by Susan Fried
Over seven hundred people bought tickets for Wa Na Wari’s inaugural “Walk the Block” fundraising event on Saturday, Oct. 16. Attendees were treated to a feast of visual art, music, dance, food, and drinks.
Upon arriving at the event, participants were given maps, chose custom racing bibs with a variety of words and slogans, and then set off on a .08 mile walk through the Central District neighborhood. During “Walk the Block,” they could find work by artists Inye Wokoma, Chloe King, and Kimisha Turner. There were also video pieces by Martine Syms, Sable Elyse Smith, and the Shelf Life Community Story Project, as well as live music by the Gary Hammon Band. Three blocks away, in front of the Garfield Community Center, there were dance performances by Northwest Tap Connection and the Bring Us Collective, with jazz trumpeter Owuor Arunga playing in between performances. There were 15 stops along the way.
Elisheba Johnson, co-founder of Wa Na Wari, told the Emerald that the event was “a total success.”
Continue reading PHOTO ESSAY: Rediscovering the Central District With Wa Na Wari’s ‘Walk the Block’
by Susan Fried
Judkins Park, located in the heart of Seattle’s Central District (CD), is the home field of the CD Panthers football team and cheer squad, and even though many of the player’s families no longer live in the CD, they come to Judkins three times a week for practice and to play their home games. It is their little piece of the CD.
On Saturday, Sept. 25, with a few minutes left in the 9U team’s game, shots were fired on a street adjacent to the field ending what was supposed to be a Saturday celebrating grandparents. The game abruptly ended and the two games scheduled for the 11U and 13U teams were cancelled. It was a traumatic event for the kids and their families.
Continue reading CD Panthers Celebrate 25 Years of Impacting the Community
by Susan Fried
A huge mural with the words “Punk Rock Flea Market” — painted in vibrant colors on the exterior wall of the future location of the Unicorn Bar in White Center — greeted the hundreds of people who came to shop at the flea market over the weekend of Sept. 18–19. The event, which has been held twice yearly since its inception 16 years ago, was forced to cancel in 2020 because of COVID-19. This year’s event was held outside in a parking lot, and attendees were required to wear masks.
That didn’t stop hundreds of people from enjoying a weekend wandering through stalls containing original art, vintage clothing, fun tchotchkes, collectables, records, and handmade goods. The event also featured the Bottoms Up Bar and rotating DJs spinning records throughout the weekend.
A brief rain storm on Saturday dampened the enthusiasm a little, but a beautiful sunny Sunday brought out the shoppers. Artist Mason Heckett said the rain on Saturday had been a little disruptive but that overall business had been good. This was his first time participating in the Punk Rock Flea Market, but he said he participates regularly in the South Park Swap Meet (aka SPASM), which happens the second Saturday of every month in South Park and is also run by Punk Rock Flea Market Seattle. He said he was grateful to the organization for giving artists like himself an opportunity to sell their creations.
Punk Rock Flea Market Seattle started in 2005 as a fundraiser for the Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI), and they continue to contribute to LIHI after every market.
Continue reading PHOTO ESSAY: Punk Rock Flea Market Returns After Pandemic Hiatus
by Susan Fried
The 2021 Umoja Fest Day of Unity parade and festival drew hundreds of people to Jimi Hendrix Park on Aug. 7 for a day of celebrating Black entrepreneurship, music, and art. For more than 50 years Seattle’s Black community has held a summer festival. Starting in 1952, it was called the East Madison Mardi Gras, later transforming into the Pacific Northwest Black Community Festival, and in 1997 it became the Umoja Fest African Heritage Festival.
This year’s event featured a Black Unity march from 23rd Avenue and East Union Street to Jimi Hendrix Park; a children’s village; and dozens of music and dance performances by artists like Zach Bruce, April Shantae, Johnny Grant, Kutt ’N’ Up, and Skye Dior. Vendors sold food, beverages, art, household items, and clothing. Local nonprofits such as the Harriet Tubman Center for Health and Freedom, the African Americans Reach and Teach Health Ministry (AARTH), Feed the People, and the A. Philip Randolph Institute had booths to spread the word about their organization’s missions in the community.
Wyking Garrett, the president and CEO of Africatown Community Land Trust, grew up in the Central District and remembers the Black community festivals through the years and how important they were. He spoke to the crowd this year about celebrating Black love: “What I need us to really do is change the vibration; we got to change the frequency we have to tune in and unify with Black love in our community,” he said. “Tupac said Thug Life stood for ‘the hate u give little infants f***s everybody.’ The opposite of that is, if we give the love to our children properly, we got to put our families back together because that’s where it starts. Then we put our communities, which is just a family of families, and then we put the love back in it, that’s what I want to focus on.”
Continue reading PHOTO ESSAY: Umoja Fest 2021 Brings the Community Together
by Susan Fried
Led by Indigenous Sisters Resistance, Indigenous Peoples’ Day rally attendees sang, “today is for us, Indigenous people, rise up, sing loud, celebrate and be proud,” their words ringing through Westlake Park on Oct. 14.
Continue reading In Photos: Indigenous Peoples’ Day Celebrates Worldwide Indigenous Cultures and Heritage