Tag Archives: white supremacy

OPINION: Let’s Go Vote

by Pari McDonald, Ana McDonald, Marina Rojas, and Chiara Zanatta-Kline

(This article originally appeared on the South End Stories Youth Blog.)

The voices of those who are furthest from opportunity, who are actively being suppressed and kept from voting, must be heard, especially during this election. Ana (18), Pari (15), and Cymran (13) McDonald decided they wanted to do something about creating easy, accessible ways for the communities that they love and who have lifted them up in life, to register to vote. The sisters worked with young adults Chiara and Marina to build Mini Voter Registration Boxes for areas where QT/BIPOC voters may have difficulty printing voter registration forms or may not be able to easily get stamps or envelopes, especially during COVID. The girls also wanted to ensure that young voters were easily able to access voter registration by providing texting and QR codes to register online. Boxes were placed in the Central District, New Holly, White Center, High Point, Renton, Federal Way, and Tacoma.

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barry johnson Artist Interview: “anything is anything” Can Become Structural Change

by Vivian Hua 華婷婷

(This article first ran in REDEFINE Magazine and appears under a co-publishing agreement.)

Speak to Renton-based visual artist barry johnson for any substantial amount of time, and one quickly understands why his latest catchphrase, “anything is anything,” has become an overarching mantra. As johnson explains, “Because I’m a self-taught artist, [the phrase] gives me freedom …”

“anything is anything” was the title of johnson’s first solo art show at Tacoma’s Alma Mater in August 2019, and is now the title of his weekly podcast on “the origins of myths, idioms, stories, and nonsense.” Both offer tiny glimpses into johnson’s varied interests and atraditional way of moving through traditional art spaces, which has led to an art practice that includes numerous mediums, from painting and architecture to performance and film — all with a focus on Black communities.

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Eddie Glaude Jr.’s ‘Begin Again’ reignites the words of James Baldwin

by Joe Martin

(This article was originally published by Real Change News and has been reprinted with permission.) 

It was the height of World War II. James Baldwin was a teenager in New York City when, in 1943, riots broke out in Detroit and in Harlem, Baldwin’s neighborhood. The lack of adequate housing, lack of jobs and hostility of the city’s police had precipitated the unrest in Detroit. In Harlem, a Black soldier had been shot in the back by a white police officer. Simmering anger over ongoing racism and its accompanying urban poverty exploded.

All this had a profound impact on the young, gay, Black man who aspired to be a writer. By 1948, it became apparent to Baldwin that he could not remain in the United States. His personal fury at the rampant injustices he and other people of color were daily subjected to forced him to confront unpleasant possibilities. He might murder someone or be murdered himself. His artistic ambitions could be shattered in the crucible of America’s meanness and contradictions. The situation was untenable. Baldwin left for France and would not return for nine years.

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Heather Griffin on Why White Parents Shouldn’t Be Threatened by Ethnic Studies

by Ari Robin McKenna

This is the fourth in a series of articles featuring the words of local ethnic studies educators who are doing work to address systemic racism in our classrooms. To read the first, on Amanda Hubbard, click here. To read the second, on Bruce Jackson, click here. To read the third, on Shraddha Shirude, click here. To read the series intro, click here.

Editor’s Note: The following article includes a discussion on the racist attitudes some teachers harbor towards BIPOC students. This content might be disturbing, so we encourage everyone to prepare themselves emotionally before proceeding. If you believe that the reading will be traumatizing for you, we suggest you forego it.

If ethnic studies were to become an integral part of Seattle’s K–12 public education system, as Heather Griffin hopes, it could result in a profound shift away from systemic racism, led by youth, towards a more equitable future for this city. But for this to happen — sooner rather than later — Heather knows many of Seattle Public Schools’ white parents will have to reckon with their doubts, reason through their concerns, and reach for an understanding of the deeper fears they may be gripped by but hesitate to give voice to. Heather Griffin knows, because she has.

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OPINION: Fighting Racial Dialogue Fatigue

by Ralina L. Joseph

While I was facilitating a racial dialogue session today, a white woman expressed what so many of us are feeling around racial justice work right now: she said she was exhausted. In response, a BIPOC participant respectfully sighed, “I’m tired too, but I don’t have the luxury to lie down.” 

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OPINION: Black Lives Matter More Than White Feelings

by Jasmine M. Pulido

Catering to whiteness has been a survival mechanism that’s difficult to put down.

It was why I hesitated in anxiety before I sent that email to the white woman coach who was using my stories as a Person of Color to profit, thereby showcasing herself as the white ally doing good. I told her she no longer had permission to use my testimonial and to stop using POC stories like mine for her white benefit. I feared what she might think of me or how she might respond, the way I always did when I considered confronting whiteness. 

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Persist PAC: Centering Black Women on the Campaign Path to the Washington State Legislature

by Melia LaCour 

This article is the first in a series of articles following Persist PAC’s efforts to support Black women running for the Washington State Legislature. We will follow their process and explain the tools used within the campaign process so that anyone can learn how to support candidates running for office.

The poisonous roots of white supremacy are anchored in every system in the United States. Its pernicious shoots thrive on systemic racism, secrecy, and confusion. Among its many destructive goals, white supremacy deftly obscures the path to power for Black people while clearing and paving a road for white people. 

One need look no further than the Washington State Legislature as evidence that the path has been obstructed for Black candidates. Currently there are only two Black women legislators, both in the House of Representatives. Representatives John Lovick and Jesse Johnson, both Black men, are also in the House of Representatives. There are currently no Black people in the State Senate. 

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Rest, Healing, Celebration, Accountability — Repeat: Persistent Resistance

by Alex Garland

In these unprecedented times, change that once seemed improbable now appears inevitable to many in Seattle’s activist community who have spent years fighting for systemic and structural transformation. As protests and an expanding awareness of racial injustices endure across the nation, several of them find themselves hopeful of finally leaving behind a status quo that dehumanized and marginalized communities of color, LGBTQIA+ folx, and people with disabilities, to name but a few.

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Artist Distrust: Open Letter to Artist Trust Demands Accountability for Sudden Dismissal of Majority POC Jury

by Mark Van Streefkerk

On July 6, a POC-led group of over 50 community members published An Open Letter to Artist Trust, a nonprofit arts organization that provides funding and resources for artists in Washington. Each year, Artist Trust offers annual Fellowship Awards of $10,000 to eight artists, and two $25,000 Artist Innovator Awards, but this year the longstanding organization abruptly cancelled the Fellowship Awards without any community consultation. The cancellation included a unilateral dismissal of a majority Women of Color jury panel and rejection of that panel’s selected award nominees. The open letter demands accountability for these actions and calls to center Black and Indigenous leaders and artists within the mostly white Artist Trust leadership. Those in agreement with the letter’s demands are able to endorse it by electronically signing their name or the name of the organization they represent. Since the open letter was published, half a dozen women have also come forward calling out the sexism, vulgarity, and rape culture perpetuated by Program Director Brian McGuigan, behavior they say is ignored and protected at Artist Trust. 

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Seedcast: Indigenous Ways of Being — Reclaiming Authenticity in Storytelling

by Taylor Hensel

Indigenous peoples and communities have long used stories to understand the world and our place in it. Powerful, prophetic teachings can be found in our stories which explain reality but also give us the momentum to imagine and make urgent change. Among these lessons, there is one that tells of a time when Mother Earth will be in pain and Indigenous stories and teachings will be needed for healing. I firmly believe we are in that moment now. In the midst of a global pandemic and Black Lives Matter movement, the world is on fire and we are faced with the challenge of confronting deep truths about inequity and injustice. This challenge must be met by a solidarity between Indigenous, Black and Brown peoples speaking up for change. In this spirit, the South Seattle Emerald is proud to launch a new monthly column in partnership with Nia Tero as a creative platform for Indigenous voices and narratives. Our first story is an op-ed, by colleague and Indigenous creative Taylor Hensel (Citizen of Cherokee Nation), who brings light to the power of story and the storyteller. Her analysis of narrative as power encourages us to ask — What new stories can we tell to help create the better world we desire?

—Tracy Rector, Nia Tero Managing Director, Storytelling

One of the most effective ways to disempower a group is to disturb its unity. The ongoing systemic attempt to erase Indigenous peoples through division has deep roots in the foundation of government and most western constructs, including storytelling. As a Cherokee filmmaker and journalist, this is a reality I know to be true. 

For centuries, false narratives imposed on Black and Brown people about themselves and their communities have been used as tools of disempowerment. In the midst of a pandemic and civil rights reckoning, the need to rebuild and reform systems that continue to promote injustice is clear. One of the ways institutionalized oppression is continually reinvigorated is through the misrepresentation of marginalized peoples. This is done through the stories that have been told and continue being told about our past, present, and future. 

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