When talking about his run for Renton City Council, Joseph Todd’s voice breaks slightly and wavers. “I’m sorry, I get a little emotional here.”
He recalls George Floyd’s death a year ago, which sparked a worldwide racial reckoning.
“When we saw a man get murdered in daylight, it begins to bring home, for real, for real, that these systems are trying to kill you,” Todd said. “So that’s why when we created the Renton Residents for Change, it was really all about, ‘We have to get ahead of this.’”
After over a year of pushing through the pandemic, state and county health officials are hopeful about declining COVID-19 cases and hospitalization rates. But at the same time, significant pockets of Washington State and King County residents remain unvaccinated as restrictions are set to be lifted statewide next week.
“We still have people that have not been vaccinated, we still have people who are unprotected, and we still have people that are going to be at risk for COVID-19,” said Dr. Umair Shah, the Washington Secretary of Health at a press conference on Wednesday, June 23. “We want to make sure that that message of vaccination continues to be there.”
We are writing with enthusiastic support for the renewal of the Best Starts for Kids (BSK) levy and encouraging you to vote to approve the levy this August. As longtime advocates for children, youth, and families, we are so thankful to see the growing momentum and commitment to be a community that truly values young people and works to ensure that every child is happy, healthy, safe, and thriving!
Babies who were born the year BSK originally passed are just now entering school. The services they received as babies — like home visits, Play-and-Learn groups, information and support for parents and caregivers, and more — helped to prepare them and their families to enter school ready to learn and thrive.
A round-up of news and announcements we don’t want to get lost in the fast-churning news cycle!
Seattle Public Library Summer of Learning + Branches Reopen
This week, The Seattle Public Library (SPL) reopened the doors of the Central Library, as well as several branches so crucial to people in the South End: the Columbia Branch in Columbia City, the International District/Chinatown Branch, and the South Park Branch. All of these libraries reopened this week, allowing patrons once again to browse the shelves, use Wi-Fi, place holds, speak with librarians, or sit and read the latest newspapers and magazines. In addition, the library system has revised opening-hour procedures and will no longer close for a cleaning/sanitization break mid-day. You can find all library hours online at SPL.org. Library patrons must still practice physical distancing and wear masks at all SPL branches.
by Susan Fried, Ronnie Estoque, and Maile Anderson
From marching, dance, and roller skating, to meditation, music, and a restaurant homecoming, South Seattle marked the first federally recognized Juneteenth 2021 with beautiful spirit and joy. Emerald photographers hit the streets on Saturday to capture some of the many happenings around the South End. Among them: In the morning, “No Healing, No Peace!” A Walking Meditation for Black Liberation was held at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park and Jackson’s Catfish Corner celebrated their grand opening and return to the Central District. In the afternoon, It Takes a Village Juneteenth Festival took place in Othello Park while KCEN’s annual Juneteenth Freedom Celebration marched from 22nd Avenue and Madison Street to Jimi Hendrix Park. Black Girls Roller Skate hosted a Juneteenth roller skating party at Judkins Park and, in the evening, Wa Na Wari wrapped up the day at their Juneteenth Outdoor Celebration with live music.
This Saturday, June 12, the local cultural hub, Black and Tan Hall (B & T Hall), will be hosting their Hall-i-Day party. Originally created as an event that promotes community businesses and supports local artists during the winter holiday season, B & T Hall is transitioning it to a seasonal event.
The Filipino Community of Seattle (FCS) have had a vision for the Filipino Community Village (FCV) for over 10 years and have been the drivers steering the development to final fruition this summer. Four years ago, a partnership between Beacon Development Group and the FCS helped speed up the dream of providing 95 affordable apartment homes for low-income seniors in the local South Seattle area. Beacon Development Group is an affordable housing consulting firm that works with nonprofits and housing authorities and is a subsidiary of HumanGood.
“The members of the Filipino Community of Seattle have worked tirelessly to advocate for this project with elected officials at the state and local levels to stress the importance of this project and its impact not only for the Filipino community but South Seattle/Rainier Valley as a whole,” FCS Executive Director Agnes Navarro said.
All across Southeast Seattle this week, elementary students have been hopping, dancing, stretching, and occasionally even crab-walking as part of a fundraiser for local schools. What makes the event unique, however, is how the money will be divided: For the first time, participating schools will pool the proceeds and share in them equally.
The epigraph of Reagan Jackson’s new book, Still Here: A South End Mixtape From an Unexpected Journalist, comes from the great Audre Lorde: “If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.” It’s an auspicious opening to an impressive collection of some of Jackson’s most important journalism over the past 10 years; writing for which she has won multiple awards and distinctions, including the 2016 Seattle Globalist Globie Award Journalist of the Year and a 2020 Distinguished Visiting Writer at Seattle University. It’s an ethos that the writing consistently embodies.