie Sanders supporters in a fury at downtown’s Westlake Park.

 

Read the entire article at the Seattle Weekly

Featured image Alex Garland

How Seattle is Feeding the Hungry This Winter

by Martha Baskin (this story originally appeared in Crosscut)

Take an easy stroll down Rainier Avenue just past Letitia and, depending on the hour, you’ll hear the sounds of Big Band music, hip-hop, reggae or even European classical wafting from a store front. Pause and you’ll hear laughter and animated chatter. The sounds aren’t from a trendy restaurant or club. Something different is happening here. Teens and adult volunteers are unloading boxes of a critical treasure that’s in surprisingly short supply for a city that prides itself on being progressive: food. This is the Rainier Valley Food Bank, a high-octane food distribution center whose mission is to provide healthy food for hungry neighbors.  Continue reading How Seattle is Feeding the Hungry This Winter