Tag Archives: Custodians

Custodian Photo Exhibit Hopes to Help Public Value Essential Workers

by Sally James


A mother and daughter want you to look twice when you see a custodian in a hallway. 

The art exhibit, called  (in)Visibility, consists of a series of photographs, mostly taken by custodians themselves, many of them immigrants or People of Color. Curator Evalynn Fae Taganna Romano is using the images to fight against what the pandemic highlighted for her: that society was ignoring custodians, including her own mother, Evalina. 

As a student studying public health when the coronavirus pandemic began, Evalynn was struck by the disparity among essential workers. At first, she saw some get food or flowers or free personal protective equipment. Later, those same people received early access to vaccines. But custodians didn’t qualify for this preferential treatment, despite their being essential to keeping buildings clean, hospitals tidy, and schools safe.

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Pandemic Year Pushes a Daughter of Custodians to Fight for Her Mom’s Profession

by Sally James


For the daughter of two custodians, a process that started with bringing coffee and bread to custodians in  their workplaces one year ago swelled into an advocacy and lobbying effort. She wants to ensure that custodians receive preference for the COVID-19 vaccine — as well as better wages, hazard pay, and increased status in society.

Evalynn Fae Taganna Romano identifies as Filipino and white. Her mother emigrated to Seattle from the Philippines. Her father, who died almost two decades ago, was born in Seattle but was the son of immigrants from Turkey. Romano lives in Beacon Hill and is a graduate student studying public health and social work at the University of Washington (UW). 

Her year of helping and valuing custodians “made me think about how human lives are valued in our society and custodians, many of whom are immigrants and refugees, are often overlooked,” she told the Emerald in an interview.  

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