race and equity | KUOW News and Information

race and equity

Jeff Bezos looks up at a living wall during the grand opening of Amazon's spheres in Seattle in January
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has become the world’s first centibillionaire. By amassing net wealth estimated by Forbes at $127 billion, he has passed Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates to become the richest human in history.

That number is so large that it’s hard to make sense of. Just how rich is the world’s richest man?

Graphic created by ProPublica showing training sites of the white supremacist group Atomwaffen Division.
Screenshot from YouTube

Emily Fox talks with ProPublica investigative reporter A.C. Thompson about his report on the white supremacist group Atomwaffen Division. The group, which is spread throughout the country, has a significant presence in Washington state. 

Artwork by Carol Rashawnna Williams
Courtesy of Carol Rashawnna Williams

Carol Rashawnna Williams is a visual artist in Seattle. Climate change is a frequent subject for her.

She believes art can be a powerful medium to help people understand the connections between climate change and racial inequality.


Seattle Preschool Program teacher Hien Do, center, dances with her students on Wednesday, June 28, 2017, at the ReWA Early Learning Center at Beacon, in Seattle, Washington.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

When former Seattle Mayor Ed Murray pitched his $81 million subsidized preschool program to voters in 2014, this was his promise: high-quality, affordable early learning that would help bridge the opportunity gap between rich and poor, black and white.

Jimi Hendrix in Seattle, February 12, 1968
Ulvis Alberts / Museum of Pop Culture permanent collection

Poor, neglected, carrying around a broom as substitute for the guitar he didn't have.  These are images of Jimi Hendrix growing up in Seattle.

And Hendrix biographer Charles R. Cross says that even when Hendrix returned to the city as a superstar to play a concert 50 years ago, on Feb. 12, 1968, he was heckled by students at his old high school. Cross says Hendrix always had a complicated relationship with Seattle, but the city should use this anniversary to do more to honor him.


Flickr Photo/Brian Stalter (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Kim Malcolm talks with Alison Holcomb about Seattle's move to vacate convictions for misdemeanor marijuana possession. Holcomb is director of strategy for the ACLU of Washington and the architect of Initiative 502, which legalized recreational marijuana in Washington.

Flickr Photo/Emory Maiden (CC-BY-NC-2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/avtfVU

Kim Malcolm talks with Northshore School District Superintendent Dr. Michelle Reid about her district's new approach to assessing students for giftedness. In January, the district implemented a universal screening process for its Highly Capable program.

LaDonna Horne, center, is surrounded by family and friends during a vigil honoring her son, DaShawn Horne, on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018, at Harborview Park in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Family members and friends are standing watch over a 26-year-old man who King County prosecutors say was the victim of an unprovoked racist attack last month.

DaShawn Horne remains in a medically induced coma at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

From 'people feel you don't belong here' to City Council

Jan 25, 2018
Zak Idan, Tukwila city council member
KUOW/Katherine Banwell

In early January, Zak Idan was sworn in to the Tukwila City Council. He's the first Somali refugee to be elected to office in Washington state.

Tukwila is one of the most racially diverse places in the state. But when Idan and his family arrived in the city in the late 1990s, the city was considerably whiter. As Idan told Katherine Banwell of KUOW's Race and Equity team, his family didn't experience any racism back then.

Author Ijeoma Oluo.
Photo by Nikki Closser, with permission of the author.

So, you want to talk about race.

But... do you? Reallllly? 

For most people, the real answer is no. 

LIZ JONES / KUOW PUBLIC RADIO

Over the years, Seattle area activist Maru Mora-Villalpando has staged many protests to speak out for undocumented families and for immigrants held in the Tacoma detention center.

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 in 2017.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

A new federal lawsuit says a King County sheriff’s deputy violated the civil rights of a man he shot to death last June.

Author Ijeoma Oluo.
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 in 2017.
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. 

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