Baseball Beyond Borders (BBB), a Kent-based organization that uses baseball as a tool to increase opportunity and support academic excellence for student-athletes of color, released its first documentary, Reconciliation Tour, in September. The film centers on baseball’s healing power through community building and the athletes’ shared experiences while paying homage to the sport’s historic role in the fight for civil rights and its place in Black American culture. Made in partnership with local Black media production company Converge, the documentary follows 21 BBB members on a trip to the South.
Living Well Kent Collaborative (LWKC), a community-driven coalition of residents, nonprofit organizations, businesses, and government leaders united to achieve health equity through policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) change, was recently allotted 70 acres of land from the City of Auburn and Auburn School District. Plans for the 70 acres include community and technology centers, affordable housing, a botanical garden, more land for farming, a food hub, and more. The organization is now tasked with raising enough funds to begin developing the land.
While last Thursday, Aug. 25, was supposed to be the first day of school, three dozen educators from Meeker Middle School were outside of the building in the 90-degree midday heat. Passing cars on Southeast 192nd Street honked every 10–20 seconds in support of the striking educators; many of the educators wore red and held signs reading “KENT Education Assoc. ON STRIKE!”
At the close of 2021, the mayors of Auburn, Renton, and Kent met privately to discuss community safety and violence affecting south King County. Unfortunately, of all the initiatives and meetings that have since come from this coalition, none has publicly addressed the personal and systemic violence coming from their very own police departments.
Fresh fruits and seafood. White sandy beaches and miles of coastland that rival states like Hawai‘i. Markets that are lively until midnight and youth enjoying the freedom to roam unafraid. These are all experiences that my mother talks about when she recalls life before the civil war in Somalia.
When talking about his run for Renton City Council, Joseph Todd’s voice breaks slightly and wavers. “I’m sorry, I get a little emotional here.”
He recalls George Floyd’s death a year ago, which sparked a worldwide racial reckoning.
“When we saw a man get murdered in daylight, it begins to bring home, for real, for real, that these systems are trying to kill you,” Todd said. “So that’s why when we created the Renton Residents for Change, it was really all about, ‘We have to get ahead of this.’”
(This article was previously published at The Urbanist and has been reprinted with permission.)
A new Metro RapidRide line is coming to Auburn, Kent, and Renton in 2023 to provide more than just more frequent and faster bus service. King County Metro also is planning new station standards at stops and making lasting improvements to streets. In the latest project update, Metro unveiled four types of station standards depending upon expected ridership and station access needs, which will dictate which improvements will be rolled out.
The city of Kent has the largest population of Black residents in King County. Many Black residents in Kent moved there after being pushed out of Seattle due to gentrification and rising housing costs. This year, Dawn Bennett, a Black woman who has lived in Kent for the last 23 years, is running for mayor.
Bennett has a long career in community advocacy and activism. She has worked for the Seattle Parks department for over 25 years and has also worked for Seattle Public Schools and multiple nonprofits, one of which she founded, that focus on advocating for youth in communities throughout Washington.
The Emerald had the opportunity to speak with Bennett about her plans for the city of Kent and how she plans to use her expertise to support the city and the 15,000 Black residents who live there.
A report launched Tuesday, Dec. 8, outlines how to scale up multilingual education to meet the dire need for it in South King County. Called Our Rising Voices: A Call to Action to Support Our Multilingual Students, the study was the result of a year-long collaboration between the Road Map Project, the Community Center for Education Results, and One America.
Looking at data from public schools within the so-called “Road Map Project region” of South Seattle, Tukwila, Renton, Highline, Kent, Federal Way, and Auburn, the report concludes that 42% of students are English learners at some point during their K-12 education. Yet, only 8% of teachers in that region are endorsed in English Language Learning (ELL), and a mere 0.4% of teachers are endorsed in Bilingual Education. This systemic failure to adequately serve almost half the students in this region is especially troubling given how many English learners there are in this state. At the Zoom launch of this report, Veronica Gallardo, the state’s assistant superintendent of Schools and Systems Improvements — and a long time member of Road Map Project’s English Language Learners Work Group — cited the fact that Washington has the nation’s seventh largest English learner (EL) population and the second largest migrant population in the nation. Gallardo said, “The data makes the need for this work undeniable.”