Tag Archives: Voices

OPINION: Random Remembrances of 9/11

by Sharon Maeda

On September 11, 2001, I lived in New York City. Twenty years later, my mind is still full of so many random memories and emotions, just as it was back then. 

In the hours following the attacks, millions of people were trying to contact loved ones. Phone services were overtaxed and everyone was frantic. No one could get in or out of Manhattan; the subways were shut down. I was stuck in a suburban New York Marriott hotel with colleagues at a conference. The Marriott had a policy that when one hotel is attacked, all their neighboring hotels go into lockdown. I was panicked out of my mind. I had no idea where my niece was on her first day of work in New York. Hours later, her mother in Seattle was able to reach me and report that Lea was safe and walking home from Midtown to my place in Washington Heights. At some point, she abandoned her heels and walked all the way up to 190th barefooted. 

Early on, no one understood the source of the terrorism or could have imagined a 20-year war. 

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Rosh Hashanah Reflection: Measuring and Celebrating Time

by Susan Davis

We live in a pluralistic community here in southeast Seattle. Even how we celebrate time varies.

According to the Gregorian (standard) calendar, the new year started on January 1, 2021. But the Ethiopian New Year starts Sept. 11 and the year will be 2013. Islam just celebrated New Year the second week of August and it’s now 1443. Chinese Lunar New Year was in February and it’s 4719. The Hindi New Year of 2078 happened in April. 

Some calendars are solar, or solar-lunar, while others are lunar based. You get the idea: Time is measured, explained, and observed differently around the world and, therefore, here in the South End, too.

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OPINION: ‘Normal’ Isn’t Good Enough for Returning School Kids

by Marcus Harrison Green

(This article is co-published with The Seattle Times.)

Forgive me if I hope returning school children experience their most abnormal year yet.

Having survived a pandemic, a makeshift move to remote learning, and minimal socialization, I say they’re owed good karma by the metric ton.

But returning to normal won’t settle that debt. 

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Rosh Hashanah Reflection: Recapturing Hope

by Joy Resmovits

One of the biggest privileges of being Jewish in moments like these, when the world feels like it’s caving in on itself, is that we get to ring in a new year in the middle of the fall. Yes, it marks a time of serious spiritual self-questioning and atonement, with hours-long services and liturgy replete with some stone-cold allusions to who will die and who gets to live another year. New Year’s Eve it is not. 

But ultimately, we dress up our tables with fish heads (for a new start), pomegranates (filled with seeds that supposedly equal the number of mitzvoth, or good deeds, but don’t try to count them …), and apples dipped in honey (to bless our year with sweetness) and get to wave a fond farewell to 5,781, the current year of the Jewish lunar calendar. 

Since it’s a time of reflection, I’m looking at the past to illuminate the future. And what I’m realizing on the eve of this time-bound holiday — which, quite strangely, falls on Labor Day this year — is that our clocks are broken. No, not our Fitbits, our internal clocks. Since 2019, our lives have been compressed into an unnatural pattern of bursts of change and excruciating stasis. We are, simply put, out of sync with the passage of time. On top of the grief and inequalities that compound on a daily basis, the compressed way in which we are forced to take in life’s IRL splendors — for those of us who are lucky to not be immunocompromised — is grinding us down. Numbing us. This is the season of quitting, haven’t you heard? 

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OPINION: It’s Time to Put an End to Racially Disparate Police Stops and Searches

by Angélica Cházaro and Anita Khandelwal

Once again, a report has revealed alarming racial disparities in the Seattle Police Department’s (SPD) treatment of Black people, Indigenous people, and People of Color (BIPOC). The Center for Policing Equity, in a study completed earlier this year, found that Black pedestrians are five times — and Native pedestrians nine times — more likely to be stopped by SPD than white pedestrians. Moreover, BIPOC pedestrians are significantly more likely to be searched than their white counterparts, despite being statistically less likely to carry weapons. While SPD’s data did not allow for analysis of traffic stops, given the pervasiveness of such racial disparities it seems likely that similar ratios would hold for those as well.

Fortunately, the Seattle City Council and King County Council have the power to immediately reduce these harms by adopting two simple pieces of legislation — one that would deprioritize any traffic stops where the driver does not pose an imminent danger of physical harm to others and another that would ban consent searches.

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OPINION: I Had COVID-19 — Why I Still Got Vaccinated

by April Sims

(This article was originally published by The Stand and has been reprinted under an agreement.)

As governments and employers announce mandates, COVID-19 vaccination is center stage. While 60% of eligible folks in Washington State are fully vaccinated, and the vaccination rate is higher in some job sectors, we know some of the working people we represent have not gotten the vaccine. At the Washington State Labor Council (WSLC), AFL-CIO, we’re working to provide folks with the answers they need to make an informed choice about vaccination. Talking with union members, a question has come up repeatedly: I already had COVID-19, should I still get vaccinated?

In November 2020, my daughter came home from work feeling unwell. An essential worker, she’s one of thousands of working people in Washington who showed up at her job site even as many of us moved our work lives virtual. Two days later, she tested positive for COVID-19.

Within a few days, despite attempts to isolate, my two daughters, my husband, and I all had COVID-19. I’m someone who rarely gets sick, but the coronavirus took me out. My usually energetic family spent well over a week fighting the virus, and even longer recovering from the lingering fatigue. As secretary treasurer of the WSLC, I have access to paid sick leave, but my daughters and husband had to miss work, unpaid, while they recovered.

One thing I know for sure: I never want to have COVID-19 again. And I’ve seen the research that suggests vaccines provide greater protection against serious illness for folks who’ve had COVID-19 previously. All my family members work in community settings, coming in contact with coworkers or community members, and we have loved ones who are high-risk.

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OPINION: City Response to Gun Violence Spike Lacks Compassion, New Ideas

by M. Anthony Davis

The City of Seattle hosted a press conference on the morning of Tuesday, Aug. 31, in response to six shootings over the weekend. City leaders, including Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz, City Councilmember Alex Pedersen, and Rex Brown of the City of Seattle Human Services Department (HSD) were present. 

Diaz spoke on many of the recent shootings, including an incident where a man was shot and killed Tuesday morning in Capitol Hill during an alleged attempted robbery. According to Diaz, there have been 100 more shootings in the city compared to this time of year in 2020, and 150 more compared to 2019. 

Instead of using those statistics to argue for new creative solutions to keep communities safe, however, Diaz and Pedersen used the upticks in gun violence to advocate for more Seattle Police Department (SPD) officers. 

“To address the serious spike in gun violence, I believe our City Council needs to partner with both our police department and community nonprofits, for a multipronged response with effective violence prevention programs,” Pedersen said. 

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OPINION: Political Intermission

by Lola E. Peters

Act One was the campaign. We met the players, learned their public backstories, got hints about their character, and were introduced to the context of their stories. Act Two was the primary: a much shorter period where we learned about ourselves. Through social media, on Zoom calls, and over outdoor happy hour snacks we asked, “Who are you voting for?” or “Can you believe so-and-so is voting for so-and-so?” The end of Act Two revealed who were the players representing minor, though no less important, voices but no longer primary participants in the current play. We also learned whose dramatic arcs would move forward to the next act. 

Here I sit, in the lobby, looking around at my fellow voters, wondering what they were thinking. 

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OPINION: What’s in a Name? Plenty, if It Belongs to a Slaveholder or White Supremacist

by Glenn Nelson

Imagine something meaningful to you and a person related to that thing who’s done something despicable. Then imagine naming some aspect of your meaningful something after that despicable person. Like naming an investment club after Bernie Madoff, film festival after Harvey Weinstein, or block-watch after Derek Chauvin.

The Pete Rose Fantasy Baseball League, anyone?

How would that make you feel about your significant something? I mean, what’s in a name anyway?

Continue reading OPINION: What’s in a Name? Plenty, if It Belongs to a Slaveholder or White Supremacist