I am not a soccer fan. However, like most Americans, I’ve been sucked into the World Cup frenzy. After watching almost every game so far, and as someone with a very limited knowledge of soccer, here are some things I’ve taken from the World Cup:
Ok, I get it. You’re on the biggest stage there is and you want to stand out, but if I was a World Cup referee I’d red card half the players right off the bat for unacceptable haircuts. I’ve officially seen every type of mohawk, fauxhawk, swoop, loop; I even saw a guy with an off-center rat-tail. What the hell is that? How am I supposed to explain to my children that a grown man has a rat-tail? I don’t have children, but you get my point.
This happens in a lot of sports, but soccer is the only one I know that’s adopted it as part of the game. I’m surprised soccer can even be played in the rain, you’d think the raindrops would knock all of the players down. This is why I’ve always liked hockey. It’s similar to soccer in a lot of ways, but in hockey if you take a dive out there, someone is going to beat the crap out of you. Soccer could learn something from this.
It always amazes me how many people say soccer is boring. Usually these are the same people who will sit through an entire baseball or football game. I love both of those sports but you can’t watch every minute of them, you’ll go insane. Soccer is one of the only sports that doesn’t stop every 5 minutes for a commercial, and I’ve found this a welcome change. Also, I saw a guy get jump-kicked in the chest last week. That was pretty awesome.
My Own Fitness
It’s hard to watch these amazing athletes run hard for 90 minutes and not feel like a piece of garbage. These guys are out there in the best shape they can possibly be in. I can see abs right through their children’s medium jersey. I’ve enjoyed this World Cup for many reasons, but the main one has been the constant motivation to exercise.
The Thumbs Up
It’s how soccer players say good job to one another. If we take one thing from this World Cup, let it be that the thumbs up is back and totally ok to use again.
As this World Cup comes to a close I find myself looking forward to the next one, and I might even start checking out some of the Sounders games. Soccer is an exciting sport with many interesting characters. I find the all the diving and haircuts silly, but overall I’ve really enjoyed it. I am still not a soccer fan, but I’m getting there.
Editor’s Note: This is the first in our series of interviews with the candidates- 5 Democrats and 1 Republican- who are vying to replace retiring State Senator Adam Kline in the 37th District. The top two candidates chosen in the primary election- held on August 5th- will continue on to the general- which takes place on November 4th. The winner of which will represent the 37th District in the Washington State Senate. The 37th currently comprises almost the entire South Seattle area.
Unifying individuals from all walks of life down a single pathway has been the primary task of Pramila Jayapal since independently venturing to the United States at the age of 16. Whether founding the organization OneAmerica to quell misdirected anger aimed at Arabs, Muslims and South Asians that resulted after 9/11, working at the Center for Community Change to eradicate racial injustice, or serving on Mayor Ed Murray’s committee for Income Inequality to assist in solving the widening wealth divide amongst Seattleites – the author, activist, humanitarian, and Columbia City resident has always sought to build bridges between groups where none previously existed. She hopes this experience will serve her well as she vies for the State Senate position in the 37th District- the most socioeconomically diverse district in the state.
Emerald: You’re known primarily for your activism work, especially on the issue of immigration reform. Why did you decide to step over to the “other side” and seek to become directly involved inside the minutiae of politics by running for State Senator?
Pramila Jayapal: I’ve been an outside activist for twenty years with Social Justice Issues. I guess I’ve realized that the two things I have been working on for the last twenty years – which was, number one, to get elected officials and policy makers to make better policy decisions- and number two, to organize people to believe their voice mattered, so that they could have a seat at the table where decisions are being made.
I felt I could do both those things with the platform of a State Senator. I could also use my organizing ability inside the legislature. So I’m going to continue to do things I’ve been doing, though the platform would be different in some ways, because I’d be able to make that link between grass roots organizing/activism and the political system. Being someone who comes from an organizing background, and somebody who comes from a lot of the communities we’d be representing and having worked on a lot of issues important to them for years -being an immigrant myself- I think I would bring a real important and diverse perspective to the State Legislature, with so many issues that matter so much to our district. I really want to try and make a difference there.
Emerald: Your background paints you as somewhat of a “poster child” for the American Dream. You came to the United States at the age of 16 by yourself, and went on to receive a degree from Georgetown and a Masters from Northwestern, along with having some success in the private sector before turning exclusively to the non-profit world. With many people feeling that the American Dream is in decay, especially many residents in the South Seattle area who point to the lack of quality jobs and opportunity of education in the area, how would you attempt to ensure that the dream remains attainable for everyone irrespective of background?
Jayapal: I think that the reason I’ve spent my life doing the work I’ve been doing is because I feel that everybody should have opportunity. Despite some very difficult circumstances in my life, I feel like I’ve been incredibly privileged to do the things I’ve been able to do, but it shouldn’t be a privileged opportunity, power should be accessible to everybody who wants it, and jobs should be available to people so that they can give their full self to our country and to our community, and so in the state legislature there are a couple of things that I think need improving.
One is our tax system is extremely regressive and we really need to think about reforming it. Everything else we do depends on how we raise more sustainable revenue that’s not on the backs of working and low income people. So, I’m really thinking about not only how we close tax loopholes and corporate exemptions, so that we’re able to support an effective transit package that includes transportation for our district, that creates jobs by investing in infrastructure, that promotes minority and women owned businesses in particular which are really important in this district, and which funds our education system.
To do all of that, we’re going to need to figure out how we can get more revenue, and it can’t be regressive. So I’m interested in going back to a higher income earners tax- which we weren’t able to pass a few years ago – but I do feel like the conversation is different and the opportunity is different, and I really want to think about what it would mean to revamp our tax system in the state so that we have a form of taxation that actually grows with our economy and doesn’t penalize the people who have the least.
Emerald: South Seattle is home of some of the most diverse zip codes in the United States. Your specialty has been steering diverse groups of people together towards common goals. How do you think that experience would assist you in making sure the various viewpoints of those living in South Seattle are fully represented by you as our State Senator?
Jayapal: When we worked on immigration reform, we took positions on a whole host of issues that were civil rights, human rights, and immigrant rights issues. We were one of the first groups to advocate on behalf of marriage equality. I’ve personally been involved in police reform and police accountability for more than ten years, and we took positions on environmental justice issues. So I really see the field as very broad.
To me it’s a very big canvas, and the 37th really exemplifies that canvas, it’s a very diverse district, economically and racially and I want everyone to feel like they have a place in this district. That they have a voice in this district, and I want the people who have kind of dropped out because they felt that they weren’t heard, or weren’t listened to, and don’t want to vote anymore or participate anymore because of that – I want to bring those folks together. And we’ve been able to do it in the past and it’s the reason that we’ve had such a diverse coalition of group support in our efforts. First of all you have to be a friend to have a friend, and so you need to look at a the whole range of issues and remember that people aren’t siloed. You also must be able to continue to see the intersections between all of these issues, and then be able to have a strong, principled stand that does represent everyone.
Emerald: You’ve worked at city level on police reform, a huge area of concern for South Seattle residents is public safety. The debate over the best solutions on addressing it have been somewhat polarizing, i.e: Should there be more policing? More prisons? Funding for more preventative measures? What would you do at the State Senate level to address these concerns?
Jayapal: I think there’s multiple levels, and I am proud to have co-chaired the police chief search panel, and to have served on Police Accountability and Reform panels that demanded changes in the police department. I do believe that the choice of our current Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole is going to make a huge step forward for public safety in the city.
But at the state level I think a couple of things, what’s that phrase: “A job is the best way to dodge a bullet.” I think that we have to look at this from the criminal justice system and then also from the economic opportunity system and what choices we’re making available. So from the criminal justice system I don’t believe in building new prisons. I believe that we need to invest in prevention, so I’m going to do everything I can at the State level to invest in training, support, and prevention and not in locking people up, because there are lot of young people- particularly young black men- who are in these situations where they’re not offered choices, so I’m going to make sure that we look at different ways to address crime, and to think humanely and holistically about how we put people back on the right track and rehabilitate people.
Secondly, I want to make sure that we are investing in economic opportunities and programs that help people to see what other choices are out there, and third I think that there are some things – and I’m currently looking into it- that the state can do in the capita budget to have a safe streets program, where the state could funnel some dollars into cities that are dealing with violence, and crime, and hotspot areas. Finally on the side, I’m going to be continuing to advocate, though they’re city issues, that the southend of Seattle gets the attention it deserves in regards to safe policing, community policing,and all the things that it should get from the Seattle Police Department.
Emerald: You’ve been a strong advocate of every student having equal access to a good education regardless of where they’re geographically located. With the Washington State Supreme Court finding in 2012 that the state was not living up to its constitutional obligation to provide an adequate education for all students -which came as no surprise to many South Seattle parents and students- what would you do as our State Senator to ensure that our area’s students receive a superior level of schooling than they are currently being given?
Jayapal: I think first of all when you talk about lifting up all students, and we do need to lift up all students, you need to talk about targeting certain issues in the discussion, and those issues remain race and class. In order to get at what the issues are, we need to look at all the ways the education system has institutionalized racism built into it, and then make sure that we’re addressing that as we come up with solutions. I’ve already been working on that through One America. Many years ago, when we established a special policy group that advocated school districts to address issues specifically related to English language learners – that was the group I was advocating for at the time – and we came up with bipartisan solutions, some of which actually got passed in the last legislative session. That helped bilingual students to make it through their pathways.
Some of this comes down to revenue, but we have to make sure that we do reach the Supreme Court’s McCleary standards and fully fund education. Our class sizes are 47th in the country, and that’s unacceptable. We have some of the lowest funding per capita compared to our economic output of any state in the country. We have a lot of things to fix on the funding side. On the accountability side it has to be targeted towards kids of color who need the support, and we may have to be able to desegregate our data and figure out exactly why kids are failing and figure out how teachers can get more support. I’m looking forward to diving into all of that with an eye towards making sure we definitely understand that our kids who need the support are as brilliant as everyone else, but just aren’t currently getting the support that they need.
Emerald: In a race packed with Democrats what, in your opinion, distinguishes you from the rest?
Jayapal: I’d say that everyone who runs gets a huge shout out, because it’s really hard to do! So, I really appreciate all the other people who are running, but I think that I have the track record of having worked on incredibly difficult issues – issues of civil liberties post 9/11, immigration reform, raising the minimum wage, police reform and accountability- where I have actually been in a leadership role. I started, implemented, and drove the policy advocacy, and the community organizing, to get things done and to bring a lot of diverse folks together to be a part of that solution.
So, I think I have that combination of smart policy and analytical skills, as well as organizing skills to help inspire people, and make it known that their voices matter. You can sort of see that from my endorsements list. I think I’ve gotten every single union endorsement so far. I’ve gotten endorsements of women’s rights groups, environmental groups, key leaders and political leaders from the city, state, county and federal levels – from (Washington State) Senator Patty Murray. I don’t have a “give up” bone in my body as someone said. I’m going to fight, that’s one of my favorite phrases. I’m going to fight to make sure that the people in the 37th district, working families, people of color, and immigrants have the opportunity to really live out a life that is abundant in opportunity.
Emerald: If elected, what would you like people to say about you once your term in Olympia had ended?
Jayapal: Well, I have so much I want to accomplish (laughter). If that sentence said something like, “She dramatically changed the tax reform and revenue system in the state so that we could actually fund education, and transportation, and brought everyone around to do it I’d be very happy with that.
Emerald: You’ve lived in Washington D.C, India, Singapore, and Indonesia to name put a few places you’ve called home, but have been a long time resident of South Seattle. What do you love most about this area that distinguishes it from so many other places?
Jayapal: I’ve lived in this district and this area for over 19 years. I made a foray into Wallingford for a year, and nothing against that area, but I couldn’t wait to get back to South Seattle. What I love about the southend is that I find it is full of generosity, abundance, creativity, entrepreneurialism, and principled passion – and I love that.
I love that we have so much racial and economic diversity even though it is disappearing fairly quickly and I want to figure out how we keep that. I love that we seem like the part of town where we’re all interested in other parts of the world and their lifestyles. People really have the ability to be who they are here, and that really compliments the neighborhood. I love the sense of neighborliness that we have in South Seattle, and I really just feel so honored to live in a part of town that is going to be the future of the state and frankly the future of the country.
If the image of neighbors camped outside under starlit sky – sprawled over transplanted home furnishings while gorging on popcorn, and participating in a collective chorus of oohs and awes conducted by a recent Hollywood blockbuster – seems a sight capable only in one of the idiosyncratic enclaves belonging to the northern end of our fair city, then you may want to watch your step for stray shards of shattered assumptions, as South Seattle readies for its own brand of outdoor film fun.
Later this summer, the Skyway neighborhood will play host to the community run – and eponymously titled- Skyway Outdoor Cinema (SOC) – a cinema series that will commence August 1st – in the U.S. Bank parking lot behind the 7-Eleven on Renton Avenue and 76th – with a showing of Despicable Me 2, and run three successive Fridays thereafter – finishing up August 22nd with Frozen.
Stewarded for over a decade by the volunteer operated West Hill Community Association (WHCA) – previously known as the West Hill Community Council (WHCC) – SOC was originally founded to provide a free, family oriented event that served as a much needed opportunity for engagement amongst community members.
A series of obstacles, including the lack of a thriving business district from which to draw sponsors, the challenge of uniting a disparate fan base and coordinating extensive fundraising efforts led to a reliance on grant funds to maintain a basic level of operation for the first thirteen seasons of the event.
With King County dissolving Unincorporated Area Councils in 2011 in response to budgetary concerns – resulting in a loss of guaranteed annual funding for the WHCC and a forced reorganization resulting in the newly rebranded WHCA – plus dwindling available grant funds, SOC decided to take a new approach. The new strategy, begun last season, is one that uses design and social media to increase its connection with fans and a more sustainable approach to its operating budget. By harnessing the power of its fans with crowdfunding and making smart purchases that eliminated the need to rent expensive equipment year after year – reducing basic operating costs- the event added a higher level of stability and increased its potential for growth.
Now in its second phase of life, the organizers of the open air cinema have redoubled their efforts in utilizing the event to galvanize the entire West Hill Community – which includes the neighborhoods of Skyway, Lakeridge, Bryn Mawr, Campbell Hill, Earlington, Hilltop, Panorama View, and Skycrest – providing a centralized gathering locale that functions as an incubator of community, and that otherwise wouldn’t exist. Something that – according to locals – has been long overdue in the area.
“I think everyone is really tired of Skyway getting such a bad rap. Most people simply absorb what they hear on the news, but those assumptions really aren’t rooted and fact and experience. I think that not only hurts our image outside of our community, but I think it affects us as neighbors as well. We want to provide a fun, free, safe family environment for people to really learn what their community’s all about – I think we deserve that.” said Devin Chicras, WHCA board member and co-organizer of the cinema – in addition to moonlighting as the event’s Master of Ceremonies, Diligent Custodian, Technical Support, and Amiable Attendant Greeter during its film screenings.
With that goal in mind, organizers have made great strides in improving their marketing efforts to attract a much larger swath of the community. Chicras, along with co-organizer Mary Goebel, have worked hard on implementing the new strategy for SOC, which included heavily promoting the event on social media platforms and improving visitors’ experience at every level from engaging pre-show entertainment to free raffle prizes and keeping all concession items under a dollar.
By all measures, these new efforts appear to be working, as not only did attendance double last year, but the event has also enticed people from as far away as Burien and Des Moines to spend their Friday nights in Skyway.
Not bad for an area whose own residents, not all that long ago, barely wanted to set foot on its pavement. “It’s incredible to see this little parking lot in Skyway fill up with all these folks, having fun, talking to their neighbors, eating popcorn or having Domino’s delivered to them while seated on lawn chairs, detached minivan seats, or sprawled out picnic-style on a blanket. These are the people you see sometimes walking down the street, in the store, waiting at the bus stop. And now they’re here, like one big family. At 10pm behind a 7-Eleven in Skyway. It’s truly surreal, and completely inspiring.” Says Chicras.
Communal appreciation could not have come at a better time, as in the ensuing years since losing the majority of its funding, the event has had to rely more heavily on contributions from those living around the area. A dependency that appears quite secure, as the cinema was recently able to purchase a brand new audiovisual system, directly as a result of local generosity.
Costing a little under $7000, The A/V system – which will allow for a larger film projection, along with improved sound and picture quality more in line with traditional cinematic experiences – seemed out of reach for event organizers, as they received only a $3000 Community Engagement Grant from King County towards its purchase. Unsure of how they would make up the difference Chicras and Goebel turned to the community via a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo.
“We only needed $3975 and ended up getting $4320! We were absolutely blown away by the generosity of our community.” said Chicras. The additional funds will be used to supplement SOC’s already meager budget, as it has never turned a profit, nor sought to – its primary mission remaining to build connections between residents. “We’re doing our best to make sure each and every person feels like being in that parking lot with their neighbors and friends is exactly where they should be on a Friday night in August.”
That is believed to be mission accomplished according to Sherrie Vineyard – who has attended the cinema since its inception.
“It gives (Skyway residents) four Friday nights each summer to really connect with our families and neighbors, and share what we’re about as a community. Last year, they held a raffle for school supply filled backpacks, and I was lucky enough to win one. That backpack went to a little boy who had a mom with no idea of how she was going to get supplies for him. The Skyway Outdoor Cinema does more than impact the lives of the community for four weeks each summer. They impact lives for years to come with their generosity and warm hearts.”
Skyway Outdoor Cinema runs August 1st (Despicable Me 2), 8th (The Lego Movie), 15th (Gravity) and 22nd (Frozen). Pre-show entertainment starts at 8pm, with the film at 9pm. Visit their website (MyWestHill.org/SOC) and Facebook Page (Facebook.com/SkywayOutdoorCinema) for more information.
Additional thanks to Devin Chicras for assisting with this article.
At night the light blocks out the scenes of the fight
Between the dark and light
The wrong and the right
Steals away the wonder and the might
Replaced with safe and secure
Hypnotized sparkling nothing allure of the quick and easy obscure.
Void of the pure
We need a new goal
A wonder serene
A new scene with questions that mean
We can still wonder at the sky with a few more secrets to share
Unaware with no care of the here and the there
And the why and the where
And the why out there
And the why do we care?
To question unknown
The point of it all
Still not clear
Back to ponder
All night at the sky with just enough light to wonder
And to write
Matt Aspin is an amiable gent who has made a second home out of South Seattle ale houses.
Last week I was in Washington, DC and had a morning free of meetings to wander among the monuments. Families, school kids, and tour groups from across the nation and around the world were there, searching out names on the Vietnam Memorial wall, reading the words of Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, snapping selfies in front of the White House with the Washington Monument towering in the background.
It was a good antidote to the cynicism and division that tend to dominate our view of politics today. All those diverse tourists seemed to share a certain excitement and solemnity – a sense of respect for the struggles of the past and hope for the promise of a more just and peaceful future.
Those monuments remind us of the power of America’s founding ideals and that we’ve never fully realized them. Our Founding Fathers wrote in our nation’s Declaration of Independence, that “all men are created equal”, yet they enshrined slavery in our Constitution and excluded women, Africans and Native Americans from participation in the new democracy they created.
The words of Lincoln’s second inaugural address are inscribed on the wall by his statue. Near the end of the bloody and destructive Civil War, Lincoln spoke not of blame or revenge, but of shared guilt for the horrors of slavery. He committed to work for reconciliation, and knew it could not come about without attention to justice and individual well being. Lincoln concluded with these words: “With malice toward none; with charity for all… let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan—to do all which may achieve and cherish a just, and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.”
The memorials to World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War that stretch between the Lincoln and Washington Monuments make clear that lasting peace among nations is far from realized. The Martin Luther King memorial reminds us that a full century after the close of the Civil War, we still needed a Civil Rights Movement and federal intervention to end racial segregation. We’ve come a long way in the 50 years since, but racial equality still has not been achieved.
We live now with continually streaming news reports of legislative and Congressional dysfunction, war, environmental destruction, school shootings, and cultural clashes. No wonder American voters tend to be cynical and apathetic.
A stroll among the monuments to our nation’s history is a good reminder that challenges and divisions are nothing new. We’ve faced seemingly intractable problems before. Sometimes one side is wrong and compromise isn’t possible. Slavery and racial segregation had to end.
Our democracy has never been perfect, but we’ve made progress toward realizing the vision of a nation where all are born with equal opportunity to pursue happiness.
That progress has come not just because we’ve had a few great leaders like Washington, Lincoln, and King. Each of them was supported by a broader movement of ordinary citizens who were willing to stand up and demand change from their government. Washington became our first president on the shoulders of the sons and daughters of liberty. Abolitionists campaigned for decades before Lincoln’s election and the abolition of slavery. King was one leader in the Civil Rights movement, and was reviled, jailed, and assassinated before he was enshrined in granite as a national hero.
Democracy and the promise of America is a work in progress. We can’t just wait for the next hero to come along and solve our problems. We have to do our part to bend the arc of history toward justice. We have to prepare the way for the next hero – and that hero may just be one of us.
Marilyn Watkins is policy director of the Economic Opportunity Institute, a nonpartisan policy center focused on building and economy that works for everyone.
In his public safety address to the Seattle City Council last week, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray detailed a series of ‘Find it, Fix it’ Community Walks, focused on several crime hotspots.
At the walks, community residents, police, and city officials will walk together to identify physical disorder and solve it, hence the find it and fix it theme. The primary areas of focus are graffiti removal, street lighting, litter and garbage clean-up, and trimming overgrown bushes and trees.
The first Find It, Fix It Community Walk
Wednesday, July 2, 7 – 9 p.m., 23rd Ave. S and S. Jackson St. (Red Apple Parking Lot)
7 – 7:30 p.m.
Short program featuring Murray, Councilmember Bruce Harrell, City Attorney Pete Holmes, Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole, and department representatives.
7:30 – 8:40 p.m
Walk commences along the following route:
Jackson from 23rd to 22nd
22nd from Jackson to Main
Jackson from 25th to 26th
Stop at Fire Station 6 (405 Martin Luther King Jr Way S)
Walk along S King St. to 28th and 29th
Return to the Red Apple parking lot
8:40- 9 p.m.
Walk concludes and department representatives are available for follow-up questions
Additional ‘Find it, Fix it’ Community Walks will take place in the upcoming weeks:
July 8, 7 – 9 p.m.: Orcas and MLK
July 22, 7 – 9 p.m.: Sound Transit tour, between Rainier Beach and Othello Stations