In the wake of countless murders of Black and brown folks at the hands of the police, protests are erupting across the nation and the world. It’s long overdue for myself and fellow White folks to take on our role in systemic change and accountability for police brutality and anti-Black racism. Below is a non-exhaustive list of ways to start, keeping in mind there is no guide to undo racism.
A seven-year-old Black student was put in a chokehold by a white school security guard at Stevens Elementary in March, right before schools closed due to COVID-19. The incident further exposed Seattle Public School’s commitment to punitive policing of students, a dangerous practice that fuels the school-to-prison pipeline.
KUOW reported that the student was screaming “I can’t breathe!” while the security guard, David Raybern, held her in an illegal restrictive hold with his “rig...
by Kayla Blau
A groundbreaking report was released from the Urban Indian Health Institute revealed that Seattle has the highest number of missing and murdered indigenous women (MMIW) in the country, and Washington state holds the second highest rates of missing and murdered indigenous women. Native women have been leading the way in responses to the crisis of MMIW through legislative advocacy and community organizing work. In Washington state, two bills were recently passed thanks to the work...
In 2019, I was a recipient of the Bonderman Travel Fellowship from University of Washington, which funded six months of solo travel through Jordan, Turkey, Georgia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Costa Rica, and Colombia, exploring global responses to gender based violence. This blog served more for processing my musings than anything else, a way to make sense of all our intersections. Gratitude to those that inspired these stories.
By now, you’ve probably seen or at least heard about KOMO 4’s “Seattle Is Dying” documentary — it gained more than 4 million views online alone. The hour-long documentary is plagued with sensationalized claims, like “We don’t have homeless crisis, we have a drug crisis” (in one of the most expensive rental markets in America), and a menacing soundtrack that rivals Law & Order: SVU.
The Violence Against Women Act, which funds responses to domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking, has been on life support for the past month and half. When the law expired at the end of September, Congress temporarily extended it until Dec. 7, but if legislators don’t act fast, essential protections for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault will be cut.
This piece is adapted from a spoken word poem about my experience as a Jewish-American visiting Palestine with Taglit-Birthright tour, a program that grants people with Jewish heritage a free trip to Israel to “rediscover their Jewish identity.” After the trip, I had the privilege of staying with my childhood friend, Aseel, and her family in their homeland of Palestine.
by Kayla Blau
If your child has ever been disproportionately disciplined, the South King County Discipline Coalition (SKCDC) is here for you. The coalition is comprised of community members and organizations that believe discipline disproportionality and the school-to-prison pipeline are unacceptable.
In Seattle Public Schools, African-American middle school students are three-and-a-half times as likely to be disciplined as other students. The rates are even higher if your student is in Speci...
by Kayla Blau
Willard Jimerson described his cousin Emijah Smith as, “Selfless, caring, altruistic, a shining example of what it really means to support community…superwoman!” If you’ve been in organizing spaces in Seattle, you’ve likely witnessed Smith’s strength and wisdom in action, or at least heard her name.
“Emijah is the definition of taking care of others,” he said. “I was in prison from the time I was 13 to 33, and she was my number one supporter during that time.”
Jimerson said Smit...
by Kayla Blau
In honor of Women’s History Month, we will present essays throughout the month by local authors documenting, honoring and celebrating powerful women who inspire us in South Seattle and beyond.
A proud South Seattle native, Adriana Jackson is a growing force for change in the higher education system. She grew up in Columbia City for the first six years of her life, before her growing family moved to Skyway in afford to afford a bigger house. She is born to a black father and a wh...
When Bshara Nassar arrived in Washington, DC, he strolled along the National Mall and passed myriad museums dedicated to exposing the painful history of oppressed peoples: the National Museum of the American Indian, the Holocaust Museum, Laogai Museum, the list goes on. He quickly recognized there was no place for the Palestinian story to be told, which inspired him to launch the first-ever Nakba Museum Project of Memory and Hope.
The women I work with despise the word victim.
Court documents, medical exams, grant proposals all name us victims of domestic violence, us battered women.
We brand-new ourselves survivors
How much punch in the word,
How little of our truths are known
How every Lifetime movie, tabloid, reality show
Packages domestic violence in black eyes and scratch marks, only in seeable bruises Corners us so emotional, irrational, so deserving of the scars
How you judge the mother f...