Tag Archives: BIPOC Youth

Seattle JazzED Opens Registration for Free and Reduced-Cost Music Lessons

by Ben Adlin


One of the region’s premier music education nonprofits is now enrolling young people in jazz lessons for the school year, continuing its mission of teaching jazz as “a quintessential Black American art form” and expanding its focus on equitable access and instruction. Tuition is pay-what-you-can, with no questions asked.

Seattle JazzED is signing up students in grades 4 through 12 for classes that run quarterly from mid-October through June. Students of all skill levels are welcome, and instruments are available to borrow free of charge. A blended in-person and virtual program will allow younger, unvaccinated learners to participate from home.

Registration is open online at the organization’s website. Instruments include flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, guitar, bass, and drums, as well as two new options this year: violin and cello.

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BLOOM Giving Garden Teaches BIPOC Youth Black Liberation and Food Sovereignty

by Chamidae Ford


As we transition into fall, the BLOOM Giving Garden at Wa Na Wari is beginning to wrap up the season. The BIPOC-youth-run garden began as a response to COVID-19 and has continued to grow and expand in its second summer. 

The garden is a collaboration between Wa Na Wari, Seattle Public Library (SPL), YES Farm, The Black Farmers Collective, and EarthCorps. The project aims to educate and uplift BIPOC youth by fostering food sovereignty and honoring sacred land and Indigenous practices whilst building community. Eight fellows have been selected to run the garden through their involvement with farm-related programs. 

C. Davida Ingram, a Wa Na Wari partner and SPL public engagement employee, teamed up with Hannah Wilson from YES Farms and came to Wa Na Wari with the idea for a garden.

“Our goal is to look at the environment that Communities of Color look in, live in, and to look at it through the lens of creativity,” Ingram said. “At the beginning of the pandemic, there was a spotlight on economics. People were losing their housing and also people were running out of food. And because Seattle is such an incredible space for conversations around food justice and food sovereignty, we reached out to Wa Na Wari and said, ‘Would you be interested in creating a space where people could learn about food sovereignty and also would you be open to creating space for community gardening?’ And they said ‘yes.’”

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KyRi Miller, Aneesa Roidad, & Mia Dabney Win 6th Annual BEMSAA Awards

by Ari Robin McKenna


On Monday, a virtual ceremony was held to honor the 2021 Black Education Matters Student Activist Awards (BEMSAA). In addition to parents, mentors, friends, and teachers of the award winners, the event was attended by former NFL player Michael Bennet (who awarded Mia Dabney the Pennie Bennett Award), Seattle Seahawks player Bobby Wagner, former BEMSAA award winners, BEMSAA board members, and members of the media.

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Tell Your Story: Apply to the Duwamish Valley Youth Storytelling Project

by Mark Van Streefkerk 


In an effort to increase access to journalism for BIPOC youth in the Duwamish Valley, journalists and community storytellers Bunthay Cheam and Jenna Hanchard are launching the first-ever Duwamish Valley Youth Storytelling Project. The project is in collaboration with the Port Community Action Team and sponsored by the Port of Seattle. 

A series of four workshops, the project will help youth shape a story of community interest that will ultimately be featured in South Park Roots, on the Port of Seattle communications website, and on Hanchard and Cheam’s own storytelling platforms, Lola’s Ink and TnouT, respectively. 

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Why the NAACP Youth Council Is Demanding the Dismantling of HCC

by Nhi Tran, Foziya Reshid, Thao-Mi Le


Advanced learning programs first made an appearance in Seattle schools during the 1960s with the adoption of the “Policy for the Education of Able Learners.” The program was created with the intent of providing every student with an education that would “challenge [their] maximum ability and meet [their] individual needs.” However, after introducing school busing in the 1970s, the district used this program as an incentive to keep white parents who opposed racial integration from pulling their children out of Seattle schools. This program provided select white students with an education separate from their Black and Brown peers, perpetuating a segregated school system. 

Throughout Washington state, schools are required to provide “highly capable programs” for students they deem “gifted.” The state defines gifted as “students who perform or show potential for performing at significantly advanced academic levels when compared with others of their age, experiences, or environments.” The state allocates funds for each school district and, in return, school districts must abide by the state Legislature’s policies regarding basic education, which were redefined in 2011 to include programs for highly capable students. However, as you will see, these programs are built upon a foundation of white supremacy and constructed with the intent to perpetuate the segregation of schools on the basis of race and socioeconomic status. 

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Friendly Hmong Farms: Supporting Puget Sound Hmong Farmers With a New CSA

by Kamna Shastri


There are four main ingredients in Friendly Vang-Johnson’s upcoming CSA (Community-Supported Agriculture) program: family, Hmong farmers, youth, and giving back to the community. Rooted in goodwill and mutual aid, Friendly Hmong Farms’ CSA is intergenerational and empowers youth and centers food justice while providing the Northwest’s Hmong farmers with a steady source of income. The boxes will be full to the brim with local staples as well as culturally relevant produce grown by Hmong farmers of the Puget Sound region. Signups began March 4 and boxes will be available throughout the greater Seattle area beginning the first week of April.

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Vigil for Dolal Idd in Tukwila Shows Solidarity for Somali-Muslim Community and Demands Change

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.”

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