Tag Archives: Real Change

How Racial Perceptions Can Dictate Success of Seattle’s Radical Candidates

by Hannah Krieg

(This article was originally published by Real Change News and has been reprinted with permission.)


“I think I’m going to do this,” Nicole Thomas-Kennedy said to public defender Sadé Smith, a friend and former colleague, when she decided to run for Seattle city attorney as an abolitionist. “Are you sure you don’t want to do it?”

Thomas-Kennedy, who is white, wanted to double-check. She later told Real Change, “If there was a BIPOC abolitionist running for city attorney, I probably would never have entered the race.”

It was the day of the filing deadline for the 2021 primary when political newcomer Thomas-Kennedy decided to challenge 12-year incumbent Pete Holmes.

Continue reading How Racial Perceptions Can Dictate Success of Seattle’s Radical Candidates

OPINION: National Products Inc. Pumps Environmental Hazards Into South Park Daily

by Cedar Bushue

(This article originally appeared on Real Change and has been reprinted under an agreement.)


I am a long-term resident of South Park. My family and I have had a home here for three generations. South Park is a small neighborhood in South Seattle, hemmed in by the Duwamish and a couple of highway spurs. It is a residential neighborhood but also home to many industries for Seattle and King County. Our life expectancy here is 8+ years less than Seattle as a whole, according to a 2013 study funded by the Environmental Protection Agency. Because it is a small, minority-majority neighborhood without resources, we are home to a transfer station, many homeless encampments, and many industrial areas.

National Products Incorporated (NPI) is a local company that started in someone’s garage but has grown to overtake a great deal of land in the heart of the neighborhood, displacing many neighbors as well as several stately trees that provided wildlife habitat and shade for the human inhabitants. Incidentally, this facility is directly across from one of the main neighborhood parks.

Because South Park is small and its residents don’t make a fuss, companies like NPI can pretty much do whatever they want while the County willingly ignores or happily rubber stamps every expansion plan. 

Continue reading OPINION: National Products Inc. Pumps Environmental Hazards Into South Park Daily

‘Thriving Peoples, Thriving Places’: Pop Art Campaign Honors the Contributions of Indigenous Women to Global Biodiversity

by Nia Tero

(This article originally appeared on Real Change and has been reprinted under an agreement.)


We are in a critical moment. In the midst of an ongoing global pandemic that is leaving no family untouched, compounded by increasingly extreme weather events linked to climate change, a unique global art project is shining a light on voices essential to the ecological solutions and collective healing we seek: Indigenous women.

“Thriving Peoples, Thriving Places” is a collaboration between two Seattle-based not-for-profit organizations — Indigenous-focused Nia Tero and design lab Amplifier — launching on International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, which is Aug. 9. The global exhibit includes six original portraits commissioned from Washington, D.C.-based artist and illustrator Tracie Ching. The art will be available digitally as well as at public art events in cities, including Seattle, Washington, D.C., New York City, São Paulo, and London. The project celebrates Indigenous women who have acted as stewards of biodiversity across Earth and prompts action amongst an engaged global audience.

The nine Indigenous women at the center of this project are robust examples of real action we can take to strive for the health and future of the planet. They are from communities spanning the globe, from the Philippines and New Zealand, to the Brazilian Amazon to Scandinavia, to the global north, embodying Indigenous experience while carrying generational knowledge and inherited dedication:

Continue reading ‘Thriving Peoples, Thriving Places’: Pop Art Campaign Honors the Contributions of Indigenous Women to Global Biodiversity

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

A History of Juneteenth

by Samira George

(This article was originally published by Real Change and has been reprinted with permission.)


The Establishment

Also called Jubilee Day, Freedom Day, and Emancipation Day, June 19 has come to commemorate the end of U.S. slavery and is most known as Juneteenth.

After President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, it took several years for enslavement to end in the most remote Confederate state, Texas.

It is a lesser-known fact that the emancipation applied only to the Confederate states — the 11 states that seceded from the Union in a states’ rights plea to ensure they could keep Black people as slaves.

The last place in the Confederacy still enslaving Black people was Galveston, Texas, where Confederate soldiers held a firm grip. Some historians theorize that the news of emancipation was either withheld or Confederate soldiers with guns forced continued enslavement.

On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers brought the news to enslaved Black Texans that they could go free. Newly freed Black Americans celebrated their liberation on that very June 19 in 1865. Since that day, the tradition has grown and includes Black community gatherings and political rallies.

Yet, while Juneteenth is a major historical event in African American history, it has largely been excluded from classroom history books and the American education system as a whole.

“We’re still feeling the after effects of Black codes, Jim Crow, and exclusionary laws. That hasn’t changed for us,” Washington State Rep. Melanie Morgan said. “I’m excited that this will be a holiday that will start educating people and educating our youth.”

Continue reading A History of Juneteenth

‘Minor Feelings’ Reckons With Asian American Consciousness in a Major Way

by May Huang

(This article was previously published by Real Change and has been reprinted with permission.)


On the cover of Cathy Park Hong’s Minor Feelings, aptly subtitled “An Asian American Reckoning,” flames dance around the uppercase title of the book. An arresting design, the cover art suggests danger, drama, and daring — three elements that are unapologetically present in this essential interrogation on race and writing.

Minor Feelings is a collection of seven essays that explore a question of rising importance: What place do Asian Americans occupy in America? On the one hand, Asians are often called the model minority, considered “next in line to be white.” Asians as a whole are more economically privileged than other minority groups in the U.S. and are often high-achieving students and employees. But events in recent history, from the 1992 LA riots that took place in K-town to the 2017 incident where the Vietnamese doctor David Dao was forcibly dragged off a United Airlines flight, suggest that Asians are more likely in line to “disappear” — to assimilate to or be swallowed up by the very system of capitalism that exploits them. Asian Americans, who have even been told that they don’t “count” as minorities anymore, are still often made to feel inadequate — if not by others, then by themselves.

“Not enough has been said about the self-hating Asian,” writes Hong. This self-hatred, which foments when Asians see themselves through the lens of white people, is among the “minor feelings” discussed in the book, along with emotions such as ingratitude, hostility, and jealousy. The term describes the “cognitive dissonance” that Asian Americans feel when they are gaslighted by American optimism, as well as the negative emotions they are “accused of having” when they confront their racialized reality. Reading the book, I felt seen; I wouldn’t be surprised if many AAPI readers realized that “minor feelings” is a term we have been hoping to come across for a long time.

Continue reading ‘Minor Feelings’ Reckons With Asian American Consciousness in a Major Way

City Finally Funds Street Sinks Six Months After Funding From City Council

by Erica C. Barnett

(This article was previously published at PubliCola and has been reprinted with permission.)


Six months after the City Council allocated $100,000 to “develop and implement a publicly accessible sink program that utilizes the Street Sink style handwashing station model developed by the Clean Hands Collective,” Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) has finally chosen two vendors to receive the money.

Slightly more than half, $60,000, will go to the Clean Hands Collective, an organization founded by Real Change that includes landscape architects and public health experts; the rest, $40,000, will go to Seattle Makers, a South Lake Union “makerspace” that designed a prototype “handwashing station” at an estimated cost of $7,250 per unit — about 10 times the price of Clean Hands’ Street Sink. According to Seattle Makers’ website, the City reached out to them to design the sink.

Tiffani McCoy, the advocacy director at Real Change, said she thinks “we can easily put up 45 sinks for the $60,000,” assuming it will cost about $10,000 to roll out the program — a process that will include building and maintaining the sinks as well as finding new locations for many of them.

Continue reading City Finally Funds Street Sinks Six Months After Funding From City Council

Homeless Advocates Challenge ‘Compassion Seattle’ Initiative

by Erica C. Barnett

(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)


Advocates for people experiencing homelessness challenged the ballot title for the “Compassion Seattle” initiative in King County Superior Court on Thursday, arguing that the short description of the proposal — which is what City of Seattle voters would see on their ballots in November — is inaccurate and “prejudicial” because it implies that the measure would guarantee new funding for housing and homeless services when it does not, among other reasons.

Continue reading Homeless Advocates Challenge ‘Compassion Seattle’ Initiative

In Tacoma, an ICE Detainee’s Hunger Strike Tops 100 Days

by Paula Cornell

(This article was originally printed by Real Change News and has been reprinted with permission.)


Advocates say that on March 1, Victor Fonseca, a detainee at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Northwest Processing Center — formerly known as the Northwest Detention Center but rebranded — reached his 100th day of a hunger strike in protest of COVID-19 policies. 

Fonseca, 39, who has been in the United States for 20 years and hails from Venezuela, was picked up by ICE for a crime committed two years ago in Salt Lake City. Suffering from arthritis and on medication that lowers his immune system, Fonseca began a hunger strike in protest of the poor protection for the medically vulnerable in the face of the pandemic. 

Continue reading In Tacoma, an ICE Detainee’s Hunger Strike Tops 100 Days

You Have the Right to Remain Silenced

The Emerald and Real Change gathered stories of local journalists covering this summer’s antiracist protests.

by Marcus Harrison Green, Lee Nacozy, Mark White, Kamna Shastri and Ashley Archibald


Editor’s Note: Local, trusted journalism is crucial to keep us informed and connected. 

We believe in the power of journalism to shift perspectives, speak truth to power, and shine a light in the darkest corners. 

And the South Seattle Emerald is proud to be part of a community of journalists, working to elevate the voices of our communities and reveal truth. This week, we’re launching an exciting new partnership with longtime friends of the newsroom, Real Change Continue reading You Have the Right to Remain Silenced