Tag Archives: Social Justice

Know Your Role

by Jasmine M. Pulido

I should be out there.

But I can’t.

When I read about protests in the 1960s in my history class, I always imagined that I would’ve been out there if I had been alive then. My values were clear, and I would fight for them alongside my peers. Chained to something, chanting loudly or getting arrested. No hesitation, no question, no fear.

I didn’t think that there would be a moment 60 years later, when we would need to fight for these same rights. Again. Nor did I think it would happen in the middle of a pandemic with two young kids and an immunocompromised husband. As a result, we’ve been in pretty intense quarantine and will continue to be until the end of Phase 4.

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POETRY: The streets are crying.

by Cecilia Erin Walsh 

daily burials without memorial. selective testing. 
arrogance and stupidity passing for leadership.
seclusion. isolation. hunger. masks on every face. 
furtive movements across the city. essential travel only. 
certain scarcity. overcrowded hospitals. 
layoffs. domestic violence and suicide rise. 
mental health crisis phone lines ring incessantly. 

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OPINION: The Immigration Smokescreen

by Rich Stolz

We are living in an unprecedented crisis. We know this moment calls on all of us to go all in for all of us so that we can all be safe and healthy. And we also know that COVID-19 is harming black and brown communities, including immigrants, at higher rates, due to deep underlying inequities in our society. 

An unprecedented crisis calls for competent leadership, especially in the White House. Unfortunately, that’s something we don’t have. A confusing and confused response to the pandemic has made the crisis worse, and the president is agitating for states to reopen their economies in a manner that contradicts his own talking points. 

Enter the immigration ban.

Anyone who uses this health crisis to divide Americans and scapegoat immigrants undermines everything we need to do to keep each other safe in the face of this pandemic. Politicians like Donald Trump are blowing a smokescreen to divert attention from their own failures by whipping up resentment and fear of immigrants, scapegoating our communities with xenophobic attacks. Unfortunately, these policies have real consequences.

The new ‘immigration ban’ signed by the president last week restricts immigrant visas and green cards to folks abroad who wish to immigrate to the U.S. The ban is initially set for 60 days, and it may be extended. This ban on legal immigration follows on the administration’s decision to halt refugee resettlement earlier in the crisis. And it follows on three years of policy changes that have eviscerated our asylum system.

There are some exceptions to the ban, including spouses and children of U.S. Citizens, physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals and wealthy immigrant investors. But that’s no solace for the tens of thousands U.S. citizens and permanent residents who are separated from their loved ones overseas and must now put their plans to reunite their families on hold.

The administration’s stated reason for the ban is to reduce strain to the healthcare market, protect the American worker, and to help folks retain their jobs, especially African Americans, the disabled, and lower income workers at the margins. But we know that’s a false narrative.

Immigration hardliners, nativists and xenophobes are using this crisis to enact policies they’ve sought to implement for years, and the president is seeking to shore up support in his nativist base to counter his falling poll numbers. Once again, Trump is attempting to divide black and brown voters and voters on the margin against immigrants by recycling age-old stereotypes about immigrants stealing jobs. But that’s not true, and jobs are not a zero-sum game. Adding new residents to our country creates jobs, and economic models show that time and again. The rampant inequality that Trump’s policies are fueling is what’s keeping communities down. 

The very people that Trump is now excluding are the same people serving all of us as “essential workers.” It’s a loaded term. Many of them are immigrant and native-born workers, typically working on an hourly basis or in the fields, in warehouses or in grocery stores. Because they can’t afford not to work, they are risking exposure to COVID-19 in order to minimize the impact of the crisis on those of us who can work from home. These workers are the frontline heroes we need right now, and it’s up to us to make sure we have their back.

Let’s make sure we don’t fall for the smokescreen. This is a time to come together across the differences too often used to divide us. We all need to stay healthy and safe. We all need to call blatantly racist and xenophobic attacks on our communities what they are when we see them. We will need each other to make it through the economic crisis we’re in. And we’ll need to draw on all of us to muster the vision we’ll need to shape a recovery toward a more resilient, more equitable economy.

Rich Stolz has been OneAmerica’s executive director since 2012. Born in Seoul, South Korea, he understands the need to organize, advocate and engage on behalf of immigrants and their families. He has dedicated his career to social justice and immigrant rights and was honored by President Obama as a Cesar Chavez Champion for Change. Follow him on Twitter @rstolz11.

Featured image: Alisdare Hickson (licensed by Creative Commons)

Refuge Outdoor Festival Fosters Healing and Community for People of Color

by Kimberly Goode

Chevon Powell’s love for the outdoors started at a young age. At three years old, she stepped onto the grounds at Camp Janus and knew she had discovered a place unlike any other in her life. Based in Houston, this camp is for burn survivors. And for Powell, it was a refuge. She was surrounded by people who looked like her and was free from the stares her scars regularly attracted.

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Pecha Kucha — 20 Frames at 20 Seconds to Hold Life-Changing Conversations

by Carla Bell

Prompted by the state murder of Mike Brown in 2014, and the public outcry and protests that followed, Pecha Kucha Seattle, in collaboration with Northwest African American Museum and the Facebook group Seattle People of Color Salon, produced Pecha Kucha Vol. 56, #Ferguson, gathering hundreds of Seattleites to pour out their hearts. Pecha Kucha Vol. 66 #BlackLivesMatter: The Movement for Black Lives, held at Seattle University in 2015, was a time to “explore the past, present and future impact of the movement in Seattle, across the United States, and around the world.”

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OPINION: Seattle Needs a Green New Deal

by James Williams

At Got Green, we feel the energy and national conversation sparked by the Green New Deal as proposed by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a good thing. In this moment, it is possible to make societal change on a massive scale. Climate Change — and the fact we must restructure our lives to survive impending environmental disasters — has captured the imagination across generations. All of this is a really good thing.

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OPINION: Necromancers’ construction of present society

by Villainus

I want to talk about one understanding of sorcery to address our world’s situation. When I say sorcery, I mean it as early science, so as not to be confused with mysticism. For example, alchemy is not just turning lead to gold (though we are now very close to that), it also was involved with water purification — more chemistry than mysticism. Or pharmacia, which again was once considered sorcery but was just the science of medicines and herbs.

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‘Black Among Other Things’ Installation Reflects on Racial Insensitivity of Local Journalist

Alexis Taylor’s multi-media installation explores personal history and her experience as a black woman and includes audio recording of Seattle Times Columnist Nicole Brodeur asking to touch her hair

by Jessie McKenna

When Alexis Taylor, a senior at Seattle University, got to work on an independent study project during her last year at Seattle University, the outcome was as much a surprise to her as it was to her teachers.

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