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.
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.”
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.”
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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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.
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.
On Tuesday, a small group of King County workers picketed outside of the county’s Chinook Building on 5th Avenue, in order to remind King County Executive Dow Constantine that racism is a public health crisis and to protest King County’s inaction on fighting racism and discrimination in King County workplaces.
The event was not the first time that the Organized Workers for Labor Solidarity (OWLS) sponsored a picket — the group staged a picket and rally in front of the county executive’s downtown office earlier this summer to insist Constantine listen to their repeated demands: that he prevent racist threats and harassment at King County worksites, provide restitution for workers who have filed complaints of racism with no satisfactory resolution, and end budget cuts and lay-offs, among other demands.
by Share The Cities (written by members Calvin Jones, Rachael Ludwick, Laura Loe)
Seattle’s city-owned, privately managed, golf courses have come into the public eye as Mayor Jenny Durkan has questioned whether golf courses are the best use of transit-adjacent public land. Seattle’s 2017 Parks and Open Space Plan states: “Over the past decade, the city of Seattle has grown rapidly, adding an average of about 4,000 housing units and 7,000 people each year. In the years to come, Seattle expects to accommodate a significant share of the region’s growth. In 2016, Seattle’s population was estimated to be 686,800, with projections that growth over the next 20 years will add an estimated 120,000 people to the city.” As we face a crisis of houselessness, rising housing costs impacting folks at every income level, and even more workers coming to our city, now is exactly the time to discuss what we value in our public shared spaces.
In Washington State, we like to think we’re progressive, but I’m not convinced we know what that means. Washington State has some of the most backward, upside down systems in place that do an injustice to low-income folks and people of color: like our regressive tax code, over-policing students of colors in our schools, the ever-growing homeless population, and child hunger, to name a few.
I remember growing up in a housing project in Seattle and my mother having to make choices. Choices like which of my siblings got to go on the field trip or which store to shop at to get the cheapest groceries to stretch her teacher’s paycheck just a little bit further.