(The following is adapted from a presentation given as part of Town Hall Seattle’s Spirited Stone event. The event, which featured Shin Yu Pai, Charles Johnson, and Nathan Wirth, can be viewed here.)
As a lifelong Seattleite (a lifelong South Seattleite, actually), I was asked to share what Kubota Garden means to me. Now that’s a pretty simple question — with a very hefty answer, given my relationship with the garden that has ranged from when I was a teenager to today.
Throughout that time, Kubota Garden has epitomized the most powerful one-syllable word in the English language.
Executive orders have been in the news a lot lately. Did you know there have been over 15,000 executive orders signed by 46 presidents in the history of the United States? More than 3,700 were signed by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) alone. Yet how many of those executive orders do you remember by number?
The only one I can think of is Executive Order (EO) 9066.
Tens of thousands of people protested for the vision of a world without police murders, one where Black death would no longer be funded by public dollars. The rallying cries to divest money from policing were clear. Community members and hundreds of community organizations pushed city leaders to reinvest those funds back into our communities most harmed by police brutality. Those closest to the issues are closest to the solutions. With that in mind, Black and Brown community members presented a vision where we the people decide how that money is spent — not elected officials. This isn’t a new process. Seattle has been doing Participatory Budgeting (PB) — a process that allows people in a city, rather than elected officials, to decide how money is spent — for nearly four years now. But now is the time for Black and Brown community members to design the process and lead the investment priorities for the budget. Over 100 community members became researchers to help design that roadmap based on feedback from thousands of community members.
COVID-19 has hit the hardest smack at the intersection of racial, gender, and economic disparities, disproportionately impacting the most vulnerable amongst us. Black and Brown communities have been much more likely than whites to suffer illness and financial hardship due to COVID-19. The closure of schools and childcare facilities has put a whole generation of kids at risk while throwing a double whammy at women of all races, who provided the bulk of unpaid family care pre-COVID-19, and are now struggling to juggle work with full-time childcare plus supervision of schooling.
We need both our state and federal governments to commit to investments and policies that build health, economic security, and educational opportunity for women and children, with special emphasis on families of Color.
Indigenous peoples and communities have long used stories to understand the world and our place in it. Seedcast is a story-centered podcast by Nia Tero and a special monthly column produced in partnership with the South Seattle Emerald about nurturing and rooting stories of the Indigenous experience.
One of my earliest memories is of my grandfather waking up every morning before the sun came up. I was born in 1969 and in my early years, before my mother married my father, we lived with my grandparents. By the time I was maybe 4 or 5, my grandfather had retired. He had served in World War II in the motor pool in the South Pacific, and then, when he came to Seattle, he got a job at the Naval shipyards down on the piers here in the sound, later working with the transportation department until his retirement in the early ’70s. He came from a family of tenant farmers who migrated to the Northwest from the South who were used to working on the land. Their work ethic never left him.
On Tuesday, February 9, Anais N. Valencia was murdered. She was 23 years old. Valencia, along with her best friend, sat in her car in the parking lot of the Urban League Village waiting for another friend who lived there when Gregory Taylor fired multiple gunshots into her vehicle. Valencia’s best friend, who can be heard in a chilling 911 call begging police to come to the scene where both young women had been shot multiple times, was left in critical condition. The friend they were waiting for came out of his apartment to find his friends in the car had been shot. Gregory Taylor, who worked for Coast Property Management, the private property management company hired by the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle to manage the apartments in the Urban League Village, was then shot and killed by officers from the Seattle Police Department (SPD).
There is no way to view this other than tragedy, a senseless act of violence that will forever impact three young people and their families and the whole community caught in its wake.
Originally, I thought I was going to write about community healing. After an event like this, how does the community move forward? How do we take care of the youth that were impacted? How do we address the tactics of Seattle police, who shot dozens of bullets into a park that sits in the middle of a residential neighborhood? There are so many layers to this story. It was hard for me to piece together where to begin. But early posts on Twitter answered that question for me.
(This article was originally published on Northwest Vietnamese News and has been reprinted under an agreement.)
I get to celebrate two New Years annually.
There is Jan. 1, the first day of the Gregorian calendar year. And then there’s Lunar New Year, which falls on the first day of a calendar that follows the cycle of the moon, usually sometime between late January to mid February.
I grew up making dumplings with my family — my mother preparing pork, shrimp, tofu, egg, and spinach, all seasoned by soy sauce and sugar, and enlisting my little brother and I to help wrap while my father was stationed by the stove as “the boiler,” watching to make sure the pot had boiled three times.
As a very anxious and socially awkward young person, I often felt like I didn’t belong anywhere — not in school and not in my family. Concentrating on pressing the dumpling skin together over the filling, I got to a humming place where my body and mind worked in concert with each other, each finger moving surely into the next motion.
As a young adult living far from biological family, the thing I missed the most was the family tradition of making food together. I experimented with creating my own traditions for birthdays and other holidays with makeshift kin. I started to host an annual dumpling-making party around my birthday, close to the Lunar New Year. A way to take stock of the community I had gathered or maintained over the past year. An invitation to build in the new year by inviting newer friends to make food with me.
On the evening of Feb. 11, Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County (BLMSKC) called an emergency action meeting online. There are currently seven bills in Olympia that run the risk of dying in committee before they can become law. They represent a future with a less violent and more accountable police force. BLMSKC used the meeting to encourage their supporters to get in contact with their representatives and detailed how they could do so.