race and equity | KUOW News and Information

race and equity

Courtesy of Seattle Colleges

This year will mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Today, the United States celebrates the birth of the great non-violence activist and civil rights leader. The federal holiday was signed into law in 1983 by President Reagan, but it wasn’t until the year 2000 that all 50 states officially observed the holiday.

Journalist Maria Hinojosa at UW's Kane Hall
Courtesy of Emile Pitre

Maria Hinojosa and her team at Latino USA have been reporting on how Latinos and Hispanics experience and impact the United States since 1992. That ethnic group accounted for more than half of the total U.S. population growth from 2000 to 2014. The Pew Research Center predicts they will make up 24 percent of the population here by 2065.

Seattle Rumor Center volunteer Margaret Tashian hands a memo to center director Warren Henderson in this archival photo from July 1969.
The Seattle Times

In the late 1960s, Seattle city leaders were anxious to avoid the race riots breaking out in cities across the country, from Los Angeles to Detroit.

Rather than focusing on the systemic racism at the heart of such urban uprisings, the city tried to tamp down rumors it imagined were the cause of the violence.  


Tommy Le's family and attorneys announce their decision to file a $20 million wrongful death and civil rights violation lawsuit against King County, the King County Sheriff's Office and (former) Sheriff John Urquhart.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

King County Executive Dow Constantine is hitting pause on all inquests into fatal shootings by law enforcement officers. 

KUOW/ Gil Aegerter

The Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute in Seattle's Central District is a hub for black performing arts.

For years the programming at the institute was run by the city. But now a new nonprofit is taking over with new leadership.


'Black Courage': A young poet's words to her son

Jan 2, 2018
Angel Gardner, Seattle's Youth Poet Laureate 2016/17
KUOW Photo/Katherine Banwell

Angel Gardner started writing while living in a group home as a child. She wasn’t into therapy, but sometimes she wasn’t into writing in her journals either.


Co-director of HYPE, Charissa Eggleston, poses for a portrait on Saturday, August 5, 2017, at the Federal Way Boys & Girls Club in Federal Way. KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Earlier this year we told you about Kelli Lauritzen and Charissa Eggleston, two moms in Federal Way.

Alarmed at an outbreak of gun violence, they decided to act.


Dr. Ben Danielson in his office at the Odessa Brown Children's Clinic in Seattle's Central District.
KUOW photo/Patricia Murphy

In this tumultuous year, it’s been possible to wonder whether any progress will be made on racial equity.

But at the end of 2017, Dr. Ben Danielson said he’s seeing a shift in the conversation.


Arsalan Bukhari is the former executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Seattle
KUOW PHOTO/GIL AEGERTER

One of the big stories of 2017 was the Trump administration's travel ban targeting some Muslim countries. Arsalan Bukhari of the Council on American-Islamic Relations or CAIR says the travel ban also had an impact on Americans.


Nikkita Oliver: 'This year has been unexpected'

Dec 28, 2017
Nikkita Oliver, attorney, activist, and artist
Courtesy of Nikkita Oliver/Alex Garland

Back in March, Nikkita Oliver announced she would run for Seattle mayor. She said the city needed a leader "who’s going to reject the status quo and bring a new vision to the city of Seattle.”

She barely missed getting into the general election, finishing third in the primary behind Jenny Durkan and Cary Moon. But her vision shaped the campaign and the conversation about what kind of place Seattle should be.

Matthew Hicks looks at his mother Tiffany as she reads his report card on Wednesday, December 13, 2017, at their apartment in Auburn.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

What’s it like to finally have a place for you and your children to live, after spending most of the year homeless?

“Surreal,” said Tiffany Hicks, whose family we told you about in two stories this year (links below).


Stephan Blanford, former Seattle School Board member
KUOW photo/Megan Farmer

Stephan Blanford was the only black person on the Seattle School Board. He decided not to run again this year.

At the end of 2017, KUOW's Race and Equity Team asked him what pressing problem he saw in the city's schools. His answer: 4,000 homeless students.

The new year looks promising for Seattle's Native people

Dec 27, 2017
Colleen Echohawk, executive director of the Chief Seattle Club
KUOW Photo/Katherine Banwell

According to the 2017 Count Us In survey, Native Americans in Seattle/King County are seven times more likely to be homeless than any other population.

Colleen Echohawk, the executive director of the Chief Seattle Club, a nonprofit that serves Native people in Seattle, spoke with KUOW about the problem this last summer.


10 months later: 'There's hope after a cancer diagnosis'

Dec 26, 2017
Dr. Alexes Harris, sociology professor at the University of Washington and cancer survivor
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Ten months ago, Alexes Harris' health was precarious. She'd just had a stem cell transplant in the hopes of combating a rare form of leukemia.

The sociology professor at the University of Washington wasn't sure what the future held.

'No, I don't know every black person on campus'

Dec 19, 2017
Eurie Dessie and Kpojo Kparyea
Courtesy of StoryCorps/Mia Warren

Eurie Dessie and Kpojo Kparyea don't want to be labeled as "angry black women." So how do they respond when they're asked if they eat fried chicken and drink Kool-Aid? Or if they know every black person on campus?

Or how about when a restaurant manager asked Dessie to "go clean it like your ancestors did."

"I wish I went off!" Dessie said.

Dessie and Kparyea talk about staying calm in the face of racism and microaggressions.

Journalist and author Ruchika Tulshyan says Amazon is not immune to the tech industry's diversity problems.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

It’s lunch time in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood. Employees pour out of Amazon’s headquarters. Ruchika Tulshyan sits on a bench, watching who comes and goes. 


Adra Boo and Jen Petersen talk about leaving and staying in Seattle
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Bill Radke talks with Jen Petersen and Adra Boo about their respective decisions to leave Seattle (and the United States) and stay in the Puget Sound region. They reflect on what's changed and what hasn't and whether Seattle is living up to its progressive ideals. 

Hiwot Taddesse, left, and Executive Chef Lisa Nakamura laugh while cooking at the Ubuntu Street Cafe on Wednesday, December 13, 2017, in Kent.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

On a quiet side street in Kent sits the Ubuntu Street Cafe. Ubuntu, which means humanity toward others, is the brainchild of Veena Prasad, executive director of Project Feast. 

'I'm not the submissive Asian woman you think I am'

Dec 12, 2017
Moo Young Baek and Terri Hiroshima
Mia Warren, StoryCorps

"That's when I remember hearing the word 'Jap' for the first time." 

Some of the microaggressions noted by KUOW listeners.
KUOW Illustration

On the night of Dr. Roberto Montenegro’s dissertation defense celebration, he went out to dinner at a fancy restaurant with his wife and colleagues. He felt like he was on top of the world at the end of the night.

Until, as he stood in line waiting to claim his car from the valet stand, a woman walked up and handed him her keys. She assumed that because he was Latino, he was there to park her car.

Courtesy of Spelman College/J.D. Scott

In 1997 Dr. Beverly Tatum published her acclaimed book "Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race.” The work explores an enduring American reluctance to acknowledge the realities of racial identity development and racism. For the last 20 years, it has served as a catalyst in efforts to address those realities.

Kristin Leong, creator of the Roll Call Project and Christina Joo, junior at International School in Bellevue
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

Bill Radke talks with Kristin Leong and Christina Joo about finding common ground between students and teachers.

Leong is a former middle school teacher and founder of the Roll Call Project, which asks students and teachers to think about what they have in common, and why it matters. Joo is a junior at International School in Bellevue, and a participant in the project.

Flickr photo/Kian McKellar (CC By 2.0)

When Melyssa Stone was seven years old, she was chosen to play Snow White in a Disney revue at school. She wore a beautiful handmade dress, knew the words to the song she was about to perform. And even though she was nervous, Stone was excited to get on stage.

Are you sure you're handing your keys to the valet?
Flickr Photo/Caitlin Regan (CC BY 2.0)/flic.kr/p/6AB68e

On the night of Dr. Roberto Montenegro’s dissertation defense celebration, he was at a fancy restaurant and feeling on top of the world — until a woman bypassed the valet stand and handed him her keys.

Protesters attempt to block the entrance of Westlake Center  on Friday, November 24, 2017, during a Black Lives Matter rally, in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Black Lives Matter demonstrators took to the streets in downtown Seattle on Friday to protest. This is the fourth year in a row that such a rally has been held on Black Friday.

Protesters marched peacefully and then gathered at Westlake Center where they linked arms and formed a line in front of several stores.

Seattle City Hall
Flickr Photo/Daniel X. O'Neil (CC-BY-NC-ND)/http://bit.ly/1OGMTuh

In 2014 Mayor Ed Murray ordered all City of Seattle departments to apply a racial equity lens to their work. But an examination by KUOW shows the response was less than robust.

While some departments did the work in 2015, others provided incomplete versions of what are called “racial equity toolkits.” A quarter of city departments didn’t do the work at all that year.


Seattle Mayor Tim Burgess, King County Executive Dow Constantine and Deputy Executive Rhonda Berry at a press conference announcing the intent to move youth detention oversight to Public Health Seattle King County.
KUOW Photo/Patricia Murphy

King County Executive Dow Constantine is making a change he says will help the county with its effort to dramatically reduce the practice of detaining young people arrested for crimes.

Constantine signed an executive order Thursday moving oversight of youth detention to Public Health Seattle King County.

Claudia Pineda, right, interprets for a woman who suffered domestic abuse from her 13-year-old son.
KUOW photo/Patricia Murphy

Vicky used to hide the knives in her home, but not because of the ex-husband who she says was abusive.

She was being beaten by her 13-year-old son.

The list of racist place names in Washington is long, but the state is slowly getting rid of them.

The latest is a “Squaw Creek” southwest of the town of Methow in Eastern Washington.

Damon Bomar, owner/operator of That Brown Girl Cooks!
KUOW Photo/Katherine Banwell

We don't need statistics to see that Seattle is growing at an unprecedented rate. One neighborhood where the change is most noticeable is the Central District.


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