Tag Archives: Youth of Color

Annual Solo String Festival Showcases Talented South King County Student Musicians

by Brittany Parker


Dr. Quinton Morris’ music students are not immune to the challenges of a global pandemic. The high school freshmen in his classes have never walked the halls of their new schools. Scholars are all adjusting to the constant contort of living life through screens.

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PONGO POETRY: I Hope

Pongo Poetry Project’s mission is to engage youth in writing poetry to inspire healing and growth. For over 20 years, Pongo has mentored poetry with children at the Child Study Treatment Center (CSTC), the only state-run psychiatric hospital for youth in Washington State. Many CSTC youth are coping with severe emotional, behavioral, and mental health challenges. Approximately 40% of youth arrive at CSTC having been court ordered to get treatment; however, by the end of their stay, most youth residents become voluntary participants. Pongo believes there is power in creative expression, and articulating one’s pain to an empathetic audience. Through this special monthly column in partnership with the South Seattle Emerald, Pongo invites readers to bear witness to the pain, resilience, and creative capacity of youth whose voices and perspectives are too often relegated to the periphery. For an opportunity to learn Pongo’s trauma-informed techniques for facilitating personal, healing poetry in your classroom, therapeutic practice, or community space, join their training on May 22.


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Governor Inslee Orders All Students To Have Option of In-Class Instruction by April 19

by Andrew Engelson


In an online news conference Friday morning, Governor Jay Inslee announced — almost exactly one year to the day after he issued an order closing schools statewide to confront the rise of COVID-19 — that he will sign an emergency proclamation requiring all K-12 students in the state be provided with some in-class learning by the end of April. The order requires that by April 5, all students in grades K-6 must be provided a hybrid model of instruction with at least some in-class learning, and by April 19, all students in grades K-12 must be provided some in-class instruction.

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Councilmember Zahilay’s Workshop Encourages BIPOC Youth to Run for Office

by Chamidae Ford


On Feb. 20, Girmay Zahilay, the King County Councilmember for District 2, hosted the first installment of his new online series: Build the Bench. The monthly workshop is focused on providing a space for marginalized and underrepresented students and supporting them in eventually running for political office. 

“We will show you the roadmap for getting from where you are today to pursuing a career in policy or politics,” Zahilay said. 

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Friendly Hmong Farms: Supporting Puget Sound Hmong Farmers With a New CSA

by Kamna Shastri


There are four main ingredients in Friendly Vang-Johnson’s upcoming CSA (Community-Supported Agriculture) program: family, Hmong farmers, youth, and giving back to the community. Rooted in goodwill and mutual aid, Friendly Hmong Farms’ CSA is intergenerational and empowers youth and centers food justice while providing the Northwest’s Hmong farmers with a steady source of income. The boxes will be full to the brim with local staples as well as culturally relevant produce grown by Hmong farmers of the Puget Sound region. Signups began March 4 and boxes will be available throughout the greater Seattle area beginning the first week of April.

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Legislation Looks To Change Youth Sentencing, Offer Retroactive Relief

by Bunthay Cheam


A collection of proposed legislation working its way through the Washington State Legislature could substantially change sentencing of young offenders, as well as revise sentences for those currently incarcerated.

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Youth Shall Lead: Youth Activists for Systemic Change Livestream Demands Action on Racial Equity

by Mike Davis


The brilliant council members of the Youth Activists for Systemic Change (YASC) organized a livestream event on Sat. January 23 in partnership with Town Hall Seattle to present a panel discussion on their thoughts and demands for creating a better future.

In June, these youth organized the Seattle Children’s March that was inspired by the Birmingham Children’s Crusade March of 1963. The members of YASC hosted a rally at Garfield Community Center, before leading a crowd of about 3,000 people on a march through the Central District. I, along with my daughter, attended that march and rally, and I remember being impressed by the passion and creativity of these youth who not only verbalized their demands, but performed music, dance, and poetry for the large crowd that included many youth like my daughter — who was inspired by these young activists.

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What Does it Mean to Be a Black, Muslim, Oromo Girl?

by Fatra Hussein

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


WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE BLACK?

It means that people hate you for your skin, your Afro hair, your style, for the way you walk, for the way you talk, for the way you live. You are hated for no reason at all. Being Black means seeing those you love gone at the hands of a police officer. Being Black means starting to fight for your justice when you’re only a kid. But being Black also comes with the amazing stuff like strength and beauty and our food. It comes with also learning that our skin color is our armor that protects us, so even if the world hates, we love back. Being Black means when the world pushes you down, you get right back up. It means fighting and never giving up. Being Black means having this amazing power that helps you push through everything the world puts you through. Being Black means seeing the worst but hoping for the best. But most of all, being Black means keeping your head up no matter what and NEVER EVER GIVING UP!!

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Seattle Author Daudi Abe Explores Hip Hop’s Political Roots and Seattle Rappers’ Cultural Influence

by Beverly Aarons


Crumbling brick buildings litter a once thriving business district. Two-story homes blackened with soot sit boarded up and abandoned. Children find pipes and needles in sandboxes. Twenty students share five books in a freezing classroom … no heat. No food tonight, just too expensive. No new shoes — wear your older sibling’s pair and line the holes with newsprint. This is America: Late ‘70s and ‘80s. To be clear, this is America’s urban ghettos: Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, and yes, even Seattle. One generation earlier, much of Black America fled the vicious Jim Crow south seeking safety and opportunity in the north only to find itself pinned into economic wastelands with no capital and little opportunity for growth. And it is within this context that hip hop was born. During my interview with Daudi Abe, a Seattle Central College professor and the author of Emerald Street: A History of Hip Hop in Seattle, he shared his thoughts on hip hop and its political and cultural impact. 

Abe, who was born and raised in Seattle, teaches a class on the history of hip hop at Seattle Central College. Most of his students are in their late teens and early 20s, and they have a hard time understanding the context from which hip hop was born, he said. But context is key to understanding why hip hop survived and thrived while other music genres such as disco faded into history. 

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