Like most U.S. Americans, I am weary of the near-daily stories of gun violence and killing. It’s overwhelming. But unlike most people in the U.S., I have seen the pain and suffering in the aftermath of the violence. My experiences in more than two decades have pushed me to see that whether it’s war, street violence, police killings, mass shootings, or suicides, the pain of losing loved ones is the same, and people always ask, “Why?”
As a child growing up in Seattle in the ʼ90s, I had the great fortune of receiving a wide range of non-familial nurturing, from the Miller Jet coaches to the Leschi Elementary School teachers. At Garfield Community Center, where I spent years enrolled in the after-school program and the summer camp, I always knew I had eyes on me. Eyes of adults who both cared about my well-being and would be quick to let my mom know if I was out of line.
When I became an adult who was responsible for children, I learned that after-school programs in our city aren’t readily available to many families. This is something that’s hard for me to understand, particularly in one of the wealthiest cities in the nation.
As a single mom with a 5-year-old and 16-year-old, with no child support, living in King County, where rents don’t stop skyrocketing, I wanted to say “yes” to my teenage daughter when she asked to go to cross-country camp with her track team.
Gov. Jay Inslee called a special session of the Legislature to begin on May 16.Among other things, the special session addressed the expiration of a current law that makes drug possession a misdemeanor. Ultimately, the State passed Senate Bill 5536, which raises the penalty for drug possession to a gross misdemeanor and newly criminalizes public use as a gross misdemeanor.
by Lalitha Chandolu, Aaliyah Brown, and Andy Mejía
While Minority Health Month is a time to acknowledge systemic barriers and distinct health outcomes for each minority community, it is vital to stress the reasons and root causes of such outcomes. For the Latine and Hispanic community, English literacy is a major divider between a person and quality access to health care. In the United States, acquisition of English is a key to unlocking doors and health care access for the Hispanic population. Although English is the predominant language spoken in the United States, no single language bears the title of “official language.” The United States is in the top 10 countries with the highest Spanish-speaking population, so it should adopt multilingual practices for patients with limited English proficiency, such as increasing access to bilingual medical professionals or providing necessary information in various translated languages.
Around election season, I spend most of my time doing voter education, hosting ballot parties, and organizing candidate forums. Most of our clients at Asian Counseling and Referral Service are elderly immigrants and refugees, so the rooms are always full of people speaking Cantonese, Mandarin, Lao, and more. Everyone is excited to hear the explanation of the initiatives, talk about the candidates, and get their ballots cast.
However, our participants have always struggled to understand the “advisory votes,” those questions that ask if we want to maintain or repeal various tax laws. I would always tell our clients to skip them. Although it was unclear to most voters, advisory votes actually never had any power to change our laws. We needed to save our workshop time to discuss the votes that actually made a change in our community.
“The Beacon Hill Pause” is the moment when you have to temporarily stop your conversation because it was interrupted by the thundering sound of an airplane flying over your South Seattle neighborhood. These moments exemplify the continued impacts of environmental racism that BIPOC communities, like Beacon Hill, face as they bear the brunt of noise and air pollution.