by Megan Burbank
The morning the news broke that Britney Spears had a medication abortion in secret at the height of her fame, a strange thing happened: People were kind about it. As a memoir excerpt detailing the experience overwhelmed social media, I saw messages of support and appreciation for Spears, and if there was any ire, it seemed mostly directed at Justin Timberlake, Spears’ boyfriend at the time, less for his desire not to become a parent at 20, but because even knowing all she’d been through, he would go on to slut-shame Spears in what is arguably one of the grossest clout-chasing campaigns of all time.
I hope Spears saw the messages of support. After all, she’s survived, she deserves them.
Continue reading OPINION | On Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, and the Idea of an ‘Acceptable’ Abortion Story
by Danielle Marie Holland
I was overseas when the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict erupted into a brutal October wave. Each morning, away from my community in Seattle, I awoke hours before my family to scroll through an avalanche of social media. Post after post of opinions, rage, graphic images, and downright horror. Information was moving torrentially and shared with similar speed, third-party posters having no time to look into the validity, sources, or evidence of what they were sharing. Major news outlets were moving too fast and making huge errors in the process, and journalists covering disinformation, such as Shayan Sardarizadeh for the BBC, have since been doing the rounds on viral posts containing false claims, conspiracy theories, and hateful content about the war.
Continue reading OPINION | Social Media and Mental Health: Seeing Through the Fog in the Midst of Conflict
by Mark Epstein
Over the past 50 years, tens of thousands of people have learned to swim, recreated, and cooled off in the waters of Medgar Evers Pool, located at 500 23rd Ave., just north of Garfield High School. How many of them thought about the name of the pool and its namesake? How many have learned that the pool’s construction was the site of a significant battle in the effort to fight desegregation in Seattle? Why is this important to think about?
Continue reading OPINION | Civil Rights Reflection: Medgar Evers Pool and the Naming of Public Places
by Gennette Cordova
As Filipino American History Month comes to a close, I find myself possessed by a nagging impulse to remind the people of Seattle that this celebratory month came to be thanks to the efforts of a woman in Seattle who is still doing the work of documenting and sharing the history of Filipino Americans to this day.
Continue reading OPINION | Honoring My Family’s Legacy of Sharing History and Heritage
by Sebrena Burr
Many know my story and why I do this work. My brother, Henry Burr Jr., was murdered in 1998. Being stabbed in the chest with a pocket knife in Pioneer Square caused his death, but the first stab to penetrate his heart came from Seattle Public Schools. Despite a loving and supportive family, Henry’s learning experience made him lose belief in his learning abilities, affecting his sense of self. Later, with limited jobs and careers available to him, Henry chose jobs that used his physical strength, even working long, hard hours on fishing boats in Alaska until his hands bled because his academic deficits limited his employment options.
What my brother experienced is happening at an accelerated rate today. Currently only 17% of African American students in Seattle Public Schools meet grade level standards. Students not performing at grade level and graduating without the skills and knowledge they need to thrive in life affects every part of our society. There is nothing more important than preparing our children for their futures, and to do so we need to have unwavering focus on what skills and attributes students need to be dynamic contributors to the communities where they reside.
Continue reading OPINION | Why I Support Liza Rankin for Seattle Public Schools School Board District 1
by Sabina Neem
On Wednesday, Sept. 27, I attended the Seattle Public Schools board meeting. Many community members were there — students, parents, teachers, administrators. Several on the agenda were slated to share why students should not be supported in their right to a safe learning environment if they are not cisnormative in their gender identity and expression; in particular, they were protesting “3211 Gender-Inclusive Schools: Transgender and Gender-Expansive Student Rights and Supports” adopted in July 2020. The support for LGBTQ+ students and the community was strong. After the few initial comments, there was a flurry of comments advocating that trans* students have a right to an educational environment that is safe and supportive. There were many who expressed gratitude for all that has been done thus far to achieve this.
Next to me, I heard a community member exhale, “I’m so tired of us being so grateful for getting the scraps.” I felt it too. Yes, gratitude is a powerful mover. It opens us up to want to do more, be better. And, in Seattle, it feels like those of us on the margins are always expected to wax poetic on how lovely it is to be invited in. We’re invited in, and then what?
Continue reading OPINION | Why I Support Debbie Carlsen for Seattle Public Schools Board District 1
by Rabbi David Basior
(This op-ed was originally published on the Kadima Reconstructionist Community blog and was reprinted under an agreement.)
I write this on the airplane home from Washington, D.C., where I arrived less than 48 hours ago. I don’t think I’ve ever bought an airline ticket for a flight that same day, thank G-d, as it is the kind of thing a human might reserve for a total emergency. It likely won’t be the last.
I went to D.C. on such short notice because now is an emergency.
Let me repeat: Now is an emergency.
Continue reading OPINION | First Reflections From Showing Up in D.C.
by Megan Ramer
On Aug. 7, members of our Seattle Mennonite Church were forced by the City of Seattle to conduct a sweep of humans who were camping on an unused plot of grass on a property we own. We acted with as much grace and compassion as we could, and still we caused great harm.
Continue reading OPINION | City Officials Believe the Only ‘Good’ Homeless Person Is a Dead Homeless Person
by Tobias Coughlin-Bogue
Depending on how you slice it, the City Council’s recent bill to add criminal penalties for the public use and possession of controlled substances took about six months to become law, as Councilmember Sara Nelson said the day of its passage. Six months, she implied, was way too long.
For the first time, I agree with her — it did take too long. But I don’t agree that getting it done did anything. As the associate editor of Real Change News, I followed the process intently. There was an aura of urgency around it that was undeniable. I’ll admit I wrote my fair share of breathless articles about how bad this would be for Seattle. Then, during a Sept. 12 hearing on the second, successful version of the bill at the Council’s Public Safety & Human Services Committee, I realized I’d gotten it all wrong.
Continue reading OPINION | The Drug Bill Did Nothing
by Sharon Maeda
There’s no such thing as a post-racial society, as was proffered when Barack Obama was elected president in 2008. And, despite a recent increase in racial hate crimes, vandalism, and harassment of BIPOC communities, some things have changed for the better. We no longer have to wring our hands and hope for the best when a person of our own racial or ethnic group is not ready for prime time, but we feel compelled to vote for them out of ethnic solidarity anyway.
We can vote for people who we know have the integrity and commitment to further justice for our communities during these fragile times. We can vote for the person who most closely shares our values, who we can trust, who is endorsed by those we respect, and who we know will listen when we bring forward important issues, policies, and crises. No longer do we have to vote for someone who “looks like us.”
Continue reading OPINION | Why We Don’t Need to Vote Our Race/Ethnicity in Local Elections