Tag Archives: Opinion

OPINION: We Cannot Continue to Ignore Human Trafficking

by Stephanie Bowman and Mar Brettmann

Does Seattle Have Slavery?

After a year of travel restrictions, empty middle seats, and deserted terminals, air travel is back. Airport officials at Sea-Tac International Airport (SEA) are reporting the busiest weekends since the pandemic began as millions of Americans follow through on long-delayed vacations and trips. 

The typical air traveler may be concerned about long security lines or crowded flights. But there is another more sinister danger that airport employees and travelers alike must be alerted to — human trafficking. 

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OPINION: Don’t Be Fooled by ‘Compassion’ Seattle

by Tiffani McCoy and Jacob Schear

Throughout June, many Seattle voters have likely come into contact with paid signature gatherers wearing badges with purple and magenta rainbows stationed outside of grocery stores, farmers markets, and restaurants. They will ask you to sign their petition to “solve the homelessness crisis.”

These paid signature gatherers are working to get the “Compassion Seattle” charter amendment on the November ballot. If Compassion Seattle passes, this amendment would be added to our city’s charter.

Continue reading OPINION: Don’t Be Fooled by ‘Compassion’ Seattle

OPINION: Othello Neighborhood Deserves Accountability for Long-Awaited Opportunity Center

by Yordanos Teferi

The Multicultural Community Coalition (MCC) and numerous partners have worked tirelessly to steward community priorities at the Opportunity Center at Othello Square, once slated for completion in 2023. The Opportunity Center aimed to anchor several community-based organizations serving thousands of immigrants and refugees, co-located STEM education, entrepreneurial business resources, affordable retail space, and mixed-income and affordable housing. We garnered support from all levels of government and the philanthropic community and devoted substantial human and social capital to the project for over a decade because our communities face grave displacement and underinvestment from neighborhoods that they helped build and shape. 

Yet, despite over 10 years of community visioning, commitments from multiple City of Seattle departments, and millions of dollars in public and private investment, we are no closer to the Opportunity Center breaking ground. 

While the Opportunity Center was identified as one of the City’s Equitable Development Initiative (EDI) demonstration projects and its community priorities were codified in the City’s Equitable Development Implementation Plan and the Othello Neighborhood Plan Update, it is hardly closer to becoming a reality than when our state and local elected officials rallied around it in 2015.

Continue reading OPINION: Othello Neighborhood Deserves Accountability for Long-Awaited Opportunity Center

OPINION: I Believe in Love

by Joy Pearl

(This essay is in response to a prompt asking young people about their feelings living through the COVID-19 pandemic and reckoning with white supremacy after the January 6, 2021 insurrection.)

As I look around at the faces of people who have come into my life recently or a long time ago, I feel at peace. When I think of people who have been there for me at different times in my life — times when I felt like the world was caving in and times I felt on top of the world — I feel supported. My grandma who calls me Sunshine, my godmother Ruth who is the embodiment of tough love, my parents who make sure that I know they are proud of me, my zeiza (grandpa) who always believed in me, and many others. As I look at the room full of people here with me as I write, I love and I am loved. In a world full of hate, I choose love. 

I believe in love.

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OPINION: Funding a Humane, Flourishing American Democracy

by David Sarju

Imagine an America where Black and Indigenous (B/I) families and communities are flourishing, alive with laughter, goodwill, and unlimited possibilities; where the grandchildren of today’s young adults are born into a beloved community, knowing their humanity is broadly valued; where America itself is ascendant, valuing the humanity of all creeds and tribes. The Puget Sound region possesses a complementary collection of decolonizing organizations that heal fragmentation, alongside science-driven organizations that together can create a scalable national model. But the way forward is different than popularly imagined. “Charity” that demands acquiescence, dyssynchrony, and near-term results has not solved America’s core vulnerability — dehumanization.

Funders must provide capital so family and community, not charity, are the sources of sustained well-being. Together with key, proven strategies, funds must be released to also heal historical trauma, strengthen the existing network of B/I community assets, and ensure children from birth to 5 years of age experience nurturing early-learning environments. Then America will have a better opportunity to achieve the economic and social well-being imagined.

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OPINION: Noelle Quinn and the Importance of Black Women Coaches in the WNBA

by Maggie Mertens, contributing columnist

When Noelle Quinn was suddenly named the head coach of the Seattle Storm earlier this month after Dan Hughes’ retirement, it was historic. In a league where the vast majority of the players are Black women, Quinn is the first Black head coach for the Storm and brings the total number of Black women current head coaches in the WNBA up to two. Women coaches, and especially Black women coaches, are vastly underrepresented in professional sports. 

Since the WNBA began in 1997, there have been 86 head coaches. Forty-four have been women. When the league debuted with eight teams, six head coaches were women. In the years since, that percentage has gone down. At the beginning of the 2021 season, there were just four women head coaches in the WNBA out of 12 teams. Quinn’s appointment brings that tally up to five. Last year there were zero Black women head coaches in the WNBA. Quinn became just the 19th Black woman head coach in the league’s history.

Quinn noted in her first press conference after the announcement of her promotion that she felt the significance of that history. She listed off all of those 18 Black women head coaches who came before her: “You talk about Pokey Chatman, Teresa Edwards, Jennifer Gillom, Carolyn Jenkins, Vickie Johnson, Trudi Lacey, Cynthia Cooper, Cheryl Miller, Carolyn Peck, Julie Rousseau, Amber Stocks, Karleen Thompson, Shell Dailey, Jessie Kenlaw, Cathy Parson, Taj McWilliams-Franklin, Denise Taylor, and Penny Toler,” Quinn said. “They crawled, so I can walk. I sit on those shoulders … For me, it’s important that I’m not just a woman — I’m a Black woman.”

Continue reading OPINION: Noelle Quinn and the Importance of Black Women Coaches in the WNBA

OPINION: ‘Best Starts for Kids’ Provides Vital Educational Support

by Jessica Werner and Erin Okuno

We are writing with enthusiastic support for the renewal of the Best Starts for Kids (BSK) levy and encouraging you to vote to approve the levy this August. As longtime advocates for children, youth, and families, we are so thankful to see the growing momentum and commitment to be a community that truly values young people and works to ensure that every child is happy, healthy, safe, and thriving!

Babies who were born the year BSK originally passed are just now entering school. The services they received as babies — like home visits, Play-and-Learn groups, information and support for parents and caregivers, and more — helped to prepare them and their families to enter school ready to learn and thrive.

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OPINION: DOC’s Medical Negligence and Dehumanization of Prisoners Must End

by Hannah Bolotin

On Jan. 14, 2021, the Office of the Corrections Ombuds (OCO) published a report summarizing numerous cases of delayed cancer diagnosis and treatment by the Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC), highlighting the ways in which DOC’s negligence has led to several preventable prisoner deaths

In yet another example of DOC’s negligence, the Washington Corrections Center for Women (WCC-W) has been rebuffing a prisoner’s requests for treatment for rapid development of potentially cancerous tumors for years. Several years ago, Patricia Teafatiller noticed a mass on her neck. A year and a half ago, a second lump developed along her spine. Patricia sought medical care and was told it was just a knot in her neck. She was subsequently informed she had degenerative disk disease to explain away the mass on her spine, saying nothing of her symptoms and masses in other locations. The lumps have continued to grow, more masses have appeared, and none have diminished. Her neck has grown increasingly stiff; she describes it as feeling like it is in a vice, with a grinding, popping sensation whenever she moves her chin towards her chest. The results of the ultrasound that was eventually ordered were inconclusive, warranting an MRI and/or biopsy to confirm whether the masses are benign or malignant — the standard of care in any medical practice. 

Continue reading OPINION: DOC’s Medical Negligence and Dehumanization of Prisoners Must End

OPINION: Communities Forgotten — Latinos During the Pandemic

by Jonathan Mulenga and Fatima Zavala

The coronavirus pandemic has exposed racial health disparities, specifically impacting African American and Latino communities. Coronavirus hit at disproportionate rates for communities of color. On May 9, 2021 the rate of cases for COVID-19, for instance, in white communities was 2,754 per 100,000, while Latino communities had a rate of 9,992 per 100,000 people. In King County, 62% of white communities are vaccinated while only 46% of the Latino population have been vaccinated. Latino Americans are four times more likely to be hospitalized from COVID-19 than their white counterparts. Though jarring, this is not surprising.

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OPINION: Stopping Disaster Gentrification Post-Pandemic Will Require Robust Action

by Gregory Davis

It was one year ago this month that a journalist thrust into the ether an idea that the pandemic was going to have a disproportionate impact on People of Color. He shared stories about friends and their current and impending struggles. One poignant detail he shared: “The coronavirus has magnified stubbornly unbalanced accounts between those with plenty and those barely holding on.” 

Continue reading OPINION: Stopping Disaster Gentrification Post-Pandemic Will Require Robust Action