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Lifting the Voices of Those Harmed by our History of Violence; Covid & Vaccine Updates; Expanded Homeless Outreach Coming to D1; West Seattle Bridge Update March 19; Support for Small Businesses and Nonprofits; Seeking Pedestrian Advisory Board Members; South Park Community Center; Eviction Moratorium Extended; Free Recycling Event; Office Hours

Lifting the Voices of Those Harmed by our History of Violence

According to Stop AAPI Hate, from March 2020 to the end of February 2021, there have been at least 3,795 reported hate crimes targeting Asian Americans.  I am shocked, saddened, and angered by the murders in Atlanta but I am not surprised.  In Seattle, discriminatory legislation targeting Chinese residents in 1885 was followed by mob violence to expel Chinese residents from Seattle in 1886.

In this moment, we have been asked to lift to voices of AAPI women, so that they can tell their own stories.  For this reason, I am not going to focus on my reaction to this tragedy, but instead share the reactions of those whom we must listen to and hear their powerful words. #StopAAPIHate

Georgia State Representative Bee Nguyen said: the killings sit at the “intersection of gender-based violence, misogyny and xenophobia” in the United States.  “We have a history of violence against Asian Americans in this country — including an immigration exclusion act directed at an entire continent. The rise in AAPI hate crimes is a continuation of the brutality AAPIs have endured since the inception of this country…”

 Marylin Strickland, U.S. Representative for Washington’s 10th congressional district, said: “Racially motivated violence should be called out for exactly what it is. And we must stop making excuses or rebranding it as economic anxiety or sexual addiction.”

Sung Yeon Choimorrow, the Executive Director of National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF), said: the attacks are being felt by Asian-American women “at a personal level that we’ve never experienced before and it’s because we’ve all lived and experienced racialized sexual harassment and violence that is directed at us”. Race and gender identity played a role in the deadly violence, she adds, as did the fact that the women worked in the service industry. “They were completely invisibilised. Asian American women, our experiences, are very particular because of our race and gender. White women don’t understand why my experience of sexism and sexual harassment is different than their experience of sexual harassment.”

Melissa Borja, an assistant professor in the Asian/Pacific Islander American studies program at the University of Michigan, said: “Asian American women are objects of desire, and this idea is reproduced in so many different ways, in so many different movies and musicals. It’s deeply rooted.” Borja recounted a time when her son was approached by a white man “who asked for advice for finding an Asian woman for a mating relationship. It hinged on a view of Asian women as being less than human in ways that are really troubling to me…We know Asian American women are particularly affected by the past year and the anti-Asian racism that we see associated with the pandemic. The impact is really important, and it’s been really striking to me last night and today how sad they are, how angry they are. Earlier today I just got off the phone with my 71-year-old mother who didn’t want to go on her afternoon walk because she felt afraid. That impact matters perhaps more than the intent of the killer.”

Catherine Ceniza Choy, a professor of ethnic studies at the University of California, Berkeley, said: “Saying that this violence is not racially motivated is part of a related history of the denial of racism in the Asian American experience. Racism and white supremacy have been and tragically continue to be part of the Asian American experience. Killing Asian American women to eliminate a man’s temptation speaks to the history of the objectification of Asian and Asian American women as variations of the Asian temptress, the dragon ladies and the lotus blossoms, whose value is only in relation to men’s fantasies and desires. This is horrifying. Stop fetishizing us.”

Hye-Kyung Kang, chair of the Social Work Department at Seattle University, said: “The dehumanizing narrative of Asian women is nothing new. The confluence of racism and misogyny sexualizes and objectifies Asian women as a victim and a temptress. The Page Act of 1875, which prohibited the immigration of unfree laborers and women brought for “immoral purposes,” specifically named Chinese women. In the 1900s, Chinese women were accused of being prostitutes…In popular culture, Asian women are portrayed as colonial sex objects who literally sacrifice their lives to serve white men who refuse to see them (“Miss Saigon,” “Madame Butterfly”). Until very recently, nearly all Hollywood films that had Asians almost always featured Asian women as wordless rape victims of a war. Asian women’s lives are rendered cheap like the low-wage jobs that we often occupy: domestic workers, nail-salon employees and cleaners. For the most part, we don’t even exist, on screen, in textbooks or in the national consciousness.

“These narratives matter. The most potent weapon of anti-Asian racism is erasure — of our voice, our presence, our humanity. It shouldn’t take a mass murder to take notice. But this is an opportunity to change the narrative. How to fight against anti-Asian violence? Hold our society accountable for the racism, colonialism and misogyny that render such violence possible. And put our lives at the center. Let us tell our own stories.”

Photo credit NBC NEWS

Covid Updates: More Groups Are Vaccine-Eligible, Where to Find Vaccine, Join the City’s Vaccine Notification List, South Park Popup Clinic

Starting 3/17, additional groups of people are now eligible to receive vaccination in Washington state.

Some of these new categories can be confusing.  If you’re not sure if you’re eligible….

Folks in Phase 1B Tier 2 join these groups of people who were already eligible:

  • Health care workers
  • High-risk first responders
  • Residents of long-term care facilities
  • All people over 65 years-old
  • All people over 50 years-old who live in a multigenerational household
  • Educators and staff for pre-K through 12th grade
  • Child care providers
  • Veterans enrolled in the VA may receive vaccination from the VA – read more here.

Governor Inslee announced yesterday that additional groups will become vaccine-eligible on March 31st:

  • Anyone with two or more comorbidities
  • Anyone between the ages of 60 and 64
  • Anyone living in congregate settings (correctional facilities, group homes for those with disabilities, those experiencing homelessness, etc.)
  • Additional workers in congregate settings (restaurants, manufacturing, construction)

And here’s a look forward at future eligibility tiers:

Finding a Vaccine Appointment:  The City of Seattle received 14,000 vaccine doses this week.  If you are vaccine-eligible, sign up for an appointment here:

Sign up for the City’s vaccine appointment notification list or call (206) 684-2489.  Once you confirm your eligibility and join the City’s notification list, you will receive an email notification when vaccination appointments become available at any of the City’s three fixed sites in Rainier Beach, West Seattle, and the Lumen Field Event Center.

I had the opportunity to visit the new Lumen Field mass vaccination site last weekend, and was filled with hope and optimism – as well as a gratitude to the many City employees and partners who made it possible.

My webpage is hosting an updated map of approved vaccine providers in District 1, since the state’s Vaccine Locator website is incomplete.  I am also advocating with the state Department of Health to update their website, and to provide vaccine doses to these local providers.  Please remember that vaccine supply is still a significant problem, and inclusion on the map is not a guarantee that they have vaccine available.

Vaccine supply is still insufficient to meet the demand statewide.

However, the state Department of Health is sharing some promising news about increases in April.

South Park Popup Vaccination Clinic:  The Seattle Fire Department Mobile Vaccination Teams (MVTs) are partnering with several community-based organizations that primarily serve Latinx communities to post a pop-up vaccination clinic at the South Park Community Center this week.   Special thanks to  Villa Communitaria for its work to help community members in South Park register for the South Park popup clinic.

In addition, the MVTs will administer the Moderna  vaccine to older adults living in affordable housing buildings throughout Seattle. Since launching its vaccination effort on January 14, the City of Seattle has administered 24,038 vaccinations to eligible vulnerable adults. These vaccinations have occurred at 86 Adult Family Homes, 58 affordable housing buildings with seniors, ten pop-ups, and the city’s three fixed vaccination sites. Roughly 65 percent of those vaccinated by the City identify as BIPOC communities.

Expanded Homeless Outreach Coming to District 1

Last fall, I sponsored successful legislation to add 3 homeless outreach workers to focus on West Seattle, Delridge, South Park, and Rainier Valley, as well as additional workers in other communities around the city.  The legislation also provides a pot of flexible funds the workers can use to provide flexible financial assistance to people living unsheltered.

This week, the City announced that three outreach organizations have been awarded contracts for this work.  District 1 neighborhoods will be served by two outreach workers hired by REACH, and one hired by Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle.  Both REACH and Urban League are experienced at outreach work and connecting people living outdoors to services and shelter.

Following several months of negotiations last year among myself, Councilmembers Lewis and Morales; the Mayor’s Office; and homelessness outreach providers including REACH and LEAD; Council approved legislation to memorialize a new agreed-upon approach to managing encampments of people living unsheltered that focuses on problem-solving.  This shared framework, already in operation, will lead to:

  • more voluntary compliance and good neighbor activities to address hazards and concerns;
  • fewer encampment removals;
  • improved health and safety for people living in encampments, their housed neighbors, and people who work nearby.

West Seattle Bridge Update March 19

The City Council Transportation and Utilities Committee heard an update on the West Seattle Bridge and related work this week. It was similar to the presentation at the Community Task Force last week. Thanks to committee chair Councilmember Pedersen for holding this briefing. Here’s a link to the presentation.

Low Bridge Repair Work

The rehabilitation work on the Spokane Street (lower) Bridge will, like the West Seattle Bridge, include carbon fiber wrap:

Here’s the schedule for both bridges; at the 30% design threshold we can confirm, as in earlier estimates, that the target date for re-opening the West Seattle bridge is mid-2022. As noted below, the schedule and budget will be updated at intermediate design (60% design). This is anticipated for July.

Contracting

SDOT is seeking a community workforce agreement and priority hire for the repair of the bridges, ensuring hires form economically distressed ZIP codes. This requires approval from the USDOT.

Reconnect West Seattle

SDOT is seeking community suggestions for potential Reconnect West Seattle projects in 2022 to address the impacts of the closure of the West Seattle Bridge.   Please send any suggestions to SDOT by March 31, at westseattlebridge@seattle.gov.

Highland Park Home Zone

SDOT provided an update to the earlier draft of Highland Park Home Zone projects. The community selected a Home Zone as part of Reconnect West Seattle, to improve pedestrian and road safety, with the neighborhood experiencing increased cut-through traffic since the closure of the West Seattle Bridge. 550 community comments were submitted in the SDOT survey about this project.  Here’s a link to larger images of the slides below.

I’ve heard from community members about a number of the locations with safety improvement projects, where there is increased cut-through traffic. For example, speed humps and curb bulbs on Holden to the west of 16th Ave SW, and speed humps on 20th Ave SW just before the switchback to 21st Ave SW that some use to access Delridge Way:

The second slide includes for example a number of speed humps on SW Barton Street between 8th Ave SW and 21st Ave SW.

South Park and Georgetown both have Home Zones as part of Reconnect West Seattle.

INFRA Grant Application

Earlier this week the Council and Mayor co-signed a letter to USDOT Secretary Buttigieg in support of a USDOT INFRA (Infrastructure for Rebuilding America) grant, for around $20 million. Thanks to SDOT, the Mayor’s Office and Councilmember Pedersen for their work with my office on this as well.

The City is also seeking $25 million in funding from the state during the current sessions.

Earlier this week, the members of the City Council Transportation Committee voted to adopt legislation Councilmember Pedersen and I co-sponsored, to accept $12.4 million in grants from the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC).

Thank you to PSRC Executive Board members Council President González, Councilmembers Lewis and Strauss and Mayor Durkan for their work at the Executive Committee, and to PSRC Transportation Policy Advisory Board members, Council President González, and Councilmembers Juarez and Pedersen for their work on the PSRC Transportation Policy Advisory Board for making the recommendation to move this funding to the Executive Board for final action. I appreciate the support and commitment of the City’s elected officials to attaining funding for this critical work.

To date, $124 million has been secured for the overall project. In addition to the $100 million approved by the Council, the total of grants secured is $15.9 million, with $9 million from the Seattle Transportation Benefit District.

Support Available for Small Businesses and Nonprofits

Missed the Paycheck Protection Program 14-day priority application for small businesses and nonprofits with 20 employees or fewer?  No worries, you can still apply for PPP until March 31st.  Need help applying?  Learn more here, and contact OED at 206-684-8090 or oed@seattle.gov.

Round 4 of the state’s Working Washington Grants is coming soon.  Learn more and sign up to be notified when the application is available here.

Pedestrian Advisory Board Seeking Two New Members

The Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board is seeking two new members to serve two-year terms starting this spring through March 2023.  You can apply though March 23rd.

The Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board serves as the steward of Seattle’s Pedestrian Master Plan (PMP) vision. The Pedestrian Advisory Board advises the Mayor, City Council, and City Departments and Divisions on projects, policies, and programs that improve and/or affect walking and rolling conditions in Seattle.

The Pedestrian Advisory Board encourages Black, Indigenous, and other people of color, people with disabilities, bi-cultural or bi-lingual residents, youth (under 30), seniors (over 65), and/or LGBTQ candidates to apply.  If you have questions, or if you’d like reasonable accommodations for the application or interview, please reach out to Polly Membrino at polly.membrino@seattle.gov.

Community Quotes Needed for South Park Community Center Art Installation

Seattle Parks and Recreation is collecting inspiring quotations from South Park community members to be used as part of an onsite art installation at the South Park Community Center redevelopment. They’re looking for examples of quotations from artists, authors, local leaders – anyone whose voice reflects and celebrates South Park’s diverse, vibrant community.   Email your quotations to toby.ressler@seattle.gov.

Mayor Extends Eviction Moratorium and Other Relief Measures

On Monday, March 15, the Mayor extended the current Seattle eviction moratorium through June 30, 2021. This extension includes the moratorium on evictions for small businesses and non-profits, as well as an extension of the Utility Discount Program’s Self Certification pilot.

The eviction moratorium says that your landlord “shall not initiate an unlawful detainer action, issue a notice of termination, or otherwise act on any termination notice, including any action or notice related to a rental agreement that has expired or will expire during the effective date of this Emergency Order, unless the tenant’s actions constitute an imminent threat to the health or safety of neighbors, the landlord, or the tenant’s or landlord’s household members.  Further, no late fees or other charges due to late payment of rent shall accrue during the moratorium.”

Community Reuse & Free Recycling Event

When: Saturday, March 20 between 9am – 12pm

Where: South Seattle Community College North Parking Lot (6000 16th Ave SW)

See here for more information about the event and for items not accepted.

Virtual Office Hours

On Friday March 26, I will be hosting virtual office hours between 2pm and 6pm, with the last meeting of the day beginning at 5:30pm.

Due to the nature of virtual office hours, please contact my scheduler Alex Clardy (alex.clardy@seattle.gov) in order to receive the call-in information and schedule a time.

Additionally, here is a list of my tentatively scheduled office hours which will continue as virtual office hours until indicated otherwise. These are subject to change.

  • Friday, April 30, 2021
  • Friday, May 28, 2021
  • Friday, June 25, 2021
  • Friday, July 30, 2021
  • Friday, August 20, 2021
  • Friday, September 24, 2021
  • Friday, October 29, 2021
  • Friday, December 17, 2021
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