Three years ago, I had the privilege to stand on the shores of Point Comfort (today’s Fort Monroe) in Hampton, Virginia, with hundreds of other African Americans to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the first landing of enslaved Africans in English North America. Standing at the Ellis Island of African America 400 years ago, I imagined what their perilous landing must’ve been like. What I know for sure is that their presence profoundly impacted the cultural manifest of America’s past, yet their descendants remain subject to socioeconomic and political disparities today.
Celebrating our resilience in the ongoing fight for economic, racial justice.
by April Sims
Washington will recognize Juneteenth as an official State holiday for the first time this year. This increased recognition of Freedom Day — long celebrated by Black Americans coast to coast — provides an opportunity for Black people to share our resilient history, the country’s history, with our broader community.
This weekend’s read is a draft report from the State of Washington on the future of four controversial dams on the lower Snake River in eastern Washington. The dams are co-managed by the Army Corps of Engineers and the Bonneville Power Administration, which harvests hydroelectric power generating facilities there. Together the four dams generate about one gigawatt of electricity, up to three gigawatts at peak times.
But the impact of the dams goes far beyond the power generation: they have dramatically changed the Snake River ecosystem over the last fifty years. Behind each dam sits a large reservoir, and collectively they have shifted the river from an active, running one to a “still”, slow-flowing one. That makes a large difference, particularly for salmon swimming out to the ocean and back upstream to spawn: between the dams (which have fish ladders) and the reservoirs, it changes the flow and difficulty for salmon to navigate the river, and it creates easy opportunities for predators who feed on salmon to catch them in the waters behind the dams. There is substantial evidence that the Snake River dams have created barriers to native salmon and have contributed to reductions in salmon populations to the point where many are now at or below the “quasi-extinction threshold;”; they are not expected to survive in the long-term without intervention. The dams have had similar effects on steelhead and lamprey populations.
After two of the most harrowing school years most people can remember, this summer holds promise for South End’s youth to be kids, enjoy themselves, and have powerful experiences shared with others their age.
Ever since the leaked Roe v. Wade decision, I’ve been hearing people talk about abortion with a new sense of openness. In my work, I speak with people who think deeply about abortion access all the time — activists and abortion fund volunteers, providers and reproductive rights attorneys, all of whom predicted Roe’s fall earlier this year — so this isn’t new for me. But the scale of it is. Now, I find myself talking about Washington State’s extremely specific legal protections for abortion access with casual acquaintances, people I only know from workout classes, and friends and family members across generations, who remember what life was like before Roe with a vivid stoicism I thought my generation would never have to fully understand.
Governments across the nation are relaxing pandemic restrictions in the face of currently increasing cases and another new variant. Despite these relaxations, there is one place where the State admits that the pandemic is far from over: Washington’s prisons. At this point in the pandemic over 13,000 prisoners have tested positive for COVID while inside, which is likely an undercount of actual cases (The average prison population in Washington on a given day is currently between 12,000 and 14,000). This is compared to 20% positive rate overall. There is currently a large outbreak at Stafford Creek Corrections Center; the whole prison is basically locked down.
On a recent sunny afternoon, as school let out at nearby Washington Middle School, I met with two owners of the new 23rd Ave Brewery in the Central District. Located on the corner of 23rd Avenue and South Jackson Street, the brewery is one of only two Black-owned in Seattle, the other being Métier, also in the Central District.
City Refuses to Answer Essential Questions About Publicly Funded Investigation
by Carolyn Bick
The Emerald’s Watchdragon reporting seeks to increase accountability within our city’s institutions through in-depth investigative journalism.
The Emerald has obtained multiple documents that show that former Office of Police Accountability (OPA) Dir. Andrew Myerberg appears to have withheld key information from the Office of Inspector General — the OPA’s accountability partner agency tasked with certifying OPA investigations — by submitting a case for certification and later adding information to the case report. In doing so, and in drawing conclusions from said information, Myerberg appears to have subverted not only the OPA’s own rules and procedures but also the City’s 2017 Accountability Ordinance.