Tag Archives: Voices

OPINION: For South Seattle on Human Rights Day

by Amanda Ong

This Friday is Human Rights Day — the international celebration of the United Nations General Assembly’s proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on Dec. 10, 1948. The declaration has been recognized as the first international delineation of standards for the protection of fundamental human rights, including freedom, justice, equity, education, and standard of living. It has since been foundational to more than 70 human rights treaties and is the most translated declaration in the world, having been translated into over 500 languages

But not only do few of us celebrate this date, but many of us have also never read or really considered the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These kinds of charters and declarations might make human rights feel academic and abstract, but really “human rights” reflect simple values that we can, and should, live every day. 

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OPINION: If Biden Stands for Human Rights, Pass the Philippines Human Rights Act Now!

by Jessica Valdez and Michael Alcantara

The Seattle Globalist was a daily online publication that covered the connections between local and global issues in Seattle. The Emerald is keeping alive its legacy of highlighting our city’s diverse voices by regularly publishing and re-publishing stories aligned with the Globalist‘s mission. 

Dec. 10, International Human Rights Day, is a major date for organizations concerned with the situation in the Philippines. For over a year, activists from the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP) and the Malaya Movement, which organize Filipinos and allies in the struggle for a genuine and lasting peace in the Philippines, have lobbied Washington representatives, including Adam Smith, to take action to address the human rights crisis by supporting the Philippines Human Rights Act (PHRA). 

On Dec. 10, the activists will stage a die-in and rally outside of Congressman Smith’s Renton office to pressure him to cut U.S. military aid to the Philippines.

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OPINION: The Silence Is Maddening

by Elaine Simons

There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.

—Elie Wiesel

My foster son, Jesse Sarey, was killed by Officer Jeff Nelson of the Auburn Police Department on May 31, 2019. Jesse was 26 years old. He was the 19th person in 2019 killed by police use of deadly force in the state of Washington since implementation of Initiative 940 (I-940), which requires de-escalation and mental health training for police and changed the law to remove a legal barrier that prevented prosecutors, as a practical matter, from charging officers who killed someone. Washington’s previous statute required prosecutors to prove “actual malice” — the most restrictive standard in the country. With Jesse’s biological family and supporters by our side, Officer Nelson was charged with second-degree murder and first-degree assault in August 2020. Officer Nelson is only the third officer to be indicted for taking the life of a civilian in Washington State history and the first under I-940. Nelson is the first officer in the state of Washington to be prosecuted for taking the life of a civilian in 30 years. Less than 2% of police officers nationally are held criminally accountable when they kill someone. This is why State v. Nelson needs your attention, and the nation’s. Officer Nelson’s trial begins in June 2022.

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OPINION: Running While Black Forever

by Johnny Fikru

First things first: Rest in Power to Ahmaud Arbery. With news of the verdict that the perpetrators of his murder will be held accountable, I am so grateful that Wanda Cooper-Jones, Arbery’s mother, has received Justice for Ahmaud. While I never met the Brother, we shared things in common: both Black men, both in our mid-20s, both runners. 

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OPINION: Jury Duty Is Not the Solution to Trials Like Kyle Rittenhouse’s

by Megan Burbank

In response to outrage over Kyle Rittenhouse’s acquittal earlier this month, President Biden was among many voices insisting that “[t]he jury system works, and we have to abide by it.” The day of Rittenhouse’s acquittal, Twitter was flooded with posts urging people upset by the verdict to embrace jury duty as a solution.

I understand where this sentiment comes from. I also used to think the jury system worked — that taking on your civic duty with systemic inequity in mind could help mitigate injustice.

Until I actually served on a jury.

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OPINION: I Stand With Kshama Sawant Because She Stands With Black and Brown People

by Renée Gordon

I stand with Kshama Sawant against the right-wing recall because she fights for all of us, especially Black and Brown communities. 

My family’s story is living proof of her advocacy — and her effectiveness.

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The Need for Mandated Racial Equity Training in Schools

by Alexis Mburu and Eva Herdener

What happens when those tasked with teaching also need to be taught? Our education system has always had to adapt, whether in regards to who was allowed in the doors or how we kept them safe. And we can always find ways to improve the quality of education students are receiving — especially regarding race and equity. 

As two members of the NAACP Youth Council, we spend a lot of time focusing on working towards racial equity in the education system. One of our group’s key issues is the need for mandated racial equity training in schools. We are youth currently in the education system. Most of us identify with one or multiple marginalized communities and we have seen firsthand the damage done to students due to the ignorance of those who are “authorities” inside schools. Racial equity training is one way we can help ensure the system we rely on for our educational and social growth is a safe place for all of us. 

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OPINION: Behavioral Health Workers Took On a Giant Corporation — and Won Big

by Meseret Amare

When I heard about a violent patient escaping and injuring 11 of my coworkers, including one who left the facility on a stretcher, I was terrified — but sadly, not surprised. As a mental health tech at a psychiatric hospital in Tukwila, we work with patients going through recovery at all stages — and sometimes, they can be volatile. My employer, Cascade Behavioral Health, rejected our request for trained security staff to help when crises like these arose. We were at risk — and had had enough.

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OPINION: What Alex Tizon Taught Me About Visibility

by Jasmine M. Pulido

Alex Tizon is so much like me it’s almost laughable.

He was a Filipino American journalist writing in Seattle with a specific aim to uplift the narratives of those most marginalized from society. He wrote long-format philosophical essays driven by a need to deeply understand himself, others, and the most foundational parts of our humanity. He delved into themes like invisibility, complicity, and authenticity without shying away from the most difficult emotions like shame, guilt, and pain. He had two daughters. His Lola — the subject of his award-winning piece in The Atlantic — even shares my last name, a fact that my in-laws assure me is merely a coincidence.

All like me.

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Seedcast: We Are the Future Elders

by Clear Sky Native Youth Leadership Council interns Kayla Harstad, Lailani Norman, Tim Shay, and Akichita Taken Alive

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.

During Native American Heritage Month, we have a unique opportunity as Native teens to reflect on what the world expects from us and hopes for us. It can be overwhelming and exciting to think about what the future holds and the responsibilities we might take on, but one way we’ve each been able to gain clarity is through our involvement with the Seattle Clear Sky Native Youth Council, a youth-focused and directed program of the Urban Native Education Alliance (UNEA). Clear Sky provides opportunities for deepening our connections with our intertribal community, while also affirming our cultural values, worldview, and traditional knowledge systems as well as empowering us to navigate racist colonial systems through advocacy, activism, and action. As individuals, we are teenagers, students, siblings, daughters and sons, and grandchildren as well as neighbors and friends to all in our community. But together, we have joined with our peers to take advantage of lessons in order to build the knowledge we need to stand in our truths as future elders.

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