Tag Archives: Voices

OPINION: Seattle Activists’ Continued Fight for Mutual Aid, True Equity, and Defunding SPD

by Luna Reyna


One-quarter of the entire 2020 Seattle city budget was allocated to the Seattle Police Department (SPD). While last summer’s protests over anti-Black police violence and calls to defund the police resulted in an 18% decrease in the 2021 SPD budget, $364 million was still allocated to SPD. This is an affront to community-led organizations like King County Equity Now (KCEN) and so many others who have been providing much-needed community support and succeeding in creating real public safety

KCEN, which started as an informal coalition of over 60 Black-led community organizations like Africatown Community Landtrust, Community Passageways, and Blaq Elephant Party, is now a formal, pro-Black 501(c)(4) dedicated to achieving equity for all Black peoples across all measurable metrics, including, wealth, health, land ownership, safety, college matriculation rates, organizational control, and more. 

In the ’70s, the Central District’s population was 75% Black, but as a result of Seattle’s tech boom and resulting gentrification, the CD is now only 15% Black. 

“My family was gentrified from the Central District in 2003,” said TraeAnna Holiday, an organizer with KCEN. “I remember wondering why my family couldn’t stay in our neighborhood. This was our neighborhood; I knew it in and out.” 

Continue reading OPINION: Seattle Activists’ Continued Fight for Mutual Aid, True Equity, and Defunding SPD

OPINION: Gun Violence Is a Symptom of Poverty

by Tammy Morales


When it comes to addressing gun violence in our community, it’s time to put our money where our mouth is. Organizations like Safe Passage, Boys & Girls Club’s SE Network, Rainier Beach Action Coalition (RBAC), and Urban Family invest time in our communities, support our young people, and build community. They have been doing essential work long before Omari Wallace was shot and killed on March 18. In fact, we were supposed to be having a Zoom meeting about the increase of South Seattle shootings when we learned that a young man walked into the Emerald City Bible Fellowship and shot 19-year-old Wallace who was there attending a meeting. 

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Yours in Community: A Year of Writing for the Emerald

by Jasmine M. Pulido


There’s the phrase, “Together we can move mountains.” But in Filipino/a/x culture we start even smaller. There is a word for the long-held custom in which a village comes together to literally carry on their backs the home of a neighbor, to move it from where it was to where it needs to be. When I told my Filipino father-in-law what I was looking for in Seattle over dinner one day, he responded, “Ah, yes. Bayanihan.”

Bayanihan. It’s when you inherently trust a village with your sense of belonging. Your home. 

Continue reading Yours in Community: A Year of Writing for the Emerald

OPINION: Voting Rights Restoration Bill’s Passage Brings Hope to Our Formerly Incarcerated Communities

by Datyous Mahmoudian


As someone who has experienced incarceration, I see voting rights restoration as a mark of good government. It sent me the message that “I matter” instead of reinforcing the stigma and second-class citizenship that are often experienced when people like me reenter our communities. 

The recent passage of House Bill 1078 by our state legislature has cultivated a strong wave of hope and optimism from current and formerly incarcerated communities and their allies in Washington State. This new law will give new opportunity to thousands of politically disenfranchised people who want to make their voices heard by casting a vote for those who create the laws that govern our lives.

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OPINION: Renters Must Get Organized to Win ‘Just Cause’ and Other Protections Against Eviction

by Kshama Sawant


Two years ago, working-class renters at the Bryn Mawr apartments in Skyway were stunned to find notices from their landlord tacked on their doors. The papers told them: Get out.

The landlord gave no reason for the eviction notices, because under King County law, he did not need to.

In danger of becoming homeless, the Bryn Mawr tenants fought back. They reached out to my socialist Seattle City Council office and, together with community groups, we organized a press conference to expose the landlord’s threat. Then we spearheaded a letter from 30 community leaders demanding that the landlord rescind the eviction notices. We made plans to deliver the letter and publicize it in the media.

Continue reading OPINION: Renters Must Get Organized to Win ‘Just Cause’ and Other Protections Against Eviction

OPINION: Let’s Call It What It Is — Pollute and Trade

by Melina Rivera


I live in an industrial area of town. For the last 12 years, my South Seattle neighborhood has experienced the changes of gentrification. The punk rock house with a sign that read “don’t trifle with us” still stands, but its inhabitants and the sign are now gone and townhomes with six to a dozen units per lot have popped up with more on the way. I have new sets of neighbors where I see more young children and young parents walking their dogs and taking their children for an outing down my alleyway. In fact, my alleyway serves more like a sidewalk as folks walk by with strollers and kids on bikes as we exchange pleasantries. My new neighbors are also homeless with different types of RVs and makeshift homes lining our streets and a tiny-home village with folks who care about the community as much as those with a fixed roof over their heads.

What has not changed in my neighborhood are the toxic odors that I wake up to most mornings.

Continue reading OPINION: Let’s Call It What It Is — Pollute and Trade

OPINION: ‘They Play Here.’ OL Reign Player Quinn Is Proof Trans People Do Belong in Sports

by Maggie Mertens, contributing columnist


Maybe you’ve seen the ad campaign for the OL Reign: the caption “She plays here” beside a photo of one of the team’s players. 

On Feb. 9, the Reign tweeted out the ad with a link to buying season ticket packages for the upcoming 2021 season, starting in May. But the wording was slightly different. “They play here,” the caption read, beside a photo of Quinn, a midfielder who was signed by OL Reign in July 2019 and plays for the Canadian Women’s National Soccer Team. 

The change is just one word, a pronoun, but it mattered a lot to Quinn, who came out as transgender and nonbinary last September in an Instagram post, started going by just one name, Quinn, and began using they/them pronouns. 

Continue reading OPINION: ‘They Play Here.’ OL Reign Player Quinn Is Proof Trans People Do Belong in Sports

World Bipolar Day: The Savage Spirit

by Marcus Harrison Green


In honor of World Bipolar Day, we are publishing this 2019 personal reflection. The purpose of World Bipolar Day (WBD) is to bring more awareness to bipolar conditions and to eliminate social stereotypes attached to those who are diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Overall, nearly 2.3 million people in the United State are currently diagnosed with the condition, but the number of people impacted by the disorder is most likely greater. You can find more information about WBD and bipolar disorder here.

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OPINION: Seattle Needs to ‘Start Asian Love’ in the Face of Hate

by Glenn Nelson, contributing columnist


The first major local protest ignited by the murder of George Floyd swelled in downtown Seattle and started exhibiting elements of violence. It seemed almost predictable when the flummoxed police force began funneling the mostly white crowd of vandals south. Already in coronavirus lockdown, Lei Ann Shiramizu watched it all unfold on television.

Reports Shiramizu heard about police tactics indicated the group was being herded straight into the Chinatown-International District (C-ID). The mounting images being beamed to the public, of busted windows and other forms of vandalism, were like zaps to her psyche.

“My baby is out there,” was the urgent thought that crossed her mind.

Continue reading OPINION: Seattle Needs to ‘Start Asian Love’ in the Face of Hate

VOICES: Taking Off Our Masks to Breathe

by Sophia Malik


My stethoscope lingered on the back of my patient. I realized I was steadying my breath more than listening to hers. The fabric she wore to cover her hair had the same feel as the fabric my mother wore during my childhood. It’s not a Walmart cotton. It’s a cotton you can only buy back home: soft and cozy, typically worn by soft and cozy aunties, carrying a scent of food freshly cooked by the wearer.  

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