A bill that could reduce Washington’s most commonly-charged crime is making its way through the state Senate.
The bill would provide relief and opportunity to thousands of residents who have been impacted by the state’s driver’s license suspension policies. “Driving While License Suspended in the Third Degree,” or DWLS3, is the least serious crime for driving with a suspended license. The misdemeanor can be charged in a variety of contexts. The most common occurs when a driver receives a ticket for a moving violation, but does not follow through by paying the ticket or showing up in court to contest it. DWSL3 is the state’s most frequently-charged offense, affecting tens of thousands of residents every year solely for not paying a citation.
Estelita’s Library, Beacon Hill’s beloved justice-focused bookstore, library, and community hub, is moving into a brand new building on Martin Luther King Jr. Way South in the Central District. The move is made possible through a pilot project by the City of Seattle Office of Arts and Culture called Tiny Cultural Spaces. The project seeks to transfer unused plots of city-owned land to arts and culture organizations. The move marks a new chapter for Estelita’s, a beacon for activism, learning, and joy in the South End.
Seattle’s housing crisis disproportionately affects BIPOC communities, and of those groups, queer, transgender, and two spirit (2spirit) people are impacted even more. In response, Queer The Land (QTL) was founded in 2016 as a collective of QT2BIPOC resisting displacement and gentrification. One of their long-term goals was the acquisition of a house, and on Jan. 15 the goal was realized when QTL purchased a three-story house in north Beacon Hill. The home will be a hub for transitional housing, coworking, community spaces, gardening, and other opportunities.
This week, the Seattle Public School (SPS) District and the Seattle Education Association (SEA) resumed bargaining about when the return to in-person education for pre-K to first grade — as well as students enrolled in moderate to intensive special education service pathways — will happen and what it will look like. In a pandemic month that also featured a failed coup and the inauguration of our country’s first Black, Asian, and female vice president, SPS has already seen a school board member abruptly resign and the staff of a South End elementary school announce that they will refuse to return to in-person learning until it’s safe for their community to do so. With pressure mounting to reopen SPS as soon as possible and bargaining already strained, there is mounting evidence that suggests white families stand to benefit more and that their communities will face fewer impacts from a return to in-person learning.
In a Facebook message posted on Jan. 7, SPS board representative Eden Mack announced her resignation. Mack, who represents District 4 (which includes the neighborhoods of Magnolia, Queen Anne, and Southern Ballard) mentioned a “dysfunctional culture” and also stated, “The massive gap between the true cost of providing basic education in an urban school district and what the State provides is not imaginary.” Mack then went on to ask the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) of the state of Washington for an “intervention.”
Intentionalist is built on one simple idea: where we spend our money matters. We make it easy to find, learn about, and support small businesses and the diverse people behind them through everyday decisions about where we eat, drink, and shop. #SpendLikeItMatters
As we enter the new year, there’s one thing that’s already clear: We’re going to need our energy to get through it. And what could be more energizing than a carefully crafted cup of coffee from a local South Seattle coffee shop?
Independent coffee shops are so much more than the coffee they serve. Pre-pandemic, they were our go-to meeting spots when we wanted to catch up with a loved one, community organizing spaces, and where we set up our office for the day. It may be awhile until we can fully embrace everything these special neighborhood spaces have to offer, but for now, we can still enjoy a delicious drink made by people who genuinely care.
Beacon Hill’s The Station coffee shop has long been a hub of community activity and advocacy, hosting everything from meetings to artwork to a free pantry. Now it’s home to Washington State’s first Short Story Dispenser, courtesy of the Seattle Public Library (SPL) and French publisher Short Édition.
Before the pandemic, my two favorite places to shop for holiday gifts were Kinokuniya Seattle and Pike Place Market. At Kinokuniya, the bright, densely-packed Japanese bookstore in Uwajimaya Village, I browsed children’s books, comics, magazines, and stationery for hours. At Pike Place Market, I beelined to the Herban Farm stand, founded by Ras Levi Peynado, a Seattleite with Jamaican Roots who farms and dries his products. There, I would test-smell the fragrant seasonings, rubs, and salves, while staring at ferry boats crossing Elliott Bay, before buying gifts for family members. Among favorites were Pike Place Herbs (an all purpose seasoning), the paprika-rich Seatown Smoke (“BBQ in a jar”), and the floral Lavender Sea Salt.
For Chef Melissa Miranda, Musang has always been more than a restaurant. The popular popup found a permanent home in North Beacon Hill at the beginning of this year, and through the crisis of COVID-19, pivoted to a community kitchen as well as restaurant, offering free or pay-what-you-can meals during the pandemic. Musang is one of seven restaurants and popups that form the Seattle Kitchen Collective, a grassroots collective of like-minded chefs who provide meals for community members who need them. Now through Little Wildcats cooking classes, Miranda, Chef Amelia Franada, and Chef Marizel Yuen are sharing Filipinx culture with the youngest in the community.
Community members across Seattle are celebrating Ron Chew for a career totally dedicated to his community as a journalist, advocate, and fundraiser for Seattle’s International District. Since the mid-1970s, he has worked as editor of the International Examiner, director of the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific Experience, and currently as the executive director of the International Community Health Services Foundation (ICHS) for Seattle’s Chinatown International District (CID). Chew will retire from ICHS on Jan 1 after leading it the entirety of the past decade.
In a recent Emeraldarticle, Glenn Nelson aptly described Ron’s journalistic focus: “Chew practiced his craft largely on a concrete island isolated from the rest of Seattle by railroad tracks and the I-90 and I-5 freeways.”
When Luis Rodriguez and Leona Moore-Rodriguez put out a call for help on Oct. 13, they knew their community would answer that call. But they couldn’t have imagined all the ways their neighbors would rise to the occasion. A few days later, the GoFundMe a friend and customer set up for them has raised over $25,000, and members of the community have found a host of creative ways to help keep their favorite coffee shop from closing.
It wasn’t easy for Luis and Leona to ask for the help they needed. “For me it was humbling, a little embarrassing,” Luis told the Emerald. “To have to ask to your community like, ‘Yo, we’re struggling, we’re going through some rough times, we need your help, we need your money, we need people to donate …’”
“It was a little hard to ask for help,” Leona agreed, “but at the same time, I know we have a beautiful community that’s willing to stick their necks out and help those in need. And we just happen to be one of those businesses, like so many other businesses in Seattle, struggling through COVID.”