Tag Archives: Mark Van Streefkerk

Good Food Kitchens Helps Fund Chefs Making Free Meals for South End Communities

Supporting local food economies, restaurants, and South Seattle neighbors, this program serves up more than just meals.

by Mark Van Streefkerk


In March 2020, restaurants were in trouble. Seattle was the U.S. epicenter of COVID-19, and a wave of shutdowns called for the immediate temporary closure of restaurants — some of which never reopened. Food scarcity was exacerbated as closures across all industries led to higher rates of unemployment. These disruptions also affected local farmers, many of whom lost half their major market channels instantly with the closures of schools and restaurants. In the South End, however, a handful of like-minded chefs made arguably one of the savviest pandemic pivots in the industry: They started the Seattle Kitchen Collective

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Usher In the Year of the Rabbit and the Year of the Cat at These Lunar New Year Events

by Mark Van Streefkerk


From lion dances and traditional music to art performances and dance parties, there are plenty of opportunities to kick off the Year of the Rabbit, or the Year of the Cat in the Vietnamese calendar. This year, the Lunar New Year falls on Jan. 22, but celebrations take place from this weekend into next month. Celebrated in China, Korea, Vietnam, and other East and Southeast Asian countries, some traditions include cleaning and preparing before the holiday; wearing red and gifting money in red envelopes; eating lucky foods, like dumplings and niángāo (glutinous rice cake); honoring ancestors with offerings; and family feasts. 

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2022 Retrospective | Mark Van Streefkerk

by Mark Van Streefkerk

The Emerald will be observing a team-wide wellness pause from Dec. 15 to Jan. 2, and most publishing will be on hiatus, with the exceptions of four pieces, of which this is one, wherein editors look back at 2022 and some of the work that made the Emerald shine.


Happy Holidays from the Emerald

When it comes to art, entertainment, food, and community events, there is just so much going on in the South End! Trying to cover it all (or as much of it as we can) is the hardest part of my role as Arts, Culture, & Community editor. Thankfully, working with this amazing team makes it easier. This year, I’ve worked with talented Emerald contributors Patheresa Wells, Amanda Ong, and Victor Simoes, along with many other incredible freelance writers and photographers. Each one of them brought their own unique insights and expertise to articles that helped amplify the people, events, food, and arts of the South End. I am deeply appreciative of their work! 

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South End Spots to Check Out for Seattle Restaurant Week

by Mark Van Streefkerk


Seattle Restaurant Week (SRW) is the city’s largest biannual dining promotion celebrating our local restaurant industry and diverse culinary communities. Taking place in the spring and fall, SRW typically features over 200 restaurants, pop-ups, food trucks, caterers, and other small food vendors, all with special curated menus, often at varying price points (from $20 all the way up to $65). Menus feature some of their most popular dishes or some best-kept secrets. 

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House of Constance Will Provide Housing and Services for Queer and Trans BIPOC

Plus: Other Queer and Trans BIPOC Housing Projects Taking Root in Seattle

by Mark Van Streefkerk


When it comes to housing resources for their own communities, queer and trans Black, Indigenous, People of Color (QTBIPOC) are doing it for themselves. Three different Seattle-area QTBIPOC organizations have permanently acquired (or are close to acquiring) buildings that will be used for temporary and semi-permanent housing for QTBIPOC facing housing insecurity. These recent or projected acquisitions for Trans Women of Color Solidarity Network (TWOCSN), Lavender Rights Project (LRP), and Queer the Land (QTL) is the culmination of years of work and advocacy, along with a little boost from the racial reckonings of 2020.

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Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month at These Events

by Mark Van Streefkerk


Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month (NHHM), a celebration of Latin American people, histories, and cultures. The monthlong observance starts in the middle of the month to commemorate the Sept. 15 anniversary of independence for Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador. Independence days for Mexico and Chile are Sept. 16 and 18, respectively. 

Seattle and surrounding areas have a number of festivals, author events, live entertainment, and other observances to honor our diverse Latine communities. From SeaMar’s Fiestas Patrias celebrations to the Seattle Latino Film Festival to El Centro de la Raza’s 50th Anniversary, there are many ways to celebrate. 

Explore Latine music through a Spotify playlist curated by the Seattle Theater Group, STG Selecciones Vol. 1, featuring artists from around the world as well as bands from the Pacific Northwest like Tres Leches, Mala Suerte, Acapulco Lips, Sávila, and Wild Wild Mexico. 

For a NHHM kids reading list, author events, and activities, check out the King County Library System’s recent South End Scoop, and the Seattle Public Library’s book list for young readers. 

Read on for a guide to local NHHM celebrations!

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No Judgment Fitness Brings LGBTQ+ and Fat Positive Fitness to White Center

by Mark Van Streefkerk


There’s a new fitness studio in White Center, and it’s doing things a little differently. For starters, the queer- and woman-owned No Judgment Fitness has an unexpected logo: a pink-sprinkle donut with a bite missing. The approximately 900-square-foot fitness space at 11019 10th Ave. SW has no mirrors, no scales, and no weight-loss contests, and it forbids diet talk. It’s also very proudly LGBTQ+ inclusive. At the top of No Judgment Fitness’ website, the words “Welcoming All Trans, Nonbinary and Gender Non-Conforming Bodies. Cis, Too,” are written in all caps. With its grand opening at the beginning of April, No Judgment Fitness aims to be a place for people who want to get into fitness, but don’t feel at home in most gyms.

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First Annual Kwanzaa Awards Recognizes Black Organizations and Individuals

by Mark Van Streefkerk


The first-ever Kwanzaa Awards took place on Jan. 8 as an online ceremony that celebrated individuals and organizations, nominated by the community, for embodying Kwanzaa principles. The pandemic prevented an in-person gathering, but the spirit of Kwanzaa shone through in prerecorded candle lighting and libation ceremonies and a candid mother-daughter conversation about Kwanzaa. 

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Essential Southeast Seattle Collective Fights for Small Businesses in the South End

by Mark Van Streefkerk


Even before the pandemic, small BIPOC-owned businesses and restaurants in the South End faced systemic barriers to success, including lack of access or resources as well as the ever-looming threat of gentrification and displacement. The pandemic only magnified these barriers. The processes of applying for vital loans and grants and pivoting to a greater online presence, all while somehow trying to maintain business as usual, were overwhelming without help. That’s where the Essential Southeast Seattle collective (ESES) comes in.

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South Park’s Multicultural Latino Market Celebrates Mexican Independence Day Saturday

by Mark Van Streefkerk


The South Park Multicultural Latino Market, a recurring weekend pop-up hosted by the South Park Merchants Association (SPMA), will host a special celebration of Mexican Independence Day and Hispanic American Heritage Month on Saturday, Sept. 18, at the South Park Plaza. Fiestas Patrias will feature DJs spinning salsa, cumbia, merengue, banda, and quebradita sonidero music, and vendors will sell authentic Mexican and Latino foods like tacos, empanadas, elotes, specialty non-alcoholic drinks, as well as clothing, jewelry, and collectibles. The celebration starts at 1 p.m. and goes until 5 p.m. or later. RSVP and find out more at the Fiesta Patrias Facebook event page

Mexican Independence Day took place on Sept. 16, but other Central and South American countries celebrate their independence days around the same time, kicking off Hispanic American Heritage Month from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. Fiestas Patrias is an inclusive Independence Day celebration for South Park’s diverse Latino community and everyone is welcome. 

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