My grandmother-in-law was like Yoda in a hijab. She was tiny, old, had leathery skin, and was apt to speak in poetry or riddles. She spent much of her time sitting quietly. This made her words more potent when she did speak. When her mood was crispy she would chide me and ask why wasn’t I wearing makeup or jewelry or when was I going to stop studying and have kids. Even though I have a tendency to take things personally, I never did with Nani. Something about the brevity of her cantankerousness combined with her adorable squishiness drew me closer to her instead of pushing me away. When I didn’t want to argue with her or my head hurt from trying to force my Urdu beyond its feeble abilities, I used to reach out for her hand and lay my head in her lap.
The South Seattle Emerald’s founder and publisher, Marcus Harrison Green, often says that we’re “flying the plane while we’re building it,” which is an apt description. But after more than seven years of struggle and dedication, the Emerald is pleased to take a giant step forward. This week, the Emerald is posting the job description for the newly created Executive Director position. The person filling this position will manage the Emerald while Marcus steps away from day-to-day operation but remains the Emerald’s publisher.
On the clear and warm Juneteenth afternoon, dozens of people gathered at Tukwila Village to march for Black fathers. The Black Fathers Matter March is an event dedicated to honoring Black fathers with a goal to emphasize the fact that despite the stereotypes forced on Black men around fatherhood, many are present and supportive of their children.
Since time immemorial, Indigenous people have celebrated storytelling as a way to connect the present to past lessons and future dreaming. Narrative sovereignty is a form of land guardianship, and Nia Tero supports this work through its storytelling initiatives, including the Seedcast podcast, as well as in this column for media partner the South Seattle Emerald.
On March 24, my colleagues and I on Nia Tero’s Seedcast team will release the first episode of our new season of the podcast, featuring an interview with Colleen Echohawk, executive director of Chief Seattle Club. Colleen is an enrolled member of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma, and she is also adopted into the Ahtna/Athabaskan community where she grew up in Mentasta Lake, Alaska. I was honored to interview Colleen for the episode, which is focused on Colleen’s exploration of what shaped her into the leader she is today, with an emphasis on her Indigenous heritage.
On Wednesday evening, Feb. 17, the Academy for Creating Excellence (ACE) hosted their second installment of the Black Educators Cafe, a series dedicated to helping Black people in the education field find community and support.
In August of 2020, ACE received a grant from the City of Seattle as part of an initiative to invest in youth mentorship and diversity programs. By partnering with the City’s Department of Education and Early Learning, ACE has been able to expand its reach beyond students and has begun working with Black educators as well.
These events were created to provide a safe space for Black educators, providing a virtual place where they can discuss issues that their Black students face and also their experiences working in a predominantly white field.
Indigenous peoples and communities have long used stories to understand the world and our place in it. Seedcast is a story-centered podcast by Nia Tero and a special monthly column produced in partnership with the South Seattle Emerald about nurturing and rooting stories of the Indigenous experience.
One of my earliest memories is of my grandfather waking up every morning before the sun came up. I was born in 1969 and in my early years, before my mother married my father, we lived with my grandparents. By the time I was maybe 4 or 5, my grandfather had retired. He had served in World War II in the motor pool in the South Pacific, and then, when he came to Seattle, he got a job at the Naval shipyards down on the piers here in the sound, later working with the transportation department until his retirement in the early ’70s. He came from a family of tenant farmers who migrated to the Northwest from the South who were used to working on the land. Their work ethic never left him.
One bright spot in this mostly dismal 2020 has been the launch of Washington’s Paid Family Medical Leave program (PFML). About 170,000 workers have applied for benefits this year. They include many people who had the joy of welcoming a new child into their family, others coping with a serious health crisis, and people like my good friend who is caring for her father through his last months of life.
Before PFML, extended paid leave benefits were typically only available to highly paid employees of a few large companies. Lower-wage workers and people from BIPOC communities had the odds stacked against them in the “boss lottery.” Now almost everyone who works in Washington can take 12 to 18 weeks off work to recover their own health or care for a loved one without sacrificing financial security.
Question: I’m an 18-year-old recent high-school grad. I was really looking forward to heading off to college this fall but because of the pandemic, my school is choosing to only offer online classes. My relationship with my parents is good, I was just looking forward to having the opportunity to be more independent and figure out who I am. I’m concerned that by staying home, we’ll all fall into the same patterns. I’m worried how my parents might react to this if I tell them how I’m feeling. Any ideas on how to have the conversation would be really appreciated.
It’s no news to Seattle parents and caretakers that educating kids has become even more of a challenge since the city closed school campuses in March. Many have been asked without warning to take on the roles of teacher and childcare worker while still having to travel to essential jobs, find new employment or adapt to working from home.
A newly expanded partnership between Seattle Public Schools and the Seattle Public Library hopes to ease the transition by offering families free access to a suite of online resources. With just their school identification number, all K-12 students can now log in to the library’s digital databases and electronic media.