Gay City has expanded E Pike library and resource center — and Three Dollar Bill Cinema as a new roommate

Time to hit the books (Image: Gay City)

Capitol Hill’s Gay City has opened its new library and resource center on E Pike. It also has a new partner in the expanded space.

Gay City, which promotes wellness in Seattle’s LGBTQ community by providing health services, connecting people to needed resources, allowing for artistic expression, and building community, has maintained a growing library for years. The Michael C. Weidemann LGBT Library, at Gay City first opened in 2009, when the nonprofit inherited the LGBT Lending Library from the closing Seattle LGBT Community Center, and now houses more than 8,000 books..

“It’s really about making our existing resources more accessible,” Gay City executive director Fred Swanson said of the opening of the new, larger facility. “More space means more room for people to access services, and more opportunity for programing through the library.” Continue reading

CHS Pics | Trans Day of Remembrance lanterns rise above Broadway

Some of the lanterns quite literally crashed and burned. Others soared high into the night sky of Capitol Hill, orange dots drifting away. A night of inspiration and remembrance at Seattle Central Tuesday included speakers, plenty of mingling, and an emotion-filled project to write the names of transgender people who lost their lives in the past year on paper luminaria before setting the lanterns free to drift away over Broadway.

“I can either sit down and say that is none of my business. Or I can say, ‘You are just like me, come stand next to me. I got you,” organizer and Seattle Central student Astro Pittman told the crowd assembled inside a large meeting room at the Broadway school about his motivation for bringing the event together. Continue reading

Seattle’s $5.9B budget is set: more SPD and firefighters, Navigation Team expansion amid tighter belts at City Hall

Seattle City Hall (Image: Seattle.gov)

The City Council Monday finalized its efforts to fill in a few blanks in Mayor Jenny Durkan’s 2019-2020 Seattle budget, her administration’s first budget and, most likely, one of the few municipal $5.9 billion budgets in the world to get slapped with the “austerity” label.

“The goals of inclusion and economic opportunity have guided us for these past 12 months, and this approved budget invests in these promises and commitments and shows we can live within our means,” Durkan said in a statement following Monday’s 8-1 votes approving the 2019 and 2020 budgets. “From giving Seattle’s young people free ORCA and a passport to their city, to urgent action on homelessness, to protecting our immigrant and refugee neighbors, we’re continuing to build a more inclusive Seattle with true economic opportunity.”

“Using this budget as our guide, we must continue to be stewards of taxpayer dollars and invest in a more affordable, inclusive and vibrant future for all who call Seattle home,” Durkan said Monday.

District 3’s Kshama Sawant, representing Capitol Hill, the Central District, and nearby neighborhoods, was the sole vote in opposition to the spending package and called the process at City Hall business as usual for the “establishment” council and mayor.” Continue reading

After ‘positive’ talks, New Seasons and community groups opposing new store set for Central District agreement — UPDATE: ‘Disappointed’

UPDATE 11/19/18 12:30 PM: Despite hopes of an agreement from representatives on both sides Friday, Monday, activists and community groups who have been engaged with New Seasons said they are “disappointed” that officials “gave no indication the company is committed to change.”

“We can’t wait around while New Seasons’ corporate leadership thinks a little more about respecting our community’s values, and we’re not going to stop calling on them to respect workers’ rights,” the group writes in a statement sent by the Good Jobs Coalition.

“We’re not going away,” the group writes, “and we call on other community members to join us…”

The full statement has been added at the end of this post.

The grand opening of New Seasons in Ballard included this group of protesters

Original report: Unlike what happened at its May opening in Ballard, you probably won’t see protesters greet New Seasons when it opens at 23rd and Union in 2019.

A company spokesperson said it plans to meet Friday’s deadline for a response after positive talks with community groups aligned to push back on the Portland-based grocery chain’s labor practices and its ownership’s anti-LGBTQ politics as it readies to open in the Central District.

Friday’s deadline is part of a community coalition’s demands for the chain:

During their meeting, organizers gave New Seasons co-president Kristi McFarland and other local reps a list of demands. If the demands are met, they said, their campaign against the company would stop. Among other things, they asked New Seasons to sign a neutrality agreement to let interested workers unionize, disclose workforce demographics, let low-income customers use Fresh Bucks to buy produce, stock affordable staple foods, and donate some of their local profits to affordable housing projects and community land trusts.

Nicole Keenan, executive director of Puget Sound Sage, an advocacy group dedicated to low-income people, communities of color, immigrants and refugees, has been part of talks with New Seasons and also categorized the negotiations as positive in a conversation with CHS Friday afternoon. Keenan joined reps from groups like the Squire Park Community Council in the discussions with New Seasons.

While we don’t yet know the specifics of the New Seasons response, the community campaign against the store which has included a “newseasonstories.com” website and neighborhood yard signs, appears to be approaching a fruitful conclusion.

UPDATE 3:40 PM: A New Seasons representative sent over the company’s response to the community groups. We’ve added the full letter at the end of this post. A company representative also provided the following statement:

At New Seasons, we are proud of our established track record as an active civic partner that is committed to directly engaging in building community in a way that reflects our shared progressive values. We’ve been working with a Central District Advisory Council made up of business leaders, local nonprofit representatives and neighborhood council members to understand the needs of the neighborhood, but when we were contacted by this group we wanted to hear their perspective as well. At the meeting, we shared our commitment to championing higher wages, comprehensive benefits for all kinds of families, an inclusive culture, as well as using our voice to stand up for affordable housing, hunger relief and other important social justice and workplace issues that affect everyone. We also took away some valuable ideas from our conversation that we will be exploring further.

Continue reading

FBI confirms what Seattle already knows: More hate crime reported in the city

The overflow crowd at Temple De Hirsch Sinai during Seattle’s vigil for the Tree of Life shooting victims

The FBI confirms what Seattle already knows — citizens here are reporting more and more hate crimes.

The federal agency this week released its 2017 “uniform crime reporting” statistics for reported bias crimes across the nation showing a 17% jump over 2016’s totals. But the FBI’s data for Seattle shows a much larger issue — hate crime reports nearly doubled in the city in 2017 with reports of religious bias up a whopping 275%:

“The FBI’s Seattle Field Office serves a diverse community. In the wake of the tragic events in Pittsburgh that impacted the nation, we want to assure Washingtonians that their safety and civil rights are a top priority,” Acting Special Agent in Charge Michael F. Paul of the FBI’s Seattle Field Office said in a statement on the report’s release. Continue reading

Gay City spreads out as Kaladi Brothers settles into new (old) home on E Pike

A long, fruitful partnership on E Pike has ended — but everybody is still friends. Kaladi Brothers Coffee is now spread out in its own space just a few doors down as its longtime partner Gay City sets to work on creating a new library and resource center in the former cafe space.

CHS reported on the planned move for Kaladi this summer as the Alaska-born coffee chain’s sole Seattle location readied for the new E Pike address. While the move was logistically easy thanks to an underground connection in the building, the buildout of the former Sun Liquor bottling facility took a bit longer than expected. Continue reading

CHS Pics | Capitol Hill rally against Trump administration’s transgender ‘definition’

Over 150 people gathered at Capitol Hill’s Seattle Central College Saturday afternoon for a trans right rally and march on Broadway.

The effort came amid the Trump administration’s Department of Health and Human Services plans for changing federal civil-rights law to include a definition of sex as “a person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth.”

Mac McGregor, trans advocate and a past Seattle City Council candidate, spoke to the crowd and acknowledged the morning’s attack on the Jewish members of Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh and called for solidarity with those who face oppression.

“We have to stand arm in arm and remember we are all connected,” McGregor said. “We are all human beings who contribute to our communities and society.” Continue reading

Gender Justice League announces founder Askini to step down — UPDATE

Askini at this year’s Trans Pride Seattle march

The Gender Justice League, a nonprofit with an important presence on Capitol Hill providing support and advocacy for transgender and gender diverse people, has announced executive director Danni Askini has stepped down from the organization she helped found:

Gender Justice League has been rapidly growing in size, budget, and influence. However, under our current model, we will not be able to sustain this rate of growth indefinitely. We are taking this opportunity to undergo a strategic restructuring of our organization.

Askini’s legal situation, meanwhile, is fraught. Continue reading

With new leader, Capitol Hill LGBTQ film nonprofit raises curtain on 23rd Seattle queer film festival

50 Years of Fabulous, a documentary on the The Imperial Council, screens October 20th

Capitol Hill LGBTQ film nonprofit Three Dollar Bill Cinema is celebrating the kickoff of its 23rd annual Seattle queer film festival with a new leader..

TWIST: Seattle Queer Film Festival 2018

“Three Dollar Bill Cinema is about bringing our community together around queer film and media,” new executive director Ben McCarthy says. “Being able to see ourselves reflected on the screen is really important for our community, and it’s important to come together and see a film in a theater, the way it’s supposed to be seen, rather than on your phone or on your laptop or tablet or even your TV at home.” Continue reading

‘Seattle Rainbow Housing’ — Study shows affordability crisis hits LGBTQ seniors even harder

Capitol Hill Housing is planning LGBTQ and senior affordable housing at 14th and Union

A report commissioned by the city’s Office of Housing found that there are several key challenges facing seniors in Seattle’s LGBTQ community, including inadequate services, lack of stable affordable housing, and high rates of discrimination and bias in housing.

“We wanted to understand the LGBTQ senior housing and service needs in the local area, especially given how the cost of housing is increasing,” Karen Fredrisken Goldsen, a professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Washington, said. “Certainly there are concerns regarding the lack of housing affordability and accessibility in Seattle, King County.”

The report, led by Fredrisken Goldsen, found that Seattle “is falling behind other major metropolitan areas in addressing LGBTQ housing and senior needs.” Meanwhile, cities like San Francisco, California have invested millions of dollars to address the needs of LGBTQ older adults.

“With LGBT older adults, if they lose housing, it’s often difficult for them to secure new housing,” Fredrisken Goldsen said. Continue reading