As the days finally warm up and the summer months are in full swing, various programs across the city are helping to provide positive activities for youth and families to make the summer both more enjoyable and safer. Here are some of the programs and activities available to South End youth this summer.
This Saturday, June 11, the 2nd Annual Father’s Day Kick Back will be taking place at Rainier Beach Community Center and will feature a kickball game between youth and adult attendees. The event will be providing free food and live music from local DJs, family vision boards, and table discussions and share-outs to encourage conversations around learning more about the importance of understanding family dynamics.
The Emerald is a blueprint to showing, sharing, and bridging Black and Brown folks through the power of storytelling. The Emerald is what we should be truly striving for as a community. Don’t just talk about it. Create a way to practice and be about us coming together. The Emerald is setting the example. 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 today by choosing the “recurring donor” option on the donation page!
—Sharon Nyree Williams, Artist, Orator, & Rainmaker
Everyone lost to gun violence is someone’s beloved. Beloved is a multi-media campaign exploring gun violence in-depth in four phases: The Problem of gun violence as a symptom of illness (or infection) caused by systemic inequality; The History of gun violence, root causes, and local and national data trends. The Solutions to end gun violence including King County Public Health’s regional approach to gun violence prevention and treatments; and finally, the ideation of a world without gun violence, The Beloved Community. The Beloved project is brought to you in partnership with Seattle Office of Arts & Culture Hope Corps program, King County’s Public Health team, Converge Media, Black Coffee Northwest, Toybox Consulting, Creative Justice, The Facts Newspaper, Forever Safe Spaces, Northwest African American Museum, Presidential Media, and the South Seattle Emerald.
When a gunshot is fired in King County, Khalid Adams finds out through an alert on his phone. Then his time as a violence interrupter begins.
As shootings spike in King County, disproportionately impacting Communities of Color, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced last week the City will distribute $12.4 million to organizations working to curb gun violence and improve safety in BIPOC communities.
The year 2020 was particularly deadly for Seattle, recording the highest number of homicides in more than a quarter century. This past weekend, a series of shootings in Belltown, Pioneer Square, the Chinatown-International District, and Yesler Terrace left five people dead and nine injured according to the Seattle Police Department (SPD). In a press conference on Monday, July 26, Durkan said the violence was part of a surge in homicides across the United States.
“This weekend delivered a sober reminder that Seattle is not immune from gun violence,” Durkan said during the press conference. “This is a national crisis. Over the past week, from Chicago to Minneapolis to Washington, D.C., there have been over 900 shooting incidents.”
Last Sunday, the Seahawks cheerleaders, local activists, and graffiti artists gathered along Martin Luther King Jr Way South and South Angeline Street in Columbia City for one purpose — to bring a youth achievement center to that block of South Seattle.
The building proposal for the center consists of a north and south site which will provide permanent and emergency housing and amenities for different age groups, in addition to space for commercial businesses. Both sites are located next to each other along Martin Luther King Jr Way South adjacent to the Columbia City light rail station.
As incidents of gun violence in King County are set to hit a new record so far this year, a group of community members and government leaders gathered on June 4, 2021 — a date that King County declared as Regional Community Safety and Well-being Day — to announce a new collective that will work to prevent more shootings.
Last Friday night, 16 year-old Earl Estrella was shot several times and killed when he answered a knock at the door of his family’s home. The killing was without apparent reason or motive, leaving Estrella’s family and community grieving the tragic loss of a beloved son, another life cut short in Rainier Beach due to gun violence. The case is still under investigation.
The Rainier Beach neighborhood has weathered at least eight shootings since last May — including six deaths — according to chair of the South Precinct Advisory Council Erin Goodman. As people look to community-based safety organizations for solutions that prevent youth gun violence — ideally without increased policing — the leaders of these groups all echo a similar sentiment: we’ve been out here doing the work before, during, and after these crises, and we will continue.
One-quarter of the entire 2020 Seattle city budget was allocated to the Seattle Police Department (SPD). While last summer’s protests over anti-Black police violence and calls to defund the police resulted in an 18% decrease in the 2021 SPD budget, $364 million was still allocated to SPD. This is an affront to community-led organizations like King County Equity Now (KCEN) and so many others who have been providing much-needed community support and succeeding in creating real public safety.
KCEN, which started as an informal coalition of over 60 Black-led community organizations like Africatown Community Landtrust, Community Passageways, and Blaq Elephant Party, is now a formal, pro-Black 501(c)(4) dedicated to achieving equity for all Black peoples across all measurable metrics, including, wealth, health, land ownership, safety, college matriculation rates, organizational control, and more.
In the ’70s, the Central District’s population was 75% Black, but as a result of Seattle’s tech boom and resulting gentrification, the CD is now only 15% Black.
“My family was gentrified from the Central District in 2003,” said TraeAnna Holiday, an organizer with KCEN. “I remember wondering why my family couldn’t stay in our neighborhood. This was our neighborhood; I knew it in and out.”
(This article is co-published with The Seattle Times.)
Listening to Lynda Wolff, I want to roar at the world to remember her murdered son’s life. Four years ago, Latrel Williams was shot multiple times while returning to his Lakeridge home.
In the aftermath of his death, I spotted no signs at marches acknowledging his life, no public speeches given in his honor, and no politicians furiously spouting his name to earn social justice merits.
But Lynda still lost a son. Latrel Jr. (LJ) lost a father. And I lost a friend.
Last Wednesday, Mar. 17 the community was shocked to hear about a shooting at the Emerald City Bible Fellowship on Rainier Avenue South. There are a lot of rumors and a lot of unknowns. What we do know is that someone lost their life, someone took a life, and a community is left grieving in the aftermath of violence.
On the day of the shooting, Community Passageways was holding an orientation meeting at the church. Harvey Drake, the pastor of Emerald City Bible Fellowship, says the suspected shooter was looking for the victim, since identified as Omari Wallace, and confronted him during the orientation meeting that was attended by about 15 youth. Wallace was in his 20’s. Pastor Drake believes the shooter was as well.