As the days finally warm up and the summer months are in full swing, various programs across the city are helping to provide positive activities for youth and families to make the summer both more enjoyable and safer. Here are some of the programs and activities available to South End youth this summer.
This Saturday, June 11, the 2nd Annual Father’s Day Kick Back will be taking place at Rainier Beach Community Center and will feature a kickball game between youth and adult attendees. The event will be providing free food and live music from local DJs, family vision boards, and table discussions and share-outs to encourage conversations around learning more about the importance of understanding family dynamics.
Following an early afternoon shooting in October 2020, where almost 70 shots were fired and five people were hit with bullets on the dead-end street between Hutchinson Park and Emerson Elementary School, neighbors were on edge.
For some, it set the tone for the nervy pandemic months that followed, the violence echoing across Hutchinson Park and its playground. Community members in this slice of Rainier Beach pined for a playground and park that reflected their hopes for public, communal space to ease the isolation of the pandemic. The Hutchinson Playground is also the playground for Emerson Elementary School students and neighborhood children, a place for play and learning.
This Saturday, Aug. 28, BAZZOOKAFEST will transform Beacon Hill’s Jefferson Park into a free music and film festival featuring a packed all-BIPOC lineup. Musicians include indie folk headliner Kimya Dawson, pop punk artist Haley Graves, alternative rockers King Youngblood, pop singer-songwriter CarLarans, five-piece femme band Razor Clam, dance pop trio Mirrorgloss, and soulful rock band Stereo Sauna. POC members of drag collective BeautyBoiz will perform, and once the music’s over, a screening of short films submitted by BIPOC filmmakers will take place. As if you needed another reason to attend, the event will also feature a pop-up market featuring all Black and POC vendors.
BAZZOOKAFEST is all-ages and open to all. The festival starts at 3 p.m. and goes till about 10 p.m. Masks are required.
A community garden planted at Jimi Hendrix Park by the activist group Black Star Farmers is still growing lettuce, pumpkins, cucumbers, and other produce despite recent demands from Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) that activists remove it. Planted about two months ago, the garden is part of a network of six food plots across the South End designed to draw attention to the need for equitable use of public space, environmental equity, and the lack of access to fresh food near Communities of Color.
On Thursday, July 8, staff from SPR arrived to remove the garden but left the site when several activists surrounded the shed and garden plots.
Marcus Henderson, the creator of Black Star Farmers, was behind the effort to plant a garden in Cal Anderson Park during the Capitol Hill Organize Protest (CHOP) in the summer of 2020. Since then, the group has now expanded its activist efforts throughout the South End.
“The privatization of public space is a huge issue,” Henderson said in an interview with the Emerald. “The system has evolved to prevent mistakes, but now it’s so cumbersome and huge that these spaces are not being utilized because the processes to access them are over-managed. We’ve also very much focused our public spaces on recreation and not actually sustaining our community.”
South Seattle families looking for a safe place to splash around this summer might want to skip Seward Park. Lifeguards abruptly disappeared from the park’s swimming beach on Wednesday, and Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) says staffing shortages mean they’re unlikely to return anytime soon.
Before the change, lifeguards had supervised the beach seven days a week — from noon to 7 p.m. on weekdays and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends. The service began late last month and was set to extend through early September.
Now, however, the park will be without lifeguards completely.
A round-up of news and announcements we don’t want to get lost in the fast-churning news cycle!
Seattle Sees (and Feels) Hottest Day on Record
During the recent heatwave, on Monday, June 28, 2021, the National Weather Service (NWS) station at SeaTac recorded 108 degrees Fahrenheit — the highest temp on record for Seattle.
The highest temp ever recorded in Seattle prior to Sunday, June 27, 2021, which is the day we broke the last record (with a 104-degree reading at SeaTac), was a balmy 103 recorded in 2009. This year, roadway pavement even expanded and buckled in some places due to the heat in Seattle, nearby, and elsewhere in the state, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation.
(This article was previously published at PubliCola and has been reprinted with permission.)
UPDATE: On Thursday afternoon, the ACLU of Washington and Public Defender Association sent a letter to the city attorney’s office, along with several City department leaders, calling the decision to deny CHOP Art’s permit “unconstitutional” and saying “we may need to take emergency legal action” if the city doesn’t act. They say the denial was clearly based on the content of the event itself rather than any legitimate “safety” concerns.
The City, as we reported this morning, has claimed that community members have said that any event commemorating CHOP, including an event celebrating the art of the protest, “would be disturbing or even traumatic” and that they applied a higher-than-usual safety standard because of violence that occurred during last year’s protests.
Original story follows . . .
Mark Anthony doesn’t know why the City declined his permit for an event in Cal Anderson Park after working with his group, CHOP Art, for the last eight months, but he has a theory: “I think that it got up to the mayor’s office, and I think they’re trying to say that CHOP itself is something that’s violent or negative, which isn’t true,” he said.
Over the holiday weekend, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) will close a one-mile section of Lake Washington Boulevard — from Mount Baker Park to Genesee Park — to cars and open it up for pedestrians to recreate freely. The closure will begin “around noon” on Friday, May 28, when SDOT crews put up barriers on the roadway. The road will be open to cars again on the morning of Tuesday, June 1.
“We hear from a lot of people who love it and that it just feels like freedom for them to have this space to walk, bike, walk with strollers, roller skate, scoot on scooters, and just be with the open space of Lake Washington,” said Sara Colling, a senior outreach lead at SDOT. “It just opens up a lot of opportunities. With that, there are tradeoffs, which is why the decision-making process is complicated.”