Tag Archives: Voices

Different Kinds of Harm: Why I’ll Think Twice Before Taking Another Self-Defense Class

by Shin Yu Pai


The first thing that I signed up for after getting my second Moderna vaccine was a self-defense workshop for women held outdoors in a public park. While I’ve missed going to the gym and seeing friends play live music, my mind has been on the other ways in which life has changed during the pandemic. My nervous system has been on high alert since the Atlanta spa shootings in March. Concerned friends suggested that I take a class with a women-led dojo that quietly organized a self-defense class based on local demand and word of mouth.

For the past four months, the media has been dominated by images of Asian women, who look like me, under constant attack. We are bludgeoned by hammers, stabbed at bus stops, beaten on the street, punched in the face. Here in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District, a local Japanese high school teacher’s face was bashed beyond recognition by an assailant using rocks hidden inside a sock. 

When I got to my class, our instructor, or cefu, said that 80% of attacks are enacted by someone the victim knows. She said the chances of being attacked with a weapon are also relatively low — it’s those assaults that make it into the news, skewing public perception. I took this information in, thinking of the cell phone and security camera video footage that seems to pop up on my Twitter feed at least once a week, documenting horrible crimes against Asian women. I resisted the urge to raise my hand in protest. 

Continue reading Different Kinds of Harm: Why I’ll Think Twice Before Taking Another Self-Defense Class

OPINION: We Cannot Continue to Ignore Human Trafficking

by Stephanie Bowman and Mar Brettmann


Does Seattle Have Slavery?

After a year of travel restrictions, empty middle seats, and deserted terminals, air travel is back. Airport officials at Sea-Tac International Airport (SEA) are reporting the busiest weekends since the pandemic began as millions of Americans follow through on long-delayed vacations and trips. 

The typical air traveler may be concerned about long security lines or crowded flights. But there is another more sinister danger that airport employees and travelers alike must be alerted to — human trafficking. 

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My Child of Color Is ‘Highly Capable.’ Now What? — Part 3

by Jasmine M. Pulido

In this final article of a three-part series, Jasmine M. Pulido explores the future of programs for students designated highly capable in Seattle Public Schools.


The Future of Highly Capable Cohort: From HCC to HCS

Highly capable services are deemed part of basic education by state law, but the cohort is not. Starting in the 2022–2023 school year, the district’s Advanced Learning Department will begin a six-year plan to phase out the cohort model while gradually phasing in a new model. The recently amended changes to School Board Policy 2190, “Highly Capable Services and Advanced Learning Programs,” convert this accelerated curriculum cohort model (HCC) into an inclusive and accessible service model (Highly Capable Services or HCS) to meet the needs of students at their neighborhood school. In other words, SPS will no longer focus on searching for and separating “gifted students” from the general student population and will, instead, focus on having flexible services available to all students. HCS will still include an accelerated curriculum but can also include services like enriched learning opportunities, classroom pullouts for advanced content on a specific subject, and cluster groups depending on what best meets the individual student’s needs. In short, Highly Capable Cohort as a self-contained setting for advanced students will be completely dismantled and phased out.

Timeline depicting the possible elementary implementation.
Timeline depicting the possible elementary implementation, where the Highly Capable Cohort program would be dismantled and phased out. Sourced from Seattle Public Schools.
Continue reading My Child of Color Is ‘Highly Capable.’ Now What? — Part 3

Seedcast: Getting Back to the Dirt

by Edgar Franks

Indigenous peoples and communities have long used stories to understand the world and our place in it. Seedcast is a story-centered podcast by Nia Tero and a special monthly column produced in partnership with the South Seattle Emerald about nurturing and rooting stories of the Indigenous experience.


I grew up in the 1980s in Texas in a family of migrant farmworkers. We spent half of the year in Texas; the other half of the year we lived in Washington State. When I was about 6 or 7, my mom settled in Skagit County, and I’ve been here pretty much ever since then. At age 10, I joined my family members at work. I grew up in the fields and stayed there for a decade and a half.

These days I spend most of my time serving as the political director for an independent farmworker union called Familias Unidas por La Justicia (FUJ). While most people associate unions with strikes, work stoppages, and picket lines, my day-to-day job at FUJ is based in quieter activities. I mostly talk one-on-one with members of the union, whom I consider to be my bosses, prioritizing my tasks based on what they need. I help with work-related problems but also rent-related or immigration-related issues. Care for our members extends past the fields and into the lives of their families.

In June, for example, we focused on getting ready for berry harvesting season — strawberry, raspberry, and blueberry — going out to sites of employment and letting workers know about their rights. When it’s safe to travel, I also represent the union across the state and country as well as around the world, coordinating initiatives with partners then reporting back to our executive committee and our workers. I enjoy my work and the people I get to work for. I’m lucky.

Continue reading Seedcast: Getting Back to the Dirt

Chino Y Chicano Podcast: Girmay Zahilay

by Enrique Cerna and Matt Chan

A couple of retired guys that spent their careers making television dish on the good, bad, and ridiculousness of life for People of Color in America. They tear apart the news of the week, explore the complexities of race, and talk to people far more interesting than they will ever be.


Girmay Zahilay joins the Chino Y Chicano to talk about his first year and a half on the King County Council. It has been a rollercoaster of crises from COVID-19 to police violence and racial justice protests, a growing homelessness and gun violence problem, and now a reopening of the state as vaccination efforts continue. Zahilay reflects on a council experience that so far has been full of emotion, and unpredictability.

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My Child of Color Is ‘Highly Capable.’ Now What? — Part 2

by Jasmine M. Pulido

In this second of a three-part series, Jasmine M. Pulido explores how Seattle Public School District’s Highly Capable Cohort (HCC) program works.


The HCC designation puts children on a track, or “HC pathway,” starting as early as kindergarten. In elementary school, HC-eligible children can either stay at their neighborhood school or move to an HC Pathway School. There are two types of HC Pathway Schools: self-contained schools, entirely dedicated to the HCC program, or self-contained classrooms offering advanced content within a general education program.

School-wide cohorts disappear, but self-contained classrooms with accelerated content are still available in HC Pathway middle schools. In high school, the term HCC no longer applies and advanced classes, like Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) classes, become available to anyone interested in taking them. Azure Savage, however, explains HC students are more likely, more academically prepared, and more encouraged to take AP/IB classes. Reby Parsley, board director of the Washington Association for the Talented and Gifted (WAETAG) and a gifted program specialist, also saw this in the research on gifted education. “What we’re finding is that when you provide students opportunity for access to those types of services at an early age, that’s when it has the most impact,” she said.

Continue reading My Child of Color Is ‘Highly Capable.’ Now What? — Part 2

In Memoriam to Seattle’s Central District

by Shawn Richard-Davis


I think it is time we pay our last respects to the dearly departed, iconic Central Area (CD) spots we’ve loved yet never properly mourned. 

Earlier this week I drove past the southeastern corner of 23rd and Jackson, a site formerly known as Promenade 23. I witnessed, for the first time, a huge, beautiful, newly completed complex. My first thought was, “How many Black people will be living there?” I was not excited about this new building because it did not represent something that “belonged” to the community. Instead, I felt resentful. I’m being honest. In the months I spent watching this building taking shape, I felt the need to mourn that particular block of the CD. Gentrification has continued at an alarming rate in the Central Area. I do not claim to have the answers as to how this trend will be reversed. This is my cathartic way of mourning. 

I was born and raised in Seattle, and it has been my home for almost 60 years (Oowee). As a child, I resided with my family at a number of locations including 15th and Cherry, 18th and Jefferson, 28th and Norman, and the Yesler Terrace projects. My aunt and uncle owned a house on 28th and Norman where I spent much of my childhood. Additionally, my uncle owned two record shops in Seattle: Summerrise World of Music on 12th and Jackson and the Wholesale House on Rainier Ave South across the street from Borracchini’s bakery. For some residents, the late 1960s through early 1990s were good, prosperous times in the CD. Recently, however, the area looks less and less like the Black community of the past, and it makes me sad. I feel grief and loss for what once was a thriving community. 

Join me now in a memorial service for the Central Area. I think I hear the community gathering, and they are singing, “Oh my lord, lord, lord, lord. Oh my lord, lord, lord, lord. Um hmm, um hmm, uh mmm.”

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OPINION: Don’t Be Fooled by ‘Compassion’ Seattle

by Tiffani McCoy and Jacob Schear


Throughout June, many Seattle voters have likely come into contact with paid signature gatherers wearing badges with purple and magenta rainbows stationed outside of grocery stores, farmers markets, and restaurants. They will ask you to sign their petition to “solve the homelessness crisis.”

These paid signature gatherers are working to get the “Compassion Seattle” charter amendment on the November ballot. If Compassion Seattle passes, this amendment would be added to our city’s charter.

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OPINION: Othello Neighborhood Deserves Accountability for Long-Awaited Opportunity Center

by Yordanos Teferi


The Multicultural Community Coalition (MCC) and numerous partners have worked tirelessly to steward community priorities at the Opportunity Center at Othello Square, once slated for completion in 2023. The Opportunity Center aimed to anchor several community-based organizations serving thousands of immigrants and refugees, co-located STEM education, entrepreneurial business resources, affordable retail space, and mixed-income and affordable housing. We garnered support from all levels of government and the philanthropic community and devoted substantial human and social capital to the project for over a decade because our communities face grave displacement and underinvestment from neighborhoods that they helped build and shape. 

Yet, despite over 10 years of community visioning, commitments from multiple City of Seattle departments, and millions of dollars in public and private investment, we are no closer to the Opportunity Center breaking ground. 

While the Opportunity Center was identified as one of the City’s Equitable Development Initiative (EDI) demonstration projects and its community priorities were codified in the City’s Equitable Development Implementation Plan and the Othello Neighborhood Plan Update, it is hardly closer to becoming a reality than when our state and local elected officials rallied around it in 2015.

Continue reading OPINION: Othello Neighborhood Deserves Accountability for Long-Awaited Opportunity Center