by Susan Fried
More than 50 families with roots in Seattle’s Central District attended the second annual “Reunion on Union, Community Dinner and Block Party” on Saturday, July 17.
Many of the families no longer live in the area, having been displaced by gentrification, but they gathered with one another to reminisce and reconnect with old friends and neighbors.
The joy was palpable as friends and relatives hugged and greeted each other, many for the first time in years. The event included food, music and vendors.
Continue reading PHOTO ESSAY: Families Return to Union for a Reunion
by David Sarju
Imagine an America where Black and Indigenous (B/I) families and communities are flourishing, alive with laughter, goodwill, and unlimited possibilities; where the grandchildren of today’s young adults are born into a beloved community, knowing their humanity is broadly valued; where America itself is ascendant, valuing the humanity of all creeds and tribes. The Puget Sound region possesses a complementary collection of decolonizing organizations that heal fragmentation, alongside science-driven organizations that together can create a scalable national model. But the way forward is different than popularly imagined. “Charity” that demands acquiescence, dyssynchrony, and near-term results has not solved America’s core vulnerability — dehumanization.
Funders must provide capital so family and community, not charity, are the sources of sustained well-being. Together with key, proven strategies, funds must be released to also heal historical trauma, strengthen the existing network of B/I community assets, and ensure children from birth to 5 years of age experience nurturing early-learning environments. Then America will have a better opportunity to achieve the economic and social well-being imagined.
Continue reading OPINION: Funding a Humane, Flourishing American Democracy
by Trey Rabun
(This article originally appeared on Amara’s website and has been reprinted under an agreement.)
I’ve had the privilege of working within child welfare for almost 12 years now. My professional journey started in our state agency (now called the Department of Children, Youth and Families — DCYF) supporting children who were “legally free,” meaning children who the state has decided cannot safely return home and are now seeking to find forever families, typically through adoption or guardianship.
As a social work practicum student, I was able to immerse myself in the work of all aspects of child welfare including doing “ride arounds” with Child Protective Services (CPS) investigators and sitting in on intense family decision meetings. Throughout my career, I have always looked for the best ways to support kids and families in foster care, including looking at how best to support Black families caring for kids and youth in our immediate and extended families.
There will always be one family from that time who has stuck with me even after all these years.
Continue reading OPINION: Kinship Care Can Help Transform The Child Welfare System
by Dr. Stephan Blanford and Misha Werschkul
Since the pandemic’s onset, Washington families have experienced a rolling crisis in jobs, hunger, health, and education. The prospect of eviction hangs over far too many. Food insecurity has skyrocketed. Child care facilities have closed, many of them permanently. And a rocky transition to remote learning is now impeding students’ educational progress. The acute stress on children and families may harm kids’ health, their education, and their ability to earn a living.
Continue reading OPINION: Washington’s Children Shouldn’t Have to Relive Our Past Mistakes