by Carolyn Bick
By the time the Washington State Patrol officers dropped her off in the parking lot of the Motel 6 in Sea-Tac on the afternoon of Jan. 18, Monsieree had been sitting in the patrol car for at least two hours, hands shackled behind her body, as the officers drove her up and down I-5, fruitlessly trying to find a jail within King County limits that would accept her despite current COVID-19 booking protocols. Monsieree and at least 11 others had been arrested a few hours earlier, just under the Yesler Overpass on I-5 near downtown Seattle. It was Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and the group had been carrying out a peaceful protest action centered around painting a Black Lives Matter mural and the names of Black people who lost their lives in police encounters on both the roadway itself and the wall beneath the overpass respectively. This action also briefly shut down the highway.
Continue reading ‘Just Drive Them Around for a Bit’: WSP Officers May Have Violated Protestors’ First Amendment Rights on MLK Day
by Alexis Mburu
Three years ago, if you were to ask me what the Black Lives Matter movement meant to me, I’d have given what I would now consider a lackluster answer. This is because three years ago, I was a seventh grader with a limited grasp on my identity and the world around me. Now, Black Lives Matter is a movement that holds so much weight it’s hard to imagine a time when I was so inattentive.
The 2017/2018 school year was the first year I participated in a Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action at my school in Tukwila, Washington, and it felt like a whisper. There was no energy or enthusiasm by the teachers I had because they were just doing what they were told, going through the motions with slides that were provided by anti-racist teachers with real passion, ones who educated and liberated their students all year round — teachers who saw the necessity in decolonizing the education system one step at a time, and, for the most part, knew how to. I was lucky enough to know such a teacher: Erin Herda, who has been teaching ethnic studies for years, despite endless push-back.
Unfortunately, the experience of only getting to have the necessary conversations, read the important books, and be taught true history if you have the right teachers is all too common.
Continue reading Why We Need Black Lives Matter at School in 2021 — and How to Get Involved
by Elizabeth Turnbull
Over a week after Dolal Idd was fatally shot by police in Minneapolis, roughly 150 people gathered in front of the Tukwila Library on Sunday, Jan. 10, to honor the Somali American man’s life and to call for systemic change.
Many speakers mourned the loss of another Black life and spoke to the need for nationwide action on policing. Shukri Olow, a candidate for King County Council District 5, which encompasses some of South Seattle, spoke as a member of the Somali-Muslim community and as a mother herself.
“When I heard about what happened to Dolal, I couldn’t help but feel the pain of his mother, who ran away from the civil war to find a safe environment for her children,” Olow said. “I want you to think about fleeing a conflict … coming to safe shores only to have your child killed by a system that you do not understand, a system that does not see our humanity.”
Continue reading Vigil for Dolal Idd in Tukwila Shows Solidarity for Somali-Muslim Community and Demands Change
by Ari Robin McKenna
A report launched Tuesday, Dec. 8, outlines how to scale up multilingual education to meet the dire need for it in South King County. Called Our Rising Voices: A Call to Action to Support Our Multilingual Students, the study was the result of a year-long collaboration between the Road Map Project, the Community Center for Education Results, and One America.
Looking at data from public schools within the so-called “Road Map Project region” of South Seattle, Tukwila, Renton, Highline, Kent, Federal Way, and Auburn, the report concludes that 42% of students are English learners at some point during their K-12 education. Yet, only 8% of teachers in that region are endorsed in English Language Learning (ELL), and a mere 0.4% of teachers are endorsed in Bilingual Education. This systemic failure to adequately serve almost half the students in this region is especially troubling given how many English learners there are in this state. At the Zoom launch of this report, Veronica Gallardo, the state’s assistant superintendent of Schools and Systems Improvements — and a long time member of Road Map Project’s English Language Learners Work Group — cited the fact that Washington has the nation’s seventh largest English learner (EL) population and the second largest migrant population in the nation. Gallardo said, “The data makes the need for this work undeniable.”
Continue reading Study Indicates Stark Need for a South King County Paradigm Shift on Multilingual Education
by Carolyn Bick
In an effort to better support people who either are or may be infected with the novel coronavirus who would not be able to quarantine themselves at home without risking financial hardship, Public Health – Seattle & King County will be rolling out a financial support program for people infected with the novel coronavirus.
The program has not yet been formally announced, but Public Health – Seattle & King County (PHSKC) Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin briefly talked about it in a press conference on Nov. 6, as he was answering the Emerald’s question about the driving factors behind the rapid and concerning rise in COVID-19 cases in South King County, and how — aside from encouraging behavior modification — PHSKC plans to try to combat this rise.
Continue reading As COVID-19 Cases Skyrocket in South King County, PHSKC Plans to Unveil New Financial Relief Program
by Elizabeth Turnbull
Earlier this month eight woman-owned businesses opened in the new Spice Bridge Food Hall in the Tukwila Village development, providing the public with food from Cambodia, Kenya, Afghanistan, and the Philippines, among many other countries.
Continue reading Food Hall Opens in Tukwila Offering Cuisine From Throughout the World
by Erica C. Barnett
(This article was originally published on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement)
Several cities in South King County, including Renton, Tukwila, Auburn, and Kent, are poised to adopt a local 0.1-cent sales tax for affordable housing, using authority the state legislature granted to city and county councils earlier this year. If the taxes pass, they would effectively supplant those cities’ contribution to a countywide sales tax proposed by King County Executive Dow Constantine, which would pay for permanent supportive housing for chronically homeless people in all parts of the county. Renton and Tukwila will consider their local taxes on Monday; the other cities are reportedly deciding whether and when to propose local taxes of their own.
Continue reading Suburban Cities Craft Local Plans that Would Supplant County Executive’s Homeless Housing Tax
by Ben Adlin
As more South Seattle small businesses reopen amid the ongoing pandemic, a new program led by a local chamber of commerce wants to ensure that customers and employees feel as safe as possible.
The Seattle Southside Chamber of Commerce last week announced the launch of the “Southside Promise” campaign, an effort to equip local businesses with information and guidance to safely reopen. The program, a partnership with the City of Tukwila, provides face masks and other personal protective equipment and offers a reopening toolkit — essentially an in-depth slideshow presentation — aimed at helping businesses navigate the sometimes dizzying process of reopening.
Continue reading South Seattle Businesses Have a New Guide on the Road to Reopening
by Carolyn Bick
It’s sunny, and beginning to get warm on an afternoon in early May, when people start to line up outside the White Center Food Bank. Clad in masks, they patiently wait an adequate distance from each other to choose food the National Guard is helping food bank workers distribute.
This outdoor model is the latest iteration of food service the food bank has tried, Associate Executive Director Carmen Smith said. So far, it’s also the most successful, she said. Usually, the food bank operates in a grocery store model, which allows patrons the freedom to choose their own items, and mitigate the stigma associated with needing to use a food bank. But once the novel coronavirus pandemic hit the state, Smith and her fellow food bank employees found that the inside of the food bank was just too small to allow for safe social distancing practices. Having volunteers shop for the patrons’ food was also a no-go, because it’s just too hard to shop for someone else, Smith said.
Continue reading South King County Food Banks Face Severe Shortages — And There’s No End in Sight
by Hannah Myrick
In a small office along Tukwila International Boulevard, Tawfik Maudah is preparing to move his business for the second time in less than a month.
Maudah’s car dealership, grocery stores, hair salons, and a travel company were among the 16 majority-East-African-owned businesses who scattered across Tukwila to make way for a new justice center as a part of Tukwila’s larger public safety plan. The businesses signed settlements with the city of Tukwila requiring them to relocate from their former community center on March 31.
Continue reading Tukwila Businesses Scatter as Justice Center Construction Begins