In 2020, we saw people across the country make their voices heard with an urgency America hasn’t witnessed in decades. We marched in cities from coast to coast to express the need for social justice in our country. We advocated for change, pushing for more equity and inclusion.
The core of our chorus in protest after protest, “Black Lives Matter,” is a demand for action — an insistent call to finally tend to the overdue work of elevating Black voices and centering Black experiences.
That call was heeded at the ballot box here in Washington State, with more Black candidates elected than ever before.
Now that we have transitioned into 2021, it is more important than ever to keep building that momentum beyond electoral politics. We must continue to lift our voices and advocate for change throughout our society.
A round-up of news and announcements we don’t want to get lost in the fast-churning news cycle!
2021 “Sharks at the Beach”
Urban Impact wants to know:Do you, or do you know someone who needs help launching their business idea or growing their “side hustle?”
Why yes, myself and/or someone I know does need help with that, you say. Well then, check out Urban Impact’s Sharks at the Beach entrepreneurship program. Note: There was an info session on the 20th — don’t worry, there’s still time to get in on this! The deadline to apply is Friday, Jan. 29 at 11 p.m. Use this web form to apply or you can email the administrator, Keristian Farra, from there if you have any questions.
Crumbling brick buildings litter a once thriving business district. Two-story homes blackened with soot sit boarded up and abandoned. Children find pipes and needles in sandboxes. Twenty students share five books in a freezing classroom … no heat. No food tonight, just too expensive. No new shoes — wear your older sibling’s pair and line the holes with newsprint. This is America: Late ‘70s and ‘80s. To be clear, this is America’s urban ghettos: Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, and yes, even Seattle. One generation earlier, much of Black America fled the vicious Jim Crow south seeking safety and opportunity in the north only to find itself pinned into economic wastelands with no capital and little opportunity for growth. And it is within this context that hip hop was born. During my interview with Daudi Abe, a Seattle Central College professor and the author of Emerald Street: A History of Hip Hop in Seattle, he shared his thoughts on hip hop and its political and cultural impact.
Abe, who was born and raised in Seattle, teaches a class on the history of hip hop at Seattle Central College. Most of his students are in their late teens and early 20s, and they have a hard time understanding the context from which hip hop was born, he said. But context is key to understanding why hip hop survived and thrived while other music genres such as disco faded into history.
“Mothers For Police Accountability will present to the Community the
History of Weed and Seed in CD, that lead to People Remover or Gentrification. More information call 206-380-1710 Rev. Walden.” Kid-friendly
Time: 6–8 p.m. Where: Liberty Bank Building — 1405 24th Ave Cost: Free to attend
“In partnership with the Association of Black Social Work Students at the University of Washington’s School of Social Work, this community dialogue series invites and highlights voices and ideas from across the Black diaspora on important topics that inform the individual and collective Black experience. These moderated conversations center the voices of performing artists, mental health professionals, spiritual and body workers, writers, authors and more from across the northwest.
“February’s topic is Loving Black – Discussing the interpersonal and intimate relationships between Black people. Examining love between Black families in a historical context and how it connects to now. An open space to talk about stigmas, challenges, and the sweet parts of loving each other.”
Time: 7–9 p.m. Where: NAAM — 2300 S. Massachusetts St Cost: FREE (register via the Facebook event)
“In celebration of Black History Month, we’re partnering with the King County Library System and visual artist Michael B. Maine for the Blacks Making History Series! Every Thursday in February will feature a different event honoring the past, and looking towards the future in celebration of our local Black community. Join us this Thursday (Feb 6th) at 7pm for our first event, an all-star panel discussion at the Skyway Library about the evolution and endurance of Black political and social movements.
“Featured panelists include Kirsten Harris-Talley, Kelle J Brown, Dominique Davis, Brianna Thomas, and Michael Charles. The panel will be moderated by Marcus Harrison Green and Bridgette Hempstead (Founder of Cierra Sisters and Vice-President of The Emerald Board of Directors). All events are free and open to everyone!” Read full panelist bios in the Facebook event description.
“Hip hop cypher backed by live jazz musicians. Hosted by SCRiBE the Verbalist with King Dre on drums and Dennis Blockman on keys. Bring your raps and your friends. Totally free and all ages. Food and drink specials all night.” All-ages
Time: 6–9 p.m. Where: Cafe Red — 7148 MLK Jr Way S. Cost: Free to attend
“Seattle is one of the wealthiest and fastest-growing cities in the nation, but that growth has come often at the expense of the Indigenous people who first lived here. In a forthcoming piece in Bitterroot and the South Seattle Emerald, writer Marcus Harrison Green examines how Native citizens in Seattle are pushing for greater representation, and how non-Native Seattle residents and officials can improve the relationship with Indigenous residents of this traditional Coast Salish territory.
“Green joins us along with Fern Renville and Russell Brooks for a panel discussion moderated by Bitterroot editor Maggie Mertens, exploring ways the city can best recognize its Indigenous roots and residents, and whether reparations should be a component of that process.
“Russell Brooks (Southern Cheyenne) is the executive director of Red Eagle Soaring Native Youth Theatre in Seattle. Marcus Harrison Green is the publisher of the South Seattle Emerald [this publication]. Rachel Heaton (Muckleshoot) is the co-founder of Mazaska Talks, a tool that supports community divestment from banks that finance fossil fuel development. Maggie Mertens is the managing editor of Bitterroot magazine. Fern Renville (Dakota) is the CEO of SNAG Productions. Robin Little Wing Sigo is the director of the Suquamish Research & Strategic Development Department and a member of the Suquamish Tribal Council.”
“Vanishing Seattle is excited to launch its series of short films that take a deeper dive into the stories of legacy, resistance, and resilience behind the #VanishingSeattle hashtag!
“We are premiering with a film about Wa Na Wari – a 5th-generation Black-owned home in the Central District that creates space for Black ownership, possibility, and belonging through art, historic preservation, and connection.
“Come join us at the Wa Na Wari house for the film screening (directed by devon de Leña + Chimaera Bailey) — plus art, food, & community. The event will also feature music and performances by Yirim Seck and Ebo Barton. Learn more about WNW at www.wanawari.org.
“The Vanishing Seattle film project is supported, in part, by 4Culture/King County Lodging Tax and the Northwest Film Forum.” All-ages
Time: 7–9 p.m. Where: Wa Na Wari — 911 24th Ave Cost: FREE