Tag Archives: Ari Robin McKenna

Striking Rainier Valley Educators Describe Special Education, Multilingual Learner Challenges

by Ari Robin McKenna


On either Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday, Sept. 7–9, Seattleites wouldn’t have had to go far to notice people picketing in red T-shirts. In front of the more than 100 public school buildings across the city, educators and school staff held up signs that read “On Strike!,” “Fair Contract Now!,” and “#ListenToStudents, #ListenToEducators,” often with parent and student support, food, shade tents, and music blasting. They were buoyed by the frequent yells and honks of passersby.

Continue reading Striking Rainier Valley Educators Describe Special Education, Multilingual Learner Challenges

Pay Is Peripheral as Kent Educators Strike, Demand a Quality Experience for Students

by Ari Robin McKenna


While last Thursday, Aug. 25, was supposed to be the first day of school, three dozen educators from Meeker Middle School were outside of the building in the 90-degree midday heat. Passing cars on Southeast 192nd Street honked every 10–20 seconds in support of the striking educators; many of the educators wore red and held signs reading “KENT Education Assoc. ON STRIKE!”

Continue reading Pay Is Peripheral as Kent Educators Strike, Demand a Quality Experience for Students

Freed Black Prisoners’ Caucus Members Have Answers for the Rest of Us

by Ari Robin McKenna


Last spring, during Nova High School’s Racial Justice Day, Melissa Park’s ethnic studies classroom was packed full of students and teachers rapt with attention for over an hour. They listened and engaged with Eugene Youngblood — recently released from prison after almost 30 years — who spoke and then fielded questions about what had led to his incarceration, and how he became the person he is today.

Continue reading Freed Black Prisoners’ Caucus Members Have Answers for the Rest of Us

How Kaley Duong and Alexis Mburu Became Award-Winning Youth Activists

by Ari Robin McKenna


Kaley Duong and Alexis Mburu knew there was something wrong with school, only it took them a while to find the right words, to know how to phrase them, and to channel their innate leadership ability. In middle school, both joined racial equity clubs that began to illuminate aspects of the issues they were seeing or facing. In high school, both began speaking out more frequently, organizing, and building community around taking action to address the ills of a system they were still in. During the 2021–2022 school year — when Duong was a senior and Mburu a junior — both were unstoppable, working tirelessly for racial equity in schools while organizing, participating in, and speaking at events that impacted thousands.

Continue reading How Kaley Duong and Alexis Mburu Became Award-Winning Youth Activists

National Teach the Truth Rally Toured Historical Sites in the CID

by Ari Robin McKenna with photography by Chloe Collyer


For those who may find themselves within a sustained moment of historical hopelessness, recent Teach the Truth protest organizer and educator Bruce Jackson would like to point your attention back to the year 1919.

Continue reading National Teach the Truth Rally Toured Historical Sites in the CID

DEEL-Funded Free South End Summer Programs That Are Still Enrolling

by Ari Robin McKenna


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.

Continue reading DEEL-Funded Free South End Summer Programs That Are Still Enrolling

Catherine Brown Demotion Completes Admin Overhaul at Cleveland and Franklin High Schools

by Ari Robin McKenna


The end of this school year is bringing continued uncertainty for two South End schools. Franklin High School will begin next school year without the principal and vice principals who guided them through this tumultuous year. And there will be no members left of Cleveland STEM High School’s administrative “dream team” in charge when the pandemic began. 

Continue reading Catherine Brown Demotion Completes Admin Overhaul at Cleveland and Franklin High Schools

Seattle Colleges Professors Protest Stagnant Salaries While Inflation Soars

by Ari Robin McKenna

The Emerald blows loudly as the royal trumpet, signaling that there is indeed life abundant. It’s the sound of information, the sound of challenge, the sound of change and — maybe most importantly — the sound of hope. Join me in supporting the Emerald as a recurring donor during their 8th anniversary campaign, Ripples & Sparks at Home, April 20–28. Become a Rainmaker now by choosing the “recurring donor” option on the donation page!

—Marcus Harden, Educator, Author, & Rainmaker

On Tuesday, April 24, a group of Seattle Colleges professors protested outside the Broadway Performance Hall before walking to their district headquarters, Siegal Center. Inside, union leaders, who professors say aren’t fully representing their needs, were bargaining. Their salaries for the next three years hung in the balance between the 0% raise professors say was initially offered by Seattle Colleges, the 15% raise the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Seattle Local 1789 is bargaining for, and the 40% raise they say is necessary to keep them afloat during historic national inflation in a city where the cost of living is over 50% above the national average.

Continue reading Seattle Colleges Professors Protest Stagnant Salaries While Inflation Soars

What Led to an Impending Hutchinson Park Overhaul: An Advocacy Story

by Ari Robin McKenna


Following an early afternoon shooting in October 2020, where almost 70 shots were fired and five people were hit with bullets on the dead-end street between Hutchinson Park and Emerson Elementary School, neighbors were on edge.

For some, it set the tone for the nervy pandemic months that followed, the violence echoing across Hutchinson Park and its playground. Community members in this slice of Rainier Beach pined for a playground and park that reflected their hopes for public, communal space to ease the isolation of the pandemic. The Hutchinson Playground is also the playground for Emerson Elementary School students and neighborhood children, a place for play and learning.

Continue reading What Led to an Impending Hutchinson Park Overhaul: An Advocacy Story

Ballard Students of Color Say $10K Ad in the Seattle Times Makes Them Feel Less Safe

by Ari Robin McKenna


Students of Color who attend Ballard High School (BHS) say they felt less safe at school after an ad hoc group called “Friends of Keven Wynkoop” ran a full-page ad in the Sunday Seattle Times in February calling on the district to reinstate the former BHS principal. Wynkoop had been put on paid administrative leave after the district found he had retaliated against a student.

The ad, which cost $9,850, suggests that their concerns about Wynkoop’s treatment of Students of Color have been dismissed, six Students of Color told the Emerald.

Continue reading Ballard Students of Color Say $10K Ad in the Seattle Times Makes Them Feel Less Safe