Tag Archives: equity

OPINION: Which Side Are You On?

by JM Wong


The Solidarity Budget, proposed by a coalition of more than 200 organizations in the city, has a vision of Seattle that matches the times we face — from the climate crisis and calls for Indigenous sovereignty to the collective need for more resources dedicated to child care, digital equity, and more. The Solidarity Budget reminds us that a city’s budget — in deciding which issues are worth investing in — becomes a moral document of its people’s priorities, a document that attempts to concretize the values and visions that brought us protesting into the streets not too long ago. As the Seattle City Council concluded budget season last week, with a councilmember majority that last year publicly pledged to invest in community over police, it is crucial to uplift and support the Solidarity Budget’s timely demands.

Which side are you on?

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Local Nonprofit Announces Livable Wage for Entire Staff

by M. Anthony Davis


Choose 180, a local nonprofit that supports youth, announced that it would raise its baseline salary to $70,000 per year, a more than $20,000 pay increase for frontline staff.

“The way we will structure this,” said Executive Director Sean Goode, “is that all direct service folks will make $70,000, our managers will make $75,000, and our directors will make $80,000.” 

Choose 180 has built a reputation in the community for advocacy and support to youth facing incarceration. Through programs and partnerships, Choose 180 provides youth with workshops focused on empowerment and positive choices as well as felony intervention. It connects youth with “success coaches,” school-based diversion programs for youth facing expulsion or suspension, job training, and more programs and opportunities designed to interrupt the school-to-prison pipeline. 

This will be a huge leap for some employees, who made around $48,000 per year. The internal messaging was delivered at a recent staff meeting. 

“Some of them left with a $20,000 pay increase, with the understanding that it’s going to show up on the next check,” Goode said. 

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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.

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

OPINION: I Won’t Be Quiet About Healing From Nonprofit Harm

by Amy L. Piñon


In the summer of 2019, I had a very public breakup with the arts nonprofit where I had worked for six years. Two staff had just been fired, seemingly out of nowhere. They had been leading the organization on internal restructuring and equitable practices. The work was going well and conversations were fruitful. The board and leadership were vocally supportive. Until they weren’t.

I and several other staff members responded to the firings by writing a public letter to the organization’s community of supporters, asking for their help in holding leadership accountable, reinstating staff, and conducting a transparent investigation. Unfortunately, this threw the organization into more turmoil and ultimately led to my departure.

It’s still painful to process everything that happened that summer, but what I gained was a more intimate understanding of how the nonprofit sector is failing on its equity promises. 

Continue reading OPINION: I Won’t Be Quiet About Healing From Nonprofit Harm

Community Health Centers Work to Address COVID-19 Vaccine Inequity

by Sally James


The State of Washington released a report on  Feb. 10 showing that white people are getting a higher proportion of the limited amount of COVID-19 vaccines than other races and ethnicities in the state.

For Trang Tu, a community activist who cares for her elderly mother — who has dementia and needs 24-hour care — getting a vaccine presented numerous hurdles. Tu eventually got a last-minute tip from a mass vaccination site in Snohomish county, a long drive from her home south of Rainier Beach, and her mother is now vaccinated. “It’s not just limited supply of vaccines itself,” Tu said. “Access is not equal. It favors people who have time, an internet connection, transportation, and a certain language.”

Tu’s mother was able to overcome systemic barriers because, Tu says, “I have some privilege: I have a computer, I have a car, I can do advocacy.” Many other BIPOC people aren’t as fortunate.

Continue reading Community Health Centers Work to Address COVID-19 Vaccine Inequity

Red Barn Ranch Gets One Step Closer to Potential Black Ownership

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

Statewide Pandemic Relief Fund Sets $30M Goal for Vaccine Equity

by Ben Adlin


A statewide partnership of public officials and private groups on Monday, Feb. 15, announced plans to put $30 million toward a new equity initiative intended to boost COVID-19 vaccination rates among Black, Brown, Indigeneous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities and other groups disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

“The goal on this initiative is to raise $15 million to match government dollars around vaccine outreach and education,” said Lilliane Ballesteros, executive director of the Latino Community Fund of Washington. “Now is the time to mobilize our collective resources quickly to those in need.”

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Inauguration Reaction: What Biden and Harris’ Inauguration Means to a Black American Man

M. Anthony Davis (Mike Davis) is a local journalist covering arts, culture, and sports.

Featured Image: Inauguration Day Sunrise — attributed to Geoff Livingston under a Creative Commons 2.0 license (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

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Inslee Announces $365 Million in Equity Budgeting for 2021

by Carolyn Bick


Gov. Jay Inslee has proposed a slew of budgeting measures meant to address racial injustice across a broad swath of areas. These proposals, totaling $365 million, target everything from healthcare inequities — which the current novel coronavirus pandemic has laid bare — and environmental disparities to homelessness and even how insurance companies handle clients.

Continue reading Inslee Announces $365 Million in Equity Budgeting for 2021

OPINION: Let’s Go Vote

by Pari McDonald, Ana McDonald, Marina Rojas, and Chiara Zanatta-Kline

(This article originally appeared on the South End Stories Youth Blog.)


The voices of those who are furthest from opportunity, who are actively being suppressed and kept from voting, must be heard, especially during this election. Ana (18), Pari (15), and Cymran (13) McDonald decided they wanted to do something about creating easy, accessible ways for the communities that they love and who have lifted them up in life, to register to vote. The sisters worked with young adults Chiara and Marina to build Mini Voter Registration Boxes for areas where QT/BIPOC voters may have difficulty printing voter registration forms or may not be able to easily get stamps or envelopes, especially during COVID. The girls also wanted to ensure that young voters were easily able to access voter registration by providing texting and QR codes to register online. Boxes were placed in the Central District, New Holly, White Center, High Point, Renton, Federal Way, and Tacoma.

Continue reading OPINION: Let’s Go Vote