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Seattle Story Project

Former Mayor Ed Murray at a press conference in the University District in September 2016.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Let’s be clear. The mess that culminated in the resignation of Seattle’s ex-Mayor Ed Murray should not be celebrated as vindication that “the process works.”

Author and filmmaker Sherman Alexie waits with dancers backstage for his turn on stage as the keynote speaker at a celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day Monday, Oct. 10, 2016, at Seattle's City Hall.
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Sherman Alexie, author and friend of KUOW, posted this letter to his Facebook page on Thursday.

The author around the time that she was first assaulted. Tara Weaver
Courtesy of Tara Austen Weaver

Editor's note: Tara Weaver posted this essay on her personal Facebook page after the second presidential debate, when Donald Trump said that his talk of sexual assault was merely locker room banter. More than 4,400 people shared this story, and hundreds commented with their own devastating stories in the comments.

Ijeoma Oluo
Courtesy of Ijeoma Oluo

Editor's note: Salty language ahead.

We are now less than two months away from the ascendency of the Great Orange Hate Clown. 

Former King County Executive Ron Sims speaks at a news conference where he announced that President Barack Obama would nominate him to be deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Monday, Feb. 2, 2009, in Seattle.
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

I have been stopped eight times by the Seattle Police Department. I wasn't speeding nor did I have an issue with my car.

Four stops occurred in my neighborhood: two on Beacon Hill and one near the intersection of Rainier Avenue and Martin Luther King Way. I was never ticketed but always asked, “Do you live in this neighborhood” or “Where are you going?”

Dr. Bob Hughes of Seattle University and Yoshiko Harden of Seattle Central. Hughes and Harden were meeting at a Starbucks on Broadway in Seattle when someone came in and unfurled a string of racial slurs and explicitives at Harden.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

So my colleague and I were catching up after not seeing each other for a while.  

She’s just accepted a new position as an administrator at the community college up the street from where I work. I wanted to welcome her to the neighborhood and her new job.  

Orphans at the Ghenh Rang Orphanage in South Vietnam before Operation Babylift. Julie Davis, who lives in Minneapolis, belies that's her looking at the camera.
Courtesy of Julie Davis

Julie Davis, who was airlifted to Seattle from Saigon in 1975, shares her story. This week marks the 40th anniversary of Operation Babylift, the mass evacuation of children from South Vietnam. 

I was just a year old when a Boeing 747 airlifted me and hundreds of other babies from Saigon. We headed to Seattle, Houston, Minneapolis.

Thirty years later, I returned to Vietnam to find the orphanage where I had been dropped off just after my birth.

A Young Irish Mom's Painful Decision

Aug 6, 2017
Sian Cullen and her daughter Aine. Cullen was a teenager in Dublin, Ireland when Aine was born. They now live in Seattle.
Courtesy Sian Cullen

I was 16 and going to school; I lived in Dublin and was infatuated with this older fellow who was a jack-the-lad kind of fella.

We met and had a relationship and it was brief. And I got pregnant.

Mama, I Was Supposed To Be Born A Girl

Aug 6, 2017
Marlo Mack and her daughter. Marlo's daughter is part of a University of Washington study on the lives of trans children.
Courtesy of Marlo Mack

My son was barely 3 years old when he informed me that … I didn’t have a son.

He looked me square in the eyes and said, “Mama, I think something went wrong when I was in your tummy, because I was supposed to be born a girl, but I was born a boy instead.” 

Kanwalpreet steps out of a white limo. He and Madhuri were married at the Gurudwara Singh Sabha of Washington in Renton.
Victor Zerga Photography

Victor Zerga is a Seattle wedding photographer who specializes in "cultural weddings." He started taking photos with a point-and-shoot camera as a guest at his family's big Ukranian weddings, and eight years ago, his hobby became a career. 

Jannie Anderson, the author of this essay.
Courtesy of Jannie Anderson

This might come across as whining, but I don't really care.

I deactivated my Facebook account Wednesday after I read that President Trump was kicking all transgender people out of the military. I wanted to step aside and become invisible, but I have something to say, so I came back to write this:

The author, left, in high school.
Courtesy of David Schmader

This story takes place in the year 1986, in the great state of Texas.

This is why I nursed my baby on the Seattle bus

Jun 10, 2017
The author with her son at their home in Seattle's Greenwood neighborhood.
Krista Welch for KUOW

At the back of the Metro bus, we did something unusual: We talked to one another. Among us was a woman who had her toddler son with her — we smiled and waved at him as he asked his mom 20 questions about the world. Then, unexpectedly, he moved close to her, pulled on the collar of her shirt and pulled her boob out for a quick snack.

Geov Parrish.
Courtesy of Geov Parrish

The Seattle Times dropped a bombshell on the local political scene last week, publishing a lengthy account of interviews with three separate men who claim that Mayor Ed Murray paid them for sex while they were underage gay drug abusers in the 1980s.

You want technology? Then pay for scientific research

Mar 23, 2017
You can't make a radio unless you understand how electromagnetic radiation travels through air. This is an animation of a half-wave dipole antenna radiating radio waves, showing the electric field lines.
Wikipedia Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal

Let's talk for a minute about how invention works in our world.

One way to divide the process of inventing is into 1) basic science research, and 2) technological application. The first helps us gain an understanding of how our world works and what it looks like. The second takes that knowledge, then figures out what we should do with it to gain some sort of advantage.

A salty (sexy?) prayer to withstand 'Trump lunacy'

Feb 28, 2017
David Schmader delivered this 'prayer' as part of OUTRAGE ONSTAGE, held at the Sanctuary in West Seattle in honor of #NotMyPresidentsDay on Feb. 20.
Courtesy of Emilio Cerrillo

Hello! My name’s David Schmader.

I’m a writer and solo performer, and there’s a thing that happens to performers that I imagine every performing artist will recognize, and it involves the five minutes right before you go onstage, when there’s no more time to prep or practice and you’re just … waiting.

Cindy McIntire kisses her 1-month-old granddaughter Sophie Lin. She wrote Sophie Lin a letter, telling her that in the 1960s and 70s, they wondered if they should bring kids into the world. And yet out of that era came good, she says.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

On the eve of the Trump administration, we asked you to write your loved ones. These are those letters.


Flickr photo by Bo ("call me Daniel") Gao. (CC BY-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/7KH9gD

To our listeners and readers:

On the eve of the Trump presidency, we will be publishing letters from you to a loved one. Would you join us?

You can love Trump or hate him. You can write three sentences or a thousand words. All we ask is that you speak from the heart. Some questions to get you thinking: 

*What is most important to you right now?

*What goes through your mind when you think about the next four years? 

*How do you believe your life will change with Trump as president?

I escaped Nazi Germany. I see its ideology alive in America today

Dec 30, 2016
Franz W. Wasserman, 96, lives in Seattle. He was 12 when Hitler rose to power in Germany.
Courtesy of Margie Bone

A call to action:

I was born in Munich, Germany, in 1920. I lived there during the rise of the Nazi Party and left for the U.S.A. in 1938. 

Vectorportal.com: Vectorportal/Flickr Photo http://bit.ly/2gDfkjT CC BY 2.0
Vectorportal.com: Vectorportal/Flickr Photo http://bit.ly/2gDfkjT CC BY 2.0

This letter was written in response to an essay, A man shouts racial slurs in a Seattle Starbucks. The silence is deafening. We have granted this writer anonymity because she expressed fear that including her name could make her a target.

In Trump era, a case for underdogs like Pluto

Nov 16, 2016
A 2008 photo from the Pluto is a planet protest in Greenwood.
Flickr Photo/javacolleen (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) http://bit.ly/2eHvds0

This essay, by former Mayor Mike McGinn, was first published in Encyclopedia Greenwoodia by the Greater Seattle Bureau of Fearless Ideas. We happened upon the small volume at a coffee shop and were taken by its message: Seattle is adamantly, defiantly pro-little guy.

My mom's mental illness told through photos

Oct 14, 2016
From the ongoing photography project, You Have Nothing to Worry About. Title: Mom's new makeup, 2014.
Melissa Spitz

Since 2009, I have been making photographs of my mentally ill, substance-abusing mother. Her diagnoses change frequently – from alcoholism to dissociative identity disorder – and my relationship with her has been fraught with animosity for as long as I can remember.

Fear that someone might be watching her has kept Morshida Islam out of her garden, where she spends her evenings.
Flickr Photo/Shereen M (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) http://bit.ly/2c2ZxqY

They first called when I was at my son’s open house, and they left me a message.

Hello, Morshida ... On behalf of the Donald Trump Association, I was just calling to see if I can get your support in getting all the foreigners out of the country. And f**k ‘em. F**k the Islamic community too. Nothing to do with your last name – get out of here though. Seriously.

What I learned living in Garrison Keillor's house

Jul 1, 2016
Garrison Keillor in his office in St. Paul, Minnesota. Keillor, 72, is retiring from his show, A Prairie Home Companion, this Saturday.
AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt

Garrison Keillor and I stood on a rainy Seattle sidewalk waiting for the valet to bring my car around so I could drive him back to his hotel. Garrison hummed to himself.

A homeless man approached, offering to sing a song for a dollar.

“No need,” Garrison said. He reached into his pocket, giving the man a twenty. Halfway up the block, the man turned back.

Blues singer Courtney Weaver performs in the KUOW studios.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

On Jan. 15, 2010, a woman named Courtney Weaver was intentionally shot in the face by her fiancé, Kenneth Fiaui.

In court nearly a year later, Weaver spoke to Fiaui directly. What follows is what she said, based on the court transcript, and his response.

Twenty-ten has been the most trying and difficult year of my life.

The Orlando shooter and my student

Jun 12, 2016
Trident, a sketch by artist William on Flickr.
Flickr Photo/William (CC BY-ND 2.0) http://bit.ly/1UcTmlR

To wake up to this morning's news about the Orlando attack was almost unbearable. When things like this happen, I immediately want to hide, to run away. The first phrases that come to my mind are "it's too much" or "there are no words." But there are always words. There has to be a willingness for more communication. Is this a way to combat all the anger and hate out there? I'm not sure.

Dr. Bob Hughes of Seattle University and Yoshiko Harden of Seattle Central. Hughes and Harden were meeting at a Starbucks on Broadway in Seattle when someone came in and unfurled a string of racial slurs and explicitives at Harden.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

Last week we published an essay by Dr. Bob Hughes about a shocking experience at a Starbucks on Capitol Hill in Seattle.

Hughes was meeting with a colleague, Yoshiko Harden. A man came in and screamed racial slurs at the two college administrators, who are black. The man spit on them and then left.

The Grief I Chose: Placing My Baby For Adoption

Oct 8, 2015
Baby Benjamin before he was placed in his adoptive mother's arms.
Courtesy of Beth Roberts

Ten years ago, Nathan and I placed our firstborn son for adoption. 

I was barely 23 when I got pregnant with Benjamin. I had just graduated from Northwest University, a Christian college on the Eastside, and was preparing to spend two years in Jakarta, Indonesia, as an associate missionary. I got my acceptance letter to the program the same week I took a pregnancy test. 

I'm The Kid In Your Honors Class Who Crossed The Border Illegally

Aug 14, 2015
Luis Angel Gomez-Castillo lives in Seattle with his family. He is entering his sophomore year at the University of Washington.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

Hoping for a better life and education for my younger brother and me, my mother decided we should migrate to the U.S.

I was only 9 years old when we crossed the border illegally. With only a two-liter water bottle, we walked through the desert at night for two hours.

My Parenting Advice: Don't Kill Them

Aug 14, 2015
Ijeoma Oluo
Courtesy of Ijeoma Oluo

Editor's note: This essay contains strong language.

Having had kids before most of my friends, I’ve now reached the stage in life when many in my circle are coming to me for parenting advice.

“Your boys are so fun, so precocious, so well-mannered. What’s your secret?” they ask.

“Don’t kill them.” I answer.

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