by Beverly Aarons
“I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown. I really did,” said Lady A during a telephone interview with the South Seattle Emerald. The Seattle-based Black blues singer has been embroiled in a year-long fight over her name with the white country band Lady A (formerly known as Lady Antebellum). “I was not well when this all started and I didn’t know what I was going to do … I was praying and I said, ‘I am going to stop worrying about this. God has a plan …’”
On June 11, 2020, just as explosive Black Lives Matter protests swept the nation, the country band Lady Antebellum announced on Instagram that they were inspired to change their name from Lady Antebellum to Lady A because “… our hearts have been stirred with conviction, our eyes opened wide to the injustices, inequality, and biases Black women and men have always faced and continue to face everyday …” There was just one problem — the Black blues singer Lady A had been performing under that name since the 1980s as reported in the Emerald in 2020.
Continue reading Seattle Blues Singer Lady A Continues Year-Long Battle for Her Name
by Beverly Aarons
Fury-fueled crowds of chanting protestors, clever and insightful picket signs, and collective action to transform or eradicate unjust laws and cultural practices — this is how many see social justice. But when Intiman Theatre began to look for a new home and contemplated how they could advance their mission, they imagined how social justice could be advanced by backstage storytellers — costume designers, lighting designers, sound riggers, set builders, and other technical theatre artists. The answer was a two-year Associate of Arts degree in Technical Theatre for Social Justice (AA-TTSJ) and a partnership with Seattle Central College (SCC). But what does that mean, exactly? Who can participate? And what does social justice in technical theatre really look like? During our telephone interview, Intiman’s Educational Director, Dr. M. Crystal Yingling, gave a sneak peek into the program.
Continue reading A Backstage Look at Intiman’s Technical Theatre and Social Justice AA Degree at Seattle Central College
by Jack Russillo
They’re calling it “Campfire Stories,” and the event will shed light on some of Seattle’s most innovative and ambitious leaders working toward a sustainable and equitable future.
On Tuesday December 8 at 6 p.m. Sustainable Seattle (S2) will host its eleventh Sustainability Leadership Awards, where it will recognize and celebrate the efforts of local experts, organizers, and organizations that have produced exceptional sustainability work in the past year. This year, the free event will take place online. Virtual doors will open at 5:45 p.m. and the event will commence shortly after.
Since 1991, S2 has worked to guide initiatives, create events, assemble a diverse range of community members, and spread awareness from around the Seattle area to activate a world that is safe, accessible, and enduring for all.
Continue reading Sustainable Seattle to Host Virtual Leadership Awards Event to Celebrate and Connect Local Sustainability Experts
by Elizabeth Turnbull
On Tuesday, a small group of King County workers picketed outside of the county’s Chinook Building on 5th Avenue, in order to remind King County Executive Dow Constantine that racism is a public health crisis and to protest King County’s inaction on fighting racism and discrimination in King County workplaces.
The event was not the first time that the Organized Workers for Labor Solidarity (OWLS) sponsored a picket — the group staged a picket and rally in front of the county executive’s downtown office earlier this summer to insist Constantine listen to their repeated demands: that he prevent racist threats and harassment at King County worksites, provide restitution for workers who have filed complaints of racism with no satisfactory resolution, and end budget cuts and lay-offs, among other demands.
Continue reading Picket Reiterates Need for Racial Equity in King County Workplaces
by Bobbe Bridge (former Washington Supreme Court Justice)
As I write, millions — maybe billions — of words have been dedicated in print and orally to the life and legacy of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: the law professor; the lawyer for the ACLU winning landmark rulings at the United States Supreme Court; the federal District Court Judge; the Supreme Court Justice; the Notorious RBG. She became an iconic figure in her later years, an idol in a black robe and lace collars — collars that were carefully selected (like her own words) to signal her meaning.
Continue reading I Became a Judge Because of Ruth Bader Ginsburg
by Charlene Angeles
“How dark is the color of its skin,
As that will define its struggles within
Is it a boy or is it a girl is asked, as if to define its life’s task
Will it stay or will it go, the answer its parents needs to know
From the day that it was born, its very essence society scorned
From birth society coded its future to do
It hacked the code and redirected its future to zoom
Silent it could never be, because it ladies and gentlemen, is me.”
—Justice Grace Helen Whitener, “Claiming Your Identity by Understanding Your Self-Worth.” TEDxPortofSpain.
In mid-April, with a global pandemic raging, the state of Washington quietly made history. Without much fanfare, Governor Jay Inslee appointed Grace Helen Whitener to the state supreme court — and by doing so, made Washington’s highest court likely the most diverse the United States has ever seen.
Continue reading First Black Woman Makes Washington’s Supreme Court Most Diverse Ever
by Beverly Aarons
Each human being is a vast planet filled with uncharted territory. The darkness, the unseen, and the mystery of each of us can intrigue and terrify or even invoke violence, especially if we are living in bodies racialized as Black and even if we are just children. And it’s through this topography that Seattle-based artist Barbara Earl Thomas guides us in “The Geography of Innocence,” (Seattle Art Museum — November 14, 2020–June 13, 2021). The Geography of Innocence is a room-scale exhibit that explores “the colors we’ve assigned to sin … and our preconceived notions of innocence and guilt, assigned in shades of light and dark.” The exhibit will feature cut paper portraits of Black children, capturing their tenderness and vulnerability.
“So when people step into the room, they’ll just be in the Barbara environment,” Thomas said during our telephone interview. “… You are going to be relocated in the geography of my idea.”
Continue reading Barbara Earl Thomas Traverses the Geography of Innocence
by Alex Garland
In these unprecedented times, change that once seemed improbable now appears inevitable to many in Seattle’s activist community who have spent years fighting for systemic and structural transformation. As protests and an expanding awareness of racial injustices endure across the nation, several of them find themselves hopeful of finally leaving behind a status quo that dehumanized and marginalized communities of color, LGBTQIA+ folx, and people with disabilities, to name but a few.
Continue reading Rest, Healing, Celebration, Accountability — Repeat: Persistent Resistance
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.
Continue reading Know Your Role
by Cecilia Erin Walsh
daily burials without memorial. selective testing.
Continue reading POETRY: The streets are crying.
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.