by Sharon Maeda
“Daydreaming isn’t allowed in the fast lane. So Bob Shimabukuro has mostly lived life on side streets, taking a detour now and again to help other people along the way.”
That’s how former Seattle Times columnist Jerry Large captured the essence of Bob in 1994. To that I would add: Renaissance Man. In addition to being a writer and a consummate family man, Bob was also an artist, chef, community activist/leader, feminist, furniture designer/woodworker, Hawai‘i-style philosopher, and so much more.
Continue reading Bob Shimabukuro: Side Street Renaissance Man (August 4, 1945-March 29, 2021)
by Sharon Maeda
Seattle lost a music icon with the passing of Deems Tsutakawa in late February. Social media has been full of comments and memories of the jazz pianist — stretching across the country from Hawaiʻi to Florida as well as locally. While Deems lived in South Seattle his entire life, his fans often became his friends, and they span the world.
Deems started piano lessons at age five and four years later he won the Washington State Music Teachers Association’s Annual Award. He never looked back. I remember a conversation when he was a young adult passionate about his music and determined it would be his career. Years later we laughed at how wrong I had been to suggest that he might consider a back-up means of income.
Continue reading Remembering Seattle Jazz Pianist Deems Tsutakawa, Whose Music and Life Touched Many
by Judge Anita Crawford-Willis
The Honorable Charles V. Johnson was among the many civil rights leaders of our times whose path breaking journey ensured transformative change. He was an extraordinary eyewitness to history, determined to forge a new pathway for Washingtonians. Judge Johnson is distinguished by one transcendent theme: He was a servant leader with an overwhelming sense of duty to work for equality of opportunity and racial justice through the rule of law.
Judge Johnson arrived in Seattle in 1954 to attend the University of Washington School of Law. During an interview, he recalled there were just two additional Black students enrolled when he arrived. One of them dropped out after six weeks and the other shortly thereafter. As a result, Johnson was the only Black graduate in his class. Having grown up in the segregated South, and serving our country in a segregated army abroad, law school was the first time he would sit down across from whites to have a conversation, let alone discuss the law.
Continue reading Tribute to a Seattle Civil Rights Legacy: Judge Charles V. Johnson
by Jasmine M. Pulido
She was my mentor.
Not in an ethereal, vague way. But in a literal way. She was assigned to me through the Alphabet Alliance of Color’s summer institute where experienced local QTBIPOC (Queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous, People of Color) community organizers pass down their skills to newer ones. We were prompted to pick our top three choices for mentors and, I’ll be honest, Constance Blakeley wasn’t in my top three. My top pick — an Asian American columnist writing about social justice, culture, and equity with a focus on marginalized communities. I thought the best pick for me would be someone with a similar background, in profession or in identity, or both.
Continue reading In Memory of Constance Blakeley: A Transcestor Too Soon
I couldn’t have been more wrong.