Tag Archives: Features

The ‘Lavender Rights Project’ Clarifies Their Community Calling

by Jasmine M. Pulido

Black trans women and nonbinary femmes are the most underserved population within the LGBTQIA+ community.

This is the reality that the Lavender Rights Project (LRP) knew but did not yet know how to effectively address after serving as a grassroots nonprofit law firm for the last five years. This September, on their five-year anniversary, after bringing Black trans women and femmes into new leadership to inform LRP’s strategy, they’re changing their mission to better hone in on this problem.  While they still intend to be inclusive and serve the larger LGBTQIA+ community, they will center their work around Black trans women and nonbinary femmes moving forward. 

“We are hoping to be inclusive of all LGBTQ in our services, but we see focusing in on Black trans women as a method to address all needs of the entire community. When we get it right for Black trans women, we get it right for everyone who reaches out to us for help,” Jaelynn Scott (she/her) said. As LRP’s executive director, Scott exuded a mix of fierce compassion that also somehow felt like a calming balm as she spoke about LRP’s future.

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Black-Owned rōJō Juice Pours Out Organic Juices and Love

by Elizabeth Turnbull

At the entrance of Pike Place Market, next to Ellenos Greek Yogurt and across from where the fish are thrown, one woman and her family pour organic fruits, vegetables, and joy into the lives of Seattleites and tourists who visit the Black-owned business rōJō Juice

“Customers say that the music that we play, the energy that we give literally like … gets them out of bed,” Rhonda Faison, the owner of rōJō Juice, told the Emerald. “… and whether they buy a juice or not they just love to be around rōJō and the energy.” 

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Weekend Long Reads: mRNA Vaccines

by Kevin Schofield

This week’s “long read” is an article in the journal Nature, looking at the long and complicated path leading to the mRNA vaccine technology and techniques used to create the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines against COVID-19.

“Messenger RNA,” or mRNA, is essentially a recipe for building proteins. Living cells use it as a way of passing notes around: Parts of our DNA are transcribed into mRNA, which is then read by the tiny factories in our cells that produce proteins. 

Technically, a virus isn’t alive: It’s just a string of genetic material surrounded by a coating of fat (what biologists call “lipids”) with some proteins on the surface that help it to gain access into our cells (such as the COVID-19 “spike protein”). Once a virus invades our cells, its DNA is also transcribed into mRNA that contains the blueprint for the virus, and then our own cells do all the hard work to churn out thousands of virus copies.

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Beacon Hill Restaurants Baja Bistro and CheBogz to Reopen at Colina Apartments

by Mark Van Streefkerk

Family-owned Beacon Hill restaurants Baja Bistro and Kusina Filipina were known for more than just their delicious, authentic recipes. Their customers and neighbors were welcomed like family when they came to dine. That was partly why the loss of both restaurants was so painful. After a change in building ownership led to a rent hike, the Paraiso family closed Kusina in 2017, and Baja shuttered after 25 years in 2020 due to the pandemic. The closures also reflected the decades-long trend of displacement and gentrification in Seattle. With the support of the Beacon Business Alliance (BBA) and a community-minded developer, these two legacy restaurants are planning to reopen in the same neighborhood they were previously forced out of. 

Baja and CheBogz — the latter is owned by Paraiso family sisters Trixia and Paula — are returning to Beacon Hill, splitting a storefront space in the new Colina Apartments

“It’s almost kind of like a fairy-tale story for People of Color,” Trixia said when reflecting on moving the restaurant back to Beacon Hill. “You don’t really get this opportunity to have a landlord say, ‘We want you guys here so that we can keep this community as diverse as it was before.’” 

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Award-Winning Entrepreneur KD Hall Aims to Take Her Businesses to the Next Level

by M. Anthony Davis

Local business owner KD Hall has been on fire this year. As CEO and principal consultant of KD Hall Communications and president and CEO of the KD Hall Foundation, Hall has received nine awards this year including South Sound Business 40 Under 40, Puget Sound Business Journal 40 Under 40, and a nomination for a Northwest Regional Emmy Award

The Emerald caught up with Hall to learn a little more about the woman behind the awards and successful businesses. 

Hall, who has been operating out of Seattle for the past eight years, is originally from Detroit, Michigan. She met her husband and business partner, David Hall, in high school. The two attended Oakland University in Michigan together and moved to Washington when David joined the U.S. Air Force.

“I remember at that time, it was difficult and there was a lot of tension in our country and we were at war under George W. Bush in 2006,” Hall says of her husband’s journey in the Air Force. He looked at it as a tool and as an opportunity to be able to give him a chance to do more in his life and to provide for our family that we planned to create. David excelled in the Air Force snagging many awards including Airmen of the year. 

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COVID-19 Forces Pro Sports Teams to Mandate Vaccine Proof for Fans

by Sally James

A late summer surge of the COVID-19 delta variant has schools scrambling to adjust to in-person learning, parents worried about the safety of unvaccinated kids, and sports fans on edge.

Local professional sports teams, including Seattle Seahawks, Seattle Sounders FC, and Seattle Kraken all announced that they would require proof of vaccination from fans who want to attend games. Following those announcements Tuesday, Sept. 7, the Washington Huskies, Washington State Cougars, and Seattle Mariners also announced similar rules to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. 

The rules don’t apply to fans under 12 years old, who cannot yet be vaccinated. In a story this week, the Emerald outlined the updated guidelines for student athletes.

For participants in outdoor sports and fans of all ages, the delta variant continues to spread throughout the community, requiring changes to fall plans and public health guidance.

Off the field, the Washington Hospital Association (WSHA) reported an almost 7% increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations statewide over the previous week. Some of that press conference is in this video from television station KIRO-7. WSHA leader Cassie Sauer explained that overcrowded hospitals anywhere are a problem for all hospitals, because patients are sometimes shifted to other facilities.

King County Executive Dow Constantine said the County is trying to create some vaccine verification standards that could become effective in October. These would help businesses and others quickly verify a person’s vaccine status.

In this week’s Q&A, we hope to help you make sense out of the latest COVID-19 health and safety headlines with links to credible sources.

Send your questions to us at editor@seattleemerald.org.

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Skyway Nonprofit Forms CDA to Revitalize Community

by Alexa Peters

For decades, the close-knit and diverse community in Skyway has been striving to flourish on their own terms.

As an unincorporated part of King County, Skyway does not have a local government entity, like a city council or mayor, working on behalf of the majority BIPOC community, making it harder for residents to preserve the parts of Skyway they love and execute much-needed additions, like a long-awaited community center. At the same time, residents like Jeannie Williams, who’s lived in Skyway for 36 years, say incorporation wouldn’t be worth the cost to the heart and soul of the neighborhood.

“Skyway has its own quirky personality all its own. It’s kind of like being out in the country but in the middle of the city. There’s cool little family-owned restaurants and it’s a good place to raise your kids. It’s very diverse,” said Williams. “All of those things make Skyway its own community.”

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Weekend Long Reads: The Evolution of Our Health Care System

by Kevin Schofield

This weekend’s “long read” focuses on two medical research papers exploring how the U.S. health care system has changed over the past two decades: the money going into the system and the outcomes for individuals. And it’s not a pretty picture.

Let’s start with a paper from a group of researchers at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation here in Seattle, looking at health care spending from 2002 through 2016 and broken out by race and ethnicity. Total spending has grown dramatically, from about $1.5 trillion annually in 2002 to over $2.4 trillion in 2016. The amount spent per person increases as they age, from a low of about $3,000 per year for children in 2016 to more than $15,000 per year for those over the age of 65. There are some significant differences in spending across racial and ethnic lines, with Asians, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, and Hispanics seeing some of the lowest levels of spending across all age groups and white and multiracial individuals seeing the highest spending.

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Mask Mandates, School Openings, Sports, and Other Questions About COVID-19

by Sally James

The COVID-19 delta variant is behind the latest surge of coronavirus cases, prompting new mask mandates, and raising a lot of new questions, including about the safety of unvaccinated school children and playing sports. 

This week we look at some new questions and rely on County and State health officials for the latest guidance.

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The Immigration Question Makes The Census Useless

Lawmakers use the Census to determine where people live — not what their status is

by Hanna Brooks Olsen

Editors’ Note: This article was originally published on 04/05/2018. It was republished on 01/17/2022 with a new featured image.

Though King County’s explosive growth in the last decade has largely been attributed almost entirely to Amazon—and thus, generally assumed to be single “bros” living in South Lake Union apartments—our newest neighbors are coming from all over and for a plethora of reasons. According to official records, “more than half of King County’s new population was foreign-born” between 2001 and 2010. In fact, the immigrant and refugee population are the fastest growing in the area, adding new languages, cultures, and customs to neighborhoods, most of which are located on the edge or just outside of Seattle’s boundaries.

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