Category Archives: Voices

OPINION: How I Talk to my 7-Year-Old Daughter About Our Capitol Chaos

by M. Anthony Davis


As a Black parent, I have had conversations about race with my oldest daughter, who is 7, for most of her life. I remember being young and receiving lessons or hearing anecdotes about racism or how to behave in the presence of police when I was her age and younger.

The events last summer turned those stories into a concrete reality. I had discussed issues like police brutality with my daughter before, but these conversations were primarily based on reaction to news stories or my reaction to events that happened to close friends or family members. I would understand the firsthand accounts, then relay information to her.

The protests over the summer opened a new reality to my daughter. For the first time, she not only heard me speak on the importance of Black lives, but she had the opportunity to march for Black lives herself. Being at rallies, hearing speakers, and marching with thousands of people opened her 7-year-old eyes to the power and impactful nature of protest. Our conversations became more robust and her understanding of the world, and specifically how harsh this world can be to Black folks, was an enlightening experience for her and a breathtaking experience for me. I was impressed with how much her mind could process, but I was disappointed that she and her peers are having these experiences.

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Dr. Ben Danielson’s Resignation Begs the Community to Question: What Is True Accountability?

by Adana Protonentis and Jasmine M. Pulido


True accountability is about nurturing relationships.

It is generative and proactive. Accountability is a practice of relying on those we are in relationship with to help us see when we have stepped outside of our integrity and help us find our way back. In short, accountability is about caring.

This is what Dr. Danielson modeled, when he spoke of examining his own complicity in a system that exploited Black and Brown families as fundraising tools, while refusing to make meaningful investments in their wellbeing. Dr. Danielson’s integrity demanded that he leave Seattle Children’s Hospital (SCH), as an act of care for the families he served. He was willing to sacrifice his 20-plus-year tenure at one of the most prestigious medical institutions in the nation to stay aligned with this level of accountability.
 
If we view accountability in this relational way, we get insight into how Dr. Danielson’s approach to health care deeply held the communities he served. When the Emerald spoke with South Seattle families, we asked them, “What did Dr. Danielson’s care feel like?”

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South End Public School Staff to District: Don’t Reopen Without Vaccines

by the Staff of Dearborn Park International School


In response to the recent unilateral announcement by Seattle Public Schools (SPS) that they intend to reopen pre-K/kindergarten/first grade for in-person instruction beginning in March, the staff of Dearborn Park International Elementary School came together for a series of conversations to share our thoughts and concerns about this proposal. The conversations involved the majority of the staff — dozens of staff members over multiple days and included classroom teachers from every grade as well as specialists, instructional assistants, secretaries, and other staff.

We were especially concerned that SPS has not been clear in their communications to families and staff. The decision to reopen schools is not yet official and will have to be negotiated with the Seattle Education Association (SEA) first — there currently is no actual plan in place that would meet the needs of the impacted schools.

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SPD Data Shows What D.C. Capitol Attack Proved in Primetime: Cops Don’t Represent Us or Democracy

by Sarah Stuteville


Watching the attack on the U.S. Capitol by a mob of white supremacist election deniers, I assumed I’d need to delay my column about Seattle policing. Among other things, new data visualizations from the University of Washington Communication Leadership program (published throughout this column) show that an overwhelming majority of Seattle police officers live outside of Seattle. It’s a fact with deep financial and cultural implications for the movement to defund the Seattle Police Department (SPD).

Continue reading SPD Data Shows What D.C. Capitol Attack Proved in Primetime: Cops Don’t Represent Us or Democracy

OPINION: A Time of Reckoning for Seattle Children’s Hospital

by Ben Danielson


I am a Black male pediatrician. I have severed my relationship with Seattle Children’s Hospital (SCH) and I expect they will soon make efforts to disparage my character. Leaving has been a deeply painful and difficult decision, particularly because in leaving SCH I must therefore stop working in its community clinic: the Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic.

The clinic, spiritually and physically separate from the hospital, is a special place with an amazing staff and a wonderful community of patient families that will forever hold my heart. A clinic born in the later days of another reckoning: the civil rights era. A clinic owned by SCH but brought into being by a mostly Black community that wanted their own space in the health care system. A place that treated them with dignity. A place where staff looked like them, in the heart of their community. And still today, a community of mostly poorer families from diverse backgrounds.

I have been part of the SCH organization since 1992 when I first cared for patients as an intern. I have continually worn an SCH badge ever since, working in just about every medical area of the hospital. I settled into my dream job with them when I became the medical director of the Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic in 1999. In the intervening years, the hospital itself has grown into a corporate behemoth. In the intervening years, our clinic’s community has been displaced by gentrification and the families we serve have suffered the consequences. By many measures, societally, our country has left Black families further away from the “American dream” than they were when MLK was alive.

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Tribute to a Seattle Civil Rights Legacy: Judge Charles V. Johnson

by Judge Anita Crawford-Willis


The Honorable Charles V. Johnson was among the many civil rights leaders of our times whose path breaking journey ensured transformative change. He was an extraordinary eyewitness to history, determined to forge a new pathway for Washingtonians. Judge Johnson is distinguished by one transcendent theme: He was a servant leader with an overwhelming sense of duty to work for equality of opportunity and racial justice through the rule of law. 

Judge Johnson arrived in Seattle in 1954 to attend the University of Washington School of Law.  During an interview, he recalled there were just two additional Black students enrolled when he arrived. One of them dropped out after six weeks and the other shortly thereafter. As a result, Johnson was the only Black graduate in his class. Having grown up in the segregated South, and serving our country in a segregated army abroad, law school was the first time he would sit down across from whites to have a conversation, let alone discuss the law. 

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OPINION: Reparations Can Take Many Forms. Let’s Start by Being Honest About What We’ve Wrought

by Marcus Harrison Green

(This article originally appeared in The Seattle Times and has been reprinted under a co-publishing agreement.)


There is no resolution I crave more than for us to stop binging on lies. Like most opiates, they are as lethal to progress as they are numbing to awareness. 

My desire catalyzed nearly four years ago as I moderated a panel discussion of “I Am Not Your Negro” in Columbia City. A multiracial audience packed the Ark Lodge Cinemas to watch the James Baldwin documentary. With narration by Samuel Jackson, the famed writer spoke on the pervasiveness of white power in American society, and its destruction of the humanity not only of Black people, but of all people, including white ones.

Continue reading OPINION: Reparations Can Take Many Forms. Let’s Start by Being Honest About What We’ve Wrought