A round-up of news and announcements we don’t want to get lost in the fast-churning news cycle!
curated by Emerald Editors
This weekend, the City of Seattle officially celebrates Juneteenth as a holiday for the first time, based on legislation sponsored by Councilmember Tammy Morales in 2021. Make sure you check out the Emerald’s guides on South End events celebrating Juneteenth and Pride 2022!
This week’s News Gleams are heavily focused on topics of police accountability and reform, including new proposed legislation and the upcoming inquest into the death of Charleena Lyles. Relatedly, the Emerald’s latest Watchdragon coverage uncovers former Police Chief Carmen Best’s involvement in the abandonment of the East Precinct during the 2020 protests, and much more.
—Vee Hua 華婷婷, interim managing editor for the South Seattle Emerald
Continue reading NEWS GLEAMS: Charleena Lyles Inquest Begins, WAESN Youth Activist Academy, & More
by the National Liberated Ethnic Studies Coalition
CRT and Ethnic Studies: What’s Really Being Banned?
In a panicked reaction to the inclusion of ethnic studies, Black Lives Matter, and other anti-racist curricula in our schools, 28 states are actively opposing social justice content. A recent tweet sent out by conservative “think tank” Texas Public Policy Foundation claimed that terms such as “diversity,” “inclusion,” “restorative justice,” and “identity” were all Trojan horse terms for critical race theory (CRT).
Popular education news organization Chalkbeat has been tracking this trend. According to its reporting, 28 states have enacted efforts to “restrict education on racism, bias, [and] the contribution of specific racial or ethnic groups to U.S. history or related topics.” The language in anti-CRT rhetoric has many people asking, “What are they really banning?” — and rightly so. The fact that people are getting so whipped up by terms like “identity,” “justice,” and “current events” should be a huge red flag. The “C” in CRT stands for “critical.” It seems like race has little to do with the outrage of opponents of CRT and everything to do with critical thinking.
Continue reading OPINION: Organizing for Ethnic Studies in the U.S. — the Time Is Now
by Ari Robin McKenna
The “Washington Ethnic Studies Now (WAESN) 3rd Annual Assembly on Organizing for Ethnic Studies” will be held virtually on Saturday, April 24, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It features keynote speaker Dr. Verónica (Vero) Vélez, an organizer, activist, and award-winning professor at University of Western Washington, as well as keynote panelists Brent Jones Jr., the incoming interim Superintendent of Seattle Public Schools (SPS), Brandon Hersey, the SPS South End board director of District 7, and more than 20 other speakers.
In recent conversation with the Emerald, Tracy Castro-Gill, the executive director of WAESN, says the goal of the assembly is “to build collective capacity, and let people know where they can plug into existing efforts, or how they can start their own efforts.” She stressed how this assembly differs from standard professional development workshops for teachers, saying, “There’s people who are individually trying to do this in their classroom, but we know that to teach ethnic studies well, you need a community behind you. It’s not a traditional education conference, it’s about organizing and networking and building community. It’s a lot of how to do those things on different levels.”
Continue reading Washington Ethnic Studies Now’s Third Annual Assembly to Take Place April 24
by Ari Robin McKenna
Trigger Warning: this article includes descriptions of incidents in which racist language is used.
In a student-lead briefing on Monday, Jan. 25 on Zoom, educators, parents, youth in the NAACP Youth Coalition, and members of the press convened to kick off the Black Lives Matter (BLM) at School Week of Action in Seattle. Now a national movement four years running, it all began here in the South End in 2016 when John Muir Elementary School (JMES) had to temporarily cancel plans for an assembly meant to bolster the morale of Black students. After word spread via Breitbart News Network that teachers at the district-sponsored event would be wearing Black Lives Matter t-shirts, organizers received hate mail and a bomb threat, causing them to temporarily cancel the assembly. Then, in an impressive display of Seattle solidarity with JMES, over 3,000 educators district-wide showed up to work donning “Black Lives Matter” shirts, and a movement was born.
Continue reading Fourth-Annual National BLM at School Week of Action Kicks Off With Calls for Local Accountability