Tag Archives: Racial Inequity

Seattle Opera Plans to Address Racial Inequity On and Off Stage With ‘RESI’ Proposal

by Jasmine J. Mahmoud

Stage left: A towering three-story glass window frames a humble apartment. With dark grille lines that form a grid within, the window slopes inward and lets in iridescent rays of orange, yellow, and blue from the outside. Inside, we are in the attic apartment of four roommates: visual artist Marcello, poet Rodolfo, philosopher Colline, and musician Schaunard. Their apartment is sparse, with accouterments of art — music stand, easel, books — and of survival: a fire. Art and fire interact when we first meet Marcello and Rodolfo, who lament over the incessant cold and burn some of Rodolfo’s writing to keep warm. 

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OPINION: Which Side Are You On?

by JM Wong

The Solidarity Budget, proposed by a coalition of more than 200 organizations in the city, has a vision of Seattle that matches the times we face — from the climate crisis and calls for Indigenous sovereignty to the collective need for more resources dedicated to child care, digital equity, and more. The Solidarity Budget reminds us that a city’s budget — in deciding which issues are worth investing in — becomes a moral document of its people’s priorities, a document that attempts to concretize the values and visions that brought us protesting into the streets not too long ago. As the Seattle City Council concluded budget season last week, with a councilmember majority that last year publicly pledged to invest in community over police, it is crucial to uplift and support the Solidarity Budget’s timely demands.

Which side are you on?

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OPINION: Second-Guessing ‘Woke City’

by Glenn Nelson

On a recent morning in Woke City, I had to perform a double take while swallowing guffaws between lumps of oat bran. Yes, I can be quite the multitasker that way.

“People were sick of the status quo and they wanted change,” Sara Nelson said on election night.

I was confused. Nelson (absolutely no relation) ran against Nikkita Oliver, who was the biggest change agent on anyone’s ballot that day. 

Then — snap — I thought, were we the status quo she was talking about? And by we, I mean folks who want to reform the police, have compassion for the homeless, and take a jackhammer to income inequality. And by folks, I mean mainly Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, who are the most impacted by that Bermuda Triangle of social inequity.

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OPINION: ‘Normal’ Isn’t Good Enough for Returning School Kids

by Marcus Harrison Green

(This article is co-published with The Seattle Times.)

Forgive me if I hope returning school children experience their most abnormal year yet.

Having survived a pandemic, a makeshift move to remote learning, and minimal socialization, I say they’re owed good karma by the metric ton.

But returning to normal won’t settle that debt. 

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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: Seattle Activists’ Continued Fight for Mutual Aid, True Equity, and Defunding SPD

by Luna Reyna

One-quarter of the entire 2020 Seattle city budget was allocated to the Seattle Police Department (SPD). While last summer’s protests over anti-Black police violence and calls to defund the police resulted in an 18% decrease in the 2021 SPD budget, $364 million was still allocated to SPD. This is an affront to community-led organizations like King County Equity Now (KCEN) and so many others who have been providing much-needed community support and succeeding in creating real public safety

KCEN, which started as an informal coalition of over 60 Black-led community organizations like Africatown Community Landtrust, Community Passageways, and Blaq Elephant Party, is now a formal, pro-Black 501(c)(4) dedicated to achieving equity for all Black peoples across all measurable metrics, including, wealth, health, land ownership, safety, college matriculation rates, organizational control, and more. 

In the ’70s, the Central District’s population was 75% Black, but as a result of Seattle’s tech boom and resulting gentrification, the CD is now only 15% Black. 

“My family was gentrified from the Central District in 2003,” said TraeAnna Holiday, an organizer with KCEN. “I remember wondering why my family couldn’t stay in our neighborhood. This was our neighborhood; I knew it in and out.” 

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Community Health Centers Work to Address COVID-19 Vaccine Inequity

by Sally James

The State of Washington released a report on  Feb. 10 showing that white people are getting a higher proportion of the limited amount of COVID-19 vaccines than other races and ethnicities in the state.

For Trang Tu, a community activist who cares for her elderly mother — who has dementia and needs 24-hour care — getting a vaccine presented numerous hurdles. Tu eventually got a last-minute tip from a mass vaccination site in Snohomish county, a long drive from her home south of Rainier Beach, and her mother is now vaccinated. “It’s not just limited supply of vaccines itself,” Tu said. “Access is not equal. It favors people who have time, an internet connection, transportation, and a certain language.”

Tu’s mother was able to overcome systemic barriers because, Tu says, “I have some privilege: I have a computer, I have a car, I can do advocacy.” Many other BIPOC people aren’t as fortunate.

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Statewide Pandemic Relief Fund Sets $30M Goal for Vaccine Equity

by Ben Adlin

A statewide partnership of public officials and private groups on Monday, Feb. 15, announced plans to put $30 million toward a new equity initiative intended to boost COVID-19 vaccination rates among Black, Brown, Indigeneous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities and other groups disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

“The goal on this initiative is to raise $15 million to match government dollars around vaccine outreach and education,” said Lilliane Ballesteros, executive director of the Latino Community Fund of Washington. “Now is the time to mobilize our collective resources quickly to those in need.”

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Why Is South King County Dealing With Higher Numbers of COVID-19 Cases Compared to Rest of County?

by Elizabeth Turnbull

While COVID-19 cases have increased in King County since the beginning of the month overall, South King County, one of the most diverse parts of the Seattle area, has recorded disproportionate numbers of cases.

Whereas 3.2% of all tests in King County come back positive for the novel coronavirus, simply looking at the map of positive tests in the county on King County’s Daily COVID-19 Outbreak Summary webpage (you must choose the “Geography tab” in the dashboard to view the map) will show you that these numbers increase the more you travel south. For example, overall positivity rates in Auburn stand at 8.4% and of individuals tested at the Auburn testing site at 2701 C Sreet Southwest, 12.8% of tests have come back positive since Sept. 1, according to a Seattle Times article.

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Essential Workers — Including Those in Health Care — Hit Hard by COVID-19 and Environmental Health Threats

by Jadenne Cabahug

Edna Cortez has worked as a registered nurse at Seattle Children’s Hospital for the past 30 years — and she received a commemorative pin to mark the occasion. Cortez wears another pin these days during the pandemic: she places a button with a picture of her face on top of her scrub hat to help her young patients feel less afraid. 

She usually keeps her face covered while working, like all nurses do during the pandemic. Cortez has to wear full personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks, goggles, face shields, and gowns. Not everyone has access to the same equipment, or the right kind.

Cortez is among the state’s essential workers — in health care and other professions  — who have been put at higher risk from COVID-19 and other environmental health factors in 2020.

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