by Ashley Archibald
Novel coronavirus vaccination efforts are ramping up in Washington State while hospitalization rates and deaths are declining statewide, but Washingtonians need to continue prevention strategies to keep the curve down and keep stress off the health care systems, Washington health officials said in an online briefing on Thursday.
Continue reading Washington DOH Cautiously Optimistic About COVID-19, Urges Vigilance on Variants
by Elizabeth Turnbull
Front and Centered, a coalition focused on racial equity and environmental justice, held a media briefing on Thursday, Feb. 18, featuring members of its Community Council to address pollution and its effects on communities of color across the nation. At the briefing, panelists specifically pushed against cap-and-trade policy proposals, including one in Washington State.
Continue reading Environmental Justice Activists Push Back on Inslee Cap-and-Trade Proposal
by Marilyn Watkins
COVID-19 has hit the hardest smack at the intersection of racial, gender, and economic disparities, disproportionately impacting the most vulnerable amongst us. Black and Brown communities have been much more likely than whites to suffer illness and financial hardship due to COVID-19. The closure of schools and childcare facilities has put a whole generation of kids at risk while throwing a double whammy at women of all races, who provided the bulk of unpaid family care pre-COVID-19, and are now struggling to juggle work with full-time childcare plus supervision of schooling.
We need both our state and federal governments to commit to investments and policies that build health, economic security, and educational opportunity for women and children, with special emphasis on families of Color.
Continue reading OPINION: ‘Building Back Better’ Requires Big New Investments in Women and Caregiving
by Jack Russillo
Southeast of Seattle, in unincorporated King County near Auburn, sits a nearly 39-acre parcel of wild land and outbuildings. Currently called the Red Barn Ranch and owned by Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR), the property has been everything from a summer camp to a conference center to a farming education program. For the last three years, though, it’s sat empty. To some Black leaders in Seattle, this property could be exactly what the community needs to move toward an equitable model for Black-led land ownership that helps the Black community thrive.
Several community voices have been lobbying since the summer of 2020 for the City of Seattle to transfer the Red Barn Ranch property to Black ownership. Who the land is sold to is ultimately up to SPR, but a leading candidate to take on the task of stewarding the land is Nurturing Roots, an urban farm located in Beacon Hill.
“People have asked me if I wanted to own it, but no, I want it to be all of ours,” said Nyema Clark, the founder and director of Nurturing Roots, during an interview with the Emerald in October. “All of us should have a share, and that share should never be able to be sold. You could pass it down to other generations, but you couldn’t make money off of it. We want to make a legitimate model that lasts.”
Continue reading Red Barn Ranch Gets One Step Closer to Potential Black Ownership
by Alycia Ramirez
Since the death of George Floyd last spring, the term “Defund the Police” has jumped into the public conscientious, but not by some twist in fate or happenstance. The fight for police accountability and reform has been a generations-long battle, which has coalesced into what we see today with the Defund the Police movement.
In over 100 years of policing there has been repeated violence directed at Black and Brown communities at the hands of police, and little meaningful reform to stop or reduce it. White America may be just fine with doing the absolute bare minimum and maintaining the status quo, but marginalized communities may not be so willing to endure another century of violence directed at them.
The uncomfortable truth is that police forces were originally created in our nation for the purpose of upholding white supremacy. They were slave catchers, created for the explicit purpose of capturing runaway slaves.
Continue reading OPINION: Defund the Police Isn’t a Slogan, It’s a Call to Action in Response to Generations of Racial Violence and BIPOC Communities Should Be Leading
by Jack Russillo
On Thursday, Jan. 21, the 2021 King County Districting Committee had its first meeting as it begins a yearlong process to redraw the King County Council district lines within King County.
The process will continue through most of 2021, as council district lines are redrawn in the year following a census, which occurred in 2020. On Jan. 12, the County Council appointed four of what will eventually be five members of the 2021 King County Districting Committee. A fifth committee member, who will be chosen by the four individuals who have already been selected, will serve as the chair of the districting committee.
Continue reading 2021 King County Districting Committee Aims for an ‘Inclusive’ and ‘Community-Led’ Boundary Redrawing Process
by Marcus Harrison Green
For too long, Colleen Echohawk says that Seattle politics has lacked a “people-first approach.”
With a vow to bring one to City Hall, Echohawk officially announced her mayoral run on Monday morning.
Continue reading In Announcing Mayoral Run, Colleen Echohawk Promises “People-First Approach” to Seattle Politics
by Jack Russillo
During the 2019 legislative session, two state senators from South King County sponsored a bill that aimed to improve environmental justice for all of Washington’s residents, but only some of the policy actually became a reality.
This year’s new legislative session, which opened last week, has already seen numerous senators co-sponsor the same policy — including one of the bill’s original champions, the 37th Legislative District’s Rebecca Saldaña — and reintroduce the bill in an attempt to lay the groundwork for achieving a universal standard of environmental health quality across every community in Washington. The Healthy Environment for All (HEAL) Act, Saldaña says, would lay the critical groundwork to effectively implement any environmental legislation that is passed in the State Senate.
Continue reading HEAL Act, “The Cornerstone of Any Environmental Policy,” Makes Its Way Through Legislature
by Elizabeth Turnbull
Over a week after Dolal Idd was fatally shot by police in Minneapolis, roughly 150 people gathered in front of the Tukwila Library on Sunday, Jan. 10, to honor the Somali American man’s life and to call for systemic change.
Many speakers mourned the loss of another Black life and spoke to the need for nationwide action on policing. Shukri Olow, a candidate for King County Council District 5, which encompasses some of South Seattle, spoke as a member of the Somali-Muslim community and as a mother herself.
“When I heard about what happened to Dolal, I couldn’t help but feel the pain of his mother, who ran away from the civil war to find a safe environment for her children,” Olow said. “I want you to think about fleeing a conflict … coming to safe shores only to have your child killed by a system that you do not understand, a system that does not see our humanity.”
Continue reading Vigil for Dolal Idd in Tukwila Shows Solidarity for Somali-Muslim Community and Demands Change
by Elizabeth Turnbull
On Monday night, the cold streets surrounding Westlake Park transformed into an echo chamber of drum beats, footsteps, and chants of “No good cops in a racist system! No bad protesters in a revolution!” as roughly 500 protesters marched to where the protests began in Seattle roughly 150 days before.
After an anticipatory drumroll, several protesters stood up on the park’s stage and unfurled a banner that read, “You Can’t Stop This Revolution” on one side and “Montgomery Bus Boycott: 381 Days, Seattle BLM Protests: 150 Days” on the other.
Continue reading Seattle Protests Stand at 150 Days and Counting