Tag Archives: Alexa Peters

Holidays Bring a Diversity of Celebration on the South End

by Alexa Peters

There is no area more diverse in its holiday traditions and celebrations than South Seattle — and with a quick look at the most recent demographic data for the area, it’s no wonder.

South King County is one of the most diverse parts of the United States, with the Rainier Valley 98118 ZIP code home to speakers of approximately 60 different languages. Plus, as opposed to other parts of Seattle that come in at 60% or more, the 2020 census shows that Seattle’s District 2, which includes South Seattle, is majority Asian. South Seattle is also 21.4% Black or African American, 9.3% Hispanic or Latino, 0.6% Alaskan Native and American Indian, 0.8% Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander, 0.2% some other race, and 6.1% multiracial.

Here are the stories behind a few of the rich traditions and diverse celebrations South End residents observe during this time of year.

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What Is Justice and How Should It Be Administered: Seattle’s City Attorney Race

by Alexa Peters

The race for Seattle’s next city attorney has been a surprising one since three-term incumbent Pete Holmes conceded in the August primaries, leaving newcomers Nicole Thomas-Kennedy and Ann Davison to duke it out.

The typically uneventful race for an often overlooked office heated up after many of Thomas-Kennedy’s controversial anti-police Tweets from 2020 resurfaced, prompting local media and previous Seattle municipal court judges to question her fitness for the City Attorney’s Office. Even Fox News’ Tucker Carlson took a stab at the candidate during a September segment of his show, calling the candidate flat-out “crazy.” Meanwhile, Davison, who recently switched from Republican to “moderate Democrat,” has come under fire for her Republican rhetoric and ties to a video campaign organized by a Trump supporter who participated in the Jan. 6 insurrection. 

In looking beyond political warfare, experts say the race for city attorney gets to the heart of a question all the more relevant since anti-police protests broke out in 2020: In Seattle, what do we consider justice and how should it be administered? Our selection for city attorney will be decided on voters’ answers to those questions.

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Unemployment Data Shows Unequal Recovery, Galvanizes South End Equity Efforts

by Alexa Peters

Recovery in south King County has not kept up with north King County and preexisting economic disparities between the two regions were exacerbated by the pandemic, a recent Economic Security Department (ESD) report said.

The August ESD report showed evidence of an ongoing economic recovery in King County, including an unemployment rate much lower than in other counties at 4.8%, suggesting that King County’s recovery has been the swiftest in the state. That said, data at the city level shows a different picture.

In January 2020, the highest unemployment rate among Auburn, Kirkland, Redmond, and Renton was 3.4% in Auburn, and the lowest was 2.1% in Redmond.

“While the relative positions of these four communities persisted throughout the pandemic, the gap over time has widened,” said Anneliese Vance-Sherman, regional labor economist for the ESD. “All four communities are worse off today than they were before the pandemic, but it is taking longer for the South End communities to recover.”

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Mayor’s New ARTS Interim Director Appointment Prompts Community Unease

by Alexa Peters

Over the last 10 days, tensions between Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, the City Council, Seattle Arts Commission (Commission), the Office of Arts and Culture (ARTS), and local Black arts community members have mounted following the mayor’s early September appointment of Royal Alley-Barnes as interim director of ARTS. The mayor made the appointment with a little more than 100 days left in her term and without having consulted with local arts community stakeholders about her decision.

Following the resignation of permanent ARTS Director Randy Engstrom in December 2020, the mayor agreed to a plan in which then Deputy Director of ARTS Calandra Childers would step in as interim director and oversee a committee of staff members and arts community members, called the Seattle Arts Director Advisory Committee, with the objective of centering community voices in the process of selecting a new permanent ARTS director.

“The Office of Arts and Culture [asked] me to co-chair the Seattle Arts Director Search Advisory Committee in early 2021, in hopes of ensuring there would be community input in the process [of finding] the new director of the Office of Arts and Culture,” said Sharon Nyree Williams, a storyteller and executive director of the Central District Forum for Arts and Ideas. “So that process began and … the mayor, at that time, had said that she would not be searching for a new director during her term.”

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Skyway Nonprofit Forms CDA to Revitalize Community

by Alexa Peters

For decades, the close-knit and diverse community in Skyway has been striving to flourish on their own terms.

As an unincorporated part of King County, Skyway does not have a local government entity, like a city council or mayor, working on behalf of the majority BIPOC community, making it harder for residents to preserve the parts of Skyway they love and execute much-needed additions, like a long-awaited community center. At the same time, residents like Jeannie Williams, who’s lived in Skyway for 36 years, say incorporation wouldn’t be worth the cost to the heart and soul of the neighborhood.

“Skyway has its own quirky personality all its own. It’s kind of like being out in the country but in the middle of the city. There’s cool little family-owned restaurants and it’s a good place to raise your kids. It’s very diverse,” said Williams. “All of those things make Skyway its own community.”

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