Earlier this month I published 6 of my COVID-19 Safety Not Stigma portraits in the International Examiner’s special BIG issue. This week, I published 7 additional portraits in the South Seattle Emerald. It’s been really special to see the images get out there and do their work providing anti-racist counter narratives during the pandemic. I continue to be deeply grateful for the community members who have allowed me to share their images and stories. There’s more though! In total, I’ve actually photographed 21 portrait sets, so keep you eye out of the others…
Support the ID – Community United has been such a beacon to me during the pandemic. Seeing thousands of folks show up, on and then offline, to support small POC-owned business (and flower farmers!) has warmed my heart more than I can say. It was an honor to write this piece for the South Seattle Emerald featuring interviews with cofounders Bill Tashima and Sarah E Baker. Thank you Bill and Sarah for everything you do! And thanks to all the members of Support the ID- Community United for the incredible support you give!!! 💖
Throughout this coronavirus pandemic it’s been hard for me to feel positive about anything. I’m deeply frustrated with inadequate government response and the refusal of so many Americans to follow safety protocols. But THEN I have the chance to be on the ground and follow incredible grassroots efforts like Solidarity Flowers that provide covid relief by/for our local communities of color. And I feel a gazillion times better. Shout out to all the folks on the ground who don’t wait for inequitable US systems to protect their communities and take survival/resilience into their own hands–as they always have.
My latest for the South Seattle Emerald. It was such an honor to photograph and write about Seattle sisters Nyema Clark and Shanelle Donaldson farming for Black health and liberation. In a time of pandemic when Black lives are being ravaged because of centuries of racism, Shanelle’s and Nyema’s food/environmental justice work is more critical than ever. This piece continues a story series I started last summer on Womxn and Nonbinary Farmers of Color in Washington State. The series is supported by NW Journalists of Color and the Facebook COVID-19 Journalism Project.
Many of you have heard this week about the Ohio prison where 73 percent of inmates tested positive for COVID-19. Because of overcrowding and unsanitary conditions, prisons, jails, detention centers are literal “tinderboxes” for the coronavirus. All over the country, we are seeing some of the biggest outbreaks happen behind bars. I spoke to activists and organizers about what’s been going on in Washington State’s incarceration facilities and it’s so worrisome. From lack of testing and lies about the virus, to inhumane treatment of people incarcerated, there’s a lot we all need to know. In my latest for the Emerald, please read about what’s happening to one of Washington’s most C-19 vulnerable populations–the thousands of human beings behind bars–and learn what you can do to help.
There is an anonymous street artist in my neighborhood who put up 31 portraits of fabulous women for every day of Women’s History Month (March). It was tons of fun trying to find the art, talking to the artist on the phone, and writing about the installation for the South Seattle Emerald. Aaaaand the artist didn’t tell me their name or pronouns, so their ID remains anonymous. Love it! We need uplift and escape like this so much right now. Grateful for artists.
So excited to share I’ve been awarded a $5,000 freelancer grant by the Facebook COVID-19 Journalism Project to support my coronavirus coverage of marginalized peoples and communities in South Seattle and beyond!!! 5k might be small stuff to some, but it’s HUGE for me. I’m not a staff writer or photographer and I lost almost all other contracts when the US outbreak began. So my income dropped dramatically. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to generate much media during this time which deeply saddened me. With this award, I’ll be able to continue my work not only through the pandemic but also, importantly, during its fallout. Many funders won’t take risks on an independent WOC storyteller with a radical lens (can’t even tell you how many grants I’ve been turned down for). MUCH gratitude to the Facebook Journalism Project, Local Media Association, and Lenfest Institute for Journalism for this award and for investing in local WOC freelancers. And big thanks to Marcus Green and the South Seattle Emerald for encouraging me to apply when I didn’t think I stood a chance.
I started working on this piece three weeks ago. King County was ground zero for the US outbreak and Seattle artists were some of the first and worst hit economically by the pandemic. As an artist myself, it was heartbreaking to see my community suddenly lose all their work (they’re still losing work). I wanted to write something that named not only our struggles, but also our resilience in the face of those struggles. Yet with bad news growing seemingly by the minute and my depression/anxiety along with it, writing became excruciating. I wasn’t sure I would ever finish. Happy to say, however, thanks to the support of family and friends and the determination of my own resilience, I FINISHED and the piece went live today, on my birthday! Gratitude to all the incredible artists who spoke with me for this special piece (you inspire me) and to the wonderful people whose encouragement got me to the finish line