Activism History

Went to The History of Exclusion on the Eastside

We invite you to take a deep dive into the history of East King County through a racial equity, transportation, and affordable housing lens.

The past and the present are connected; we will explore the ways that past practices, policies, and laws have contributed to the housing struggles and inequities communities face today in Eastside cities.

We’ll learn about ACTIONS we can take together to advocate for equitable solutions in land use, transportation, and affordable housing policy.

  • Japanese immigrants began farming in Bellevue in 1890s — cleared a lot of spaces that had been forested for farming and future development — book Strawberry Days
  • Black workers at the Kirkland shipyards weren’t allowed to live in Eastside housing and had to take the slow ferry from Seattle
  • Washington State 1921 Alien Land Law banned the sale of land to Japanese people and Asians
    • I see echoes here in banning Chinese people  from buying real estate “here” / Vancouver if they’re not going to live in it — housing should be made available to rent but they should still be allowed to buy
  • Japanese people sent to internment via trains on Eastrail 😬
    • I had thought it was all through the Puyallup / Auburn fairgrounds
  • Race covenants across the Eastside, exclusionary zoning keeps housing costs high and encourages suburban development patterns
  • Community Councils keeping veto power over land use laws to “maintain community character” — YES THE HOUGHTON CC IS FINALLY GONE!!! 👏👏👏
  • In 2019, 44% of Bellevue residents spoke a language besides English! That’s compared to 14% in 1990.

Eastside for All

Livable Kirkland

Culture Food

Watched On the Job with Priya Krishna

Watched How To Run Brooklyn’s Legendary Tamale Cart | On the Job | Priya Krishna | NYT Cooking from YouTube

Food carts are everywhere in New York City. Hot dogs, coffee, halal, mangoes … The list goes on. There are 20,000 street vendors fueling the city daily, yet …

There is no way this woman makes enough from the amount of work she puts in. Three days of work to make her tamales and maybe she doesn’t even sell them all?! It’s amazing she’s advocating for herself but also super shitty the risk it poses to her as an undocumented immigrant — she says “I’m not scared anymore” but I’m scared on her behalf. It is infuriating that America can’t see the value this woman brings to the community and grant her legal status to open up more opportunities to someone with this kind of work ethic.

Our approach to immigration is ridiculous. The woman in this video was an accountant in Mexico but couldn’t find a job in the US, so now she illegally sells homemade tamales. Here in Seattle, I know an Indian woman whose husband got a tech job but her visa doesn’t allow her to work even though she is *also* a computer scientist. The Egyptian man whose family owns the gas station downtown is an engineer but wasn’t able to transfer his license here, so he works the counter at a quickie mart. What. The. Fuck. How does it benefit the US to deny these skilled people the ability to work in their fields?

We watched the whole On the Job series and there are a bunch of dedicated entrepreneurs running awesome businesses that support their community — and as an outsider feel totally unsustainable because everything relies on them and the help their families can give. It is exhausting watching them. They have the hustle, but I wish they could get some success without having to burn themselves out.

A guy running a bodega has become TikTok famous and people stop in from around the country to enjoy his friendly service: they can hand over any random ingredient in the shop and ask him to make it “ocky style” and he develops an original sandwich recipe on the fly. Crumbling chips or candy onto the sandwich, using doughnuts as the bread, concocting something delicious and unique for over 100 customers a day — plus making hundreds of standard sandwiches — plus he restocks the shelves and runs the cash register if his ten year old nephew can’t be spared to work it.

A woman running a pop-up Instagram restaurant gets her cousin to drive up from Pennsylvania to help each weekend, and a volunteer delivers the food. She has a full-time job and spends her “free time” running the food business. Her expenses have skyrocketed with inflation — mushrooms went from $14 to $20 — but she wants to keep it affordable. Please tell me you are making money at least.

Political Commentary

Grappling with the Guilt of Your Ancestors

Liked My People Were in Shipping by Mike Monteiro (Medium)

Trump was the “immigrants took our jobs” meme made pustulant flesh. Some of America, mostly white, mostly male, decided this was exactly what America needed. To grow up white and male, within a system that is designed specifically for you to succeed, and yet not succeed… Well, that’s embarrassing, and Trump was giving those white males an out. They could blame immigrants.

“And what my father did, you know it don’t mean shit, I’m not him.” – Bright Eyes

How can we be responsible for what our ancestors did? We didn’t exist. And yet, we benefitted from their actions, so we do hold some responsibility in making up for the wrongs they perpetrated against the ancestors of others. Reparations for slavery and genocide. Land back to the people it was stolen from.

Federally “owned” land, no brainer, return it to Native sovereignty, or share jurisdiction.

We can’t give back what now an individual owns, but we could give Natives first right of refusal on the land.

And there is no excuse for continuing not to honor treaties. We know the treaties screwed Native Americans and still can’t uphold the shit our ancestors promised? Pathetic. The only reason is so the government can keep extracting oil and natural resources.

And we must recognize tribes that we’ve denied federal recognition. What a crock of shit.


Read The Magic Fish

Read The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen

Tiến loves his family and his friends…but Tiến has a secret he’s been keeping from them, and it might change everything. An amazing YA gr…

Gorgeous artwork well complimented by the simple color palette. At the end there’s a really interesting explanation of the fairy tale character / costume design that I enjoyed learning as well. The way he draws hair reminds me of a coloring book I had when I was little where I thought the girls were unbearably beautiful.

I really like how the story weaves together the main character’s story, his mother’s, and several fairy tales that they read together. The fairy tales are nicely woven with the narrative, which is also moving. I especially like how casting the stories against the mother’s immigration story lend them new meaning.