West Seattle, Washington
As previewed here last night, students were joined by VIP visitors for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Day assembly today at West Seattle High School. Teacher Jennifer Hall, who advises the WSHS Diversity Club, shared some visuals, and the full text of senior Amy Ijeoma‘s speech from the assembly, titled “The Only Black Kid”:
Individuality is amazing. It’s something we value because it offers more perspectives, more conversation, more ideas. It does a lot of good. But we also like to be relatable – we find comfort in knowing that others go through or have gone through similar situations, think similarly, and that others share common characteristics and interests. That’s how we make friends. We find people who are in some way similar to us, and we find people who are almost nothing like us. But that’s how we bring out the best in each other. With the right balance of individuality and relatability, we can collectively grow in how we view each other’s unique experiences.
So our schools and classrooms reflect that, right? We’re working towards it, but there’s room for improvement. In recent Harvard studies they show that students of color perform better academically and engage more in classes where they have race congruent teachers. And white students perform just as well. From my own experiences, I’ve felt more comfortable in a class where there’s a teacher who I see myself in. Whether it was a teacher of color, a woman, or someone who has lived a shared experience. And I quickly learned that at a young age.
In my early years of elementary school, I began to feel the disconnect. I knew the majority of the other kids didn’t have a similar upbringing as me, that they didn’t like how I looked because they didn’t understand it, but I knew so much about their European roots. I learned so much eurocentric history that I knew it like it was my own. At times I would try to feel like them. I remember one day I tried pinching my nose, so it would stay narrow the way their noses do. By 4th grade, I was straightening my hair every morning before school. I tried to adapt to white culture, while forgetting how beautiful my own culture was. Imagine a little brown girl intimidated by her own skin tone, because she never saw or heard about enough of it. Anywhere, in school, on tv, in children’s books, on barbie dolls. It was a strange feeling, but that was only the beginning.
When my culture and many other cultures were finally being introduced in classrooms, (and still to this day) everyone would turn and look at me. It was sad to know that people of color’s histories, their oppression, and their contributions to society were talked about so little –it seemed almost forbidden; as if their history didn’t encompass mass incarceration, genocide, systemic racism — the silencing of my people, other people of color, and many other marginalized groups. Just because you’re uncomfortable doesn’t mean we shouldn’t talk about it. It’s not something people of color should just “get over and move on” from, because it happened, and it’s still happening. So what do we do?
As members of society, we need to respectfully acknowledge history and current events when they come up. We must create an environment that allows people of color to freely speak their minds, and truly be heard; to educate and be educated. We need to display our true personalities, because not only will you benefit from it, but the people around you can see themselves in you as well, and feel more comfortable being who they are. Respectfully include and welcome valid perspectives that aren’t your own! Debate. Learn. Remember that if you’re one who benefits from the oppression of others to listen. Although your opinion matters, if you ever want to learn, you have to listen. Because people of color just want to be noticed and heard for who they truly are, and how they feel. So when Monday comes around, and you remember one of the many people who fought for justice, remember that the fight isn’t over.
Last February, Amy Ijeoma was one of the WSHS students we featured because of their project related to family homelessness.
Also at the assembly, as previewed last night, three state legislators who worked together on the creation of MLK Day in our state reunited for the first time in decades – former 34th District Reps. Georgette Valle and Bruce Addison, and former 43rd District Rep. Jesse Wineberry. Teacher Hall shares this three-minute clip from their Q/A session after the speech:
The bill they co-sponsored, creating the state holiday, passed in 1985.
West Seattle/South Park City Councilmember Lisa Herbold says the mayor made “the right call” in announcing late today that the city will scrap its bicycle-sharing program for now, rather than replacing the failed Pronto system with something different.
Last March, she was one of two council votes against the bike-share buyout. So last month, we asked her about the bike-share situation during our wide-ranging interview looking back at her first year in office and ahead at her second year; she replied that she didn’t hold much hope the program would be scrapped, and restated concerns that a new version still wouldn’t serve our area.
Tonight, she published this statement after the mayor’s announcement:
This was absolutely the right call. With limited public dollars, these resources are better used to develop safe routes to schools for our students. Now is not the time for public investment in a bike share system.
I’m glad to see these funds are proposed toward implementing the City’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plans, and School Safety projects, in line with my proposal last year to re-direct $4 million in funding away from expansion of the Pronto system toward these existing needs. I regularly hear from constituents about school crossing safety, most recently regarding Genesee Hill Elementary.
During last year’s budget cycle, I sponsored a budget action the Council adopted to remove $900,000 in funding for operation of the Pronto system in 2017 and 2018, to preserve funding for these existing needs.
Here’s how the mayor announced the bike-share change, redirecting $3 million to other pedestrian/bicycle programs.
Five business notes this afternoon, which happen to span A to Z …
ADMIRAL THEATER: Admiral Neighborhood Association president Larry Wymer mentioned at the January meeting earlier this week that the fourth new auditorium at the historic Admiral Theater would open today. We went by just before the day’s screening schedule began, and indeed, it has:
The newest to open is Pier 4 – our photo shows just a corner of it – go see for yourself! You can see the theater’s schedule here – current movies are “Hidden Figures,” “Patriots Day,” “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” and “Sing.”
ARTHUR’S: Also at the ANA meeting, Arthur’s proprietors talked about the “all-day breakfast café” – something they thought was missing in this area – that they are bringing to the former Angelina’s spot at 2311 California SW (as reported here in November). “We’re locals at heart.” As is so common with new businesses, it’s taking time to get everything done, so now they are hoping to open next month.
ALAIR GRAND OPENING: The gift shop that opened last month in part of the former Curves space at 3280 California SW will celebrate its grand opening tomorrow, 10 am-7 pm, and you’re invited. Alair proprietor Shandon Graybeal tells WSB, “We will have Nibbles Food Truck, wine, beer, and champagne, and tons of raffles, samples, giveaways, and sales throughout the day.”
BIG AL BREWING CLOSING: As reported Thursday on our partner site White Center Now, almost 8 1/2 years of fun at Big Al Brewing in White Center is coming to an end after tomorrow – they’re closing. So if it’s a favorite spot of yours, you’ll want to go hang out Saturday, 1-10 pm – they’ll have the game on!
ZIPPYDOGS AWARD: Congratulations to Elise Lindborg and Kelli Henderson, co-proprietors of Morgan Junction-headquartered promotional-products provider ZippyDogs, for winning “Business of the Year” from the Greater Seattle Business Association. The award will be presented at the GSBA Business and Humanitarian Awards dinner at the waterfront Marriott on February 16th. One other West Seattleite will be honored that night, according to the GSBA’s news release about the awards: King County Executive Dow Constantine will receive special recognition as a “Voice for Economic Justice.”
Family, friends, and fans will gather on Sunday to remember Melvyn Poll – a longtime Alki resident, prominent member of the Jewish community, and distinguished opera singer – who died on Thursday. Here’s the remembrance shared with the community:
It is with great sadness that we share with you the passing of our beloved Melvyn Poll on January 12th, 2017.
A Seattle native, Mr. Poll began his musical career at Temple De Hirsch Sinai in the children’s choir, directed by Samuel Goldfarb. A graduate of Lakeside School, the University of Washington undergraduate and the UW Law School, his vocal career spanned continents and decades, a recent highlight being his singing the National Anthem at the Husky football games for the last several years.
He will be forever remembered for his profound love of family and friends, his quick wit, and enormous generosity and talent.
He is lovingly remembered by his wife Rosalind, children Sydney and Shaya Calvo, Ryan and Lisa Poll, and adored grandchildren Sasha, Eli, and Sally.
A memorial will be held Sunday, January 15th at 1:00 pm at Benaroya Hall Recital Hall.
Remembrances may be made to the Seattle Symphony or the charity of your choice.
Read more about Mr. Poll’s achievements here.
(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to firstname.lastname@example.org)
After a question about work under way now at currently vacant EC Hughes Elementary (7740 34th SW) – likely to be the new home of Roxhill Elementary starting in fall 2018 – we followed up today with Seattle Public Schools.
As we reported back in October, the district planned to take the ~$14 million Hughes renovation project to bid early this year, and district capital-project manager Paul Wight tells WSB today that’s still the plan: “The Capital Department is preparing the documents for bidding. We will advertise this project on February 7th, open bids on March 8th, award the contract in April and start construction in May.”
Our photo above, taken this morning, shows some signs of work there now. Wight says it’s “critical maintenance” that must be done before the renovation work:
The Seattle Public Schools Facility Department has cleaned up the front landscape, removing some unhealthy vegetation and trimming up heathy trees and plants. They are also repairing the historic wood windows from the interior of the building. Our Masons are working on the brick repairing mortar by tuck pointing the brick as well as installing seismic ties around the egress points of the building. The brick will be cleaned, resealed, and anti-graffiti coating installed.
The city Department of Construction and Inspections, Wight adds, is reviewing the permit drawings and is expected to issue the permit “within the next month or two.”
One more thing: The public is welcome to the district’s next meeting with the Roxhill Elementary PTSA, which Wight says is set for 6 pm February 13th at
Roxhill EC Hughes. (Our report on the district’s briefing with the PTSA last fall is here.)
New program in The Junction this year: You can “adopt” one of the 95 flower baskets that adorn light poles in the business district from May through September. The program just announced by the West Seattle Junction Association offers “a name plate affixed to the historic light pole [adjacent to your basket] showing who adopted the basket” – in your name, someone else’s as a gift, or in memory. A $145 donation – yes, WSJA is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization – gets you sponsorship of one basket. It’ll be professionally planted and designed, and WSJA takes care of watering and maintenance. Lots more info is here – along with a form you can use to adopt and pay online right now (or scroll down that page for info on adopting by postal mail).
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
First thing this morning, two hours before dawn and six degrees below freezing, Jenni Watkins officially opened Dutchboy Coffee at 16th SW and SW Holden.
She has big dreams for her little coffee shop at Highland Park’s busiest intersection.
And it has a big namesake – Dutch, the 8-year-old Newfoundland who belongs to Jenni and husband Todd Watkins. Or maybe, they belong to him. He won’t be a fixture at the stand that carries his name and likeness – but they wanted him to be there for our photo op and interview on this grand-opening morning.
“He’s brought us a lot of friends,” laughed Jenni. “We didn’t know half our neighbors” before that.
Things have changed. This morning, she says, almost everyone on their block came by to be part of Dutchboy Coffee’s opening day.
“We just love our neighborhood,” Jenni smiles. A neighbor, in fact, did the design work for their signage and menu.
Dutchboy Coffee is the first business for Jenni and Todd, who also helped build the stand – while you might recall that other coffee stands (JoJo’s and Jenny’s) used to be in that spot, this is a brand-new structure, with custom features added to a modular building.
Jenni and Todd have lived in Highland Park since 2004 and “decided we’d like to work with the community.” Dutchboy is starting simple, with coffee (Fonté) and pastries (Little Rae’s), and planning to build on that – Jenni is working toward baking for herself within six months or so (that requires a whole different level of permit), and hoping to add sandwiches someday.
When warmer weather arrives, tables and chairs will appear in the space between the Dutchboy stand and the commercial building that shares the site on the southeast corner of 16th/Holden.
For starters, Dutchboy’s hours are 6 am-2 pm Mondays-Fridays. That could change; Jenni will be listening to customers’ suggestions and requests. And in the meantime, their main message is on a board by the stand’s front window: “Welcome to Your Dutchboy!”
WSDOT just published that new video about working hyperbarically with the Highway 99 tunneling machine as it continues a maintenance stop before moving on to dig the final 25 percent of its 9,270-foot path – explaining, among other machines, that the machine is underwater as well as underground and is therefore something of “a submarine.” During the maintenance work that’s been under way since January 5th, crews have replaced 250 cutterhead tools, like these:
(Click any view for a close-up; more cameras on the WSB Traffic page)
7:11 AM: Good morning! Below freezing yet again – upper 20s. No incidents reported in or from West Seattle right now.
LOOKING AHEAD: For the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Day holiday, here are the transportation changes you can expect Monday:
METRO – Reduced weekday service
WATER TAXI – No service
SOUND TRANSIT – Regular weekday service for Route 560; light rail, Saturday schedule
CITY STREET PARKING – No charge at city-run pay stations/meters
SCHOOL BUSES – No school, so no buses
7:55 AM: Still no incidents to report. One other look ahead: If you need to get to the Eastside this weekend, be aware that eastbound I-90 will be narrowed all weekend, starting at 11 pm tonight – here are the details.
Before we get Friday coverage going – two views from Thursday night’s moonrise. Thanks to David Hutchinson for the closeup above, and Laura Winger for the wide view below:
Because of the full moon, we have “king tides” peaking this weekend – high tides of 12.9 feet are charted for 6:49 am Saturday and 7:27 am Sunday.