Author Archives: jkelet01

Celebration and community: The Saint Abuna Aregawi celebration at St. Emanuel Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church

On Sunday, October 29th, members of the greater Seattle area’s Orthodox Christian Ethiopian and Eritrean community gathered at the St. Emanuel Ethiopian Orthodox Twahedo Church on Beacon Hill, in Seattle, Washington, to celebrate one of their saints: Abuna Aregawi. Aregawi was a sixth-century Syrian monk one of the nine saints that fled persecution in the Christen Roman Empire (or Byzantium) and established the Debre Damo monastery in Ethiopia. At St. Emanuel’s, Ethiopians and Eritreans celebrated him by telling his story, singing, and danced. (The head priests and some community members had been at the church since 1:00 a.m. that morning for the event.) Additionally, the head priests conducted fundraising for a new church that the congregation plans to build near Skyway. The celebration ended with a community meal.

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A priest from another Ethiopian Orthodox Church adjusts a microphone while candles burn at St. Emanuel Orthodox Ethiopian Church in Beacon Hill in Seattle, WA. on Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017.

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Mulu Abesef (left), claps with women while deacons sing and play drums in the front of the room at St. Emanuel Orthodox Ethiopian Church in Beacon Hill in Seattle, Wash. on Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017. “We retell and celebrate the story of Saint Abuna, Aregawi and his journey to Ethiopia,” said Abesef after the celebration.

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Performers sing, beat drums, and dance to symbolize communicating with angels at Saint Emanuel Orthodox Ethiopian Church in Beacon Hill in Seattle, Wash. on Oct. 29, 2017.

 

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A deacon claps while a drummer plays his instrument at St. Emanuel Ethiopian Orthodox Church on Beacon Hill in Seattle, Wash. on Oct. 29, 2017.

 

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Megabi Aelaf Surafel (right), sits alongside priests from other regional orthodox churches while another congregation member speaks at St. Emanuel Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Beacon Hill in Seattle, Wash. on Oct. 29, 2017.

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“Member Daniel” speaks from the pulpit while attendees listen at St. Emanuel Ethiopian Orthodox Church on Beacon Hill in Seattle, Wash. on Oct. 29, 2017

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A congregation member holds out an umbrella for a donation for the new church building at St. Emanuel Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Beacon Hill in Seattle, Wash. on Oct. 29, 2017. The new church will be built on a large parcel near Skyway and will break ground next year, according to Abesef. She added that the community is currently raising money to pay off the cost of the land so that they can get a bank loan to build the structure itself.

 

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Art depicting Jesus and a sheep hangs from a pillar at St. Emanuel Ethiopian Orthodox Church on Beacon Hill in Seattle, Wash. on Oct. 29, 2017.

 

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Attendees bow at the cross at the end of the ceremony at St. Emanuel Ethiopian Orthodox Church on Beacon Hill in Seattle, Wash. on Oct. 29, 2017.

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Two attendees embrace as people move out of the building to an adjacent outdoor tent to eat and drink at St. Emanuel Ethiopian Orthodox Church on Beacon Hill in Seattle, Wash. on Oct. 29, 2017.

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Attendees filter out into the adjacent outdoor tent area where traditional Ethiopian food is served alongside tea, coffee, and an alcoholic beverage consisting of fermented honey and hops at St. Emanuel Ethiopian Orthodox Church on Beacon Hill in Seattle, Wash. on Oct. 29, 2017. “It’s sweet, but watch out; don’t drink too much [of it],” said Abesef.

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Head priest of the church, Ana Zemelak, smiles at a young child after the ceremony during the community meal at St. Emanuel Ethiopian Orthodox Church on Beacon Hill in Seattle, Wash. on Oct. 29, 2017.

 

 

#Blacklivesmatter protests follow May Day chaos

05.04.2015

Following May Day evening’s anti-capitalist march and its rapid devolution into a reported frenetic crazed mess of excessive SPD flash bangs, pepper spray, and some trashcan flipping anarchists, Saturday brought two #Blacklivesmatter protests, demonstrations which received significantly less media coverage than their Friday counterparts. The actions were a show of solidarity with the civil unrest that has rocked Baltimore, originally sparked by the police killing of Freddie Grey. The day’s marches remained peaceful, with no property damage, arrests, or other altercations occurring. Below are photos that were taken at Saturday’s rallies, and look through my tweets for in-the-moment coverage. Also peep some of my shots in today’s Morning Fizz on Publicola.

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Sawant calls affordable housing forum “ground-zero” for a “housing justice” movement (and other stuff)

04.25.15

I’ve got a new piece up on Publicola: coverage of last Thursday’s affordable housing town hall organized by city council members Kshama Sawant and Nick Licata. They introduced a resolution endorsing rent control and condemning the statewide ban on the policy mechanism—legislation which they hope will be ratified by their colleagues on the council with enough public support and grassroots pressure. The council members want to stoke a social movement akin to last year’s successful campaign for a $15 minimum wage by capitalizing on the abundance of anger and anxiety over Seattle’s through-the-roof rents, emotions which were reflected at Thursday night’s meeting. Naturally, local pro-development advocates are livid, and that’s all in there.

Standing room only at Sawant & Licata's affordable housing town hall.

Standing room only at Sawant & Licata’s affordable housing town hall.

Also, not a single 11th grader at Nathan Hale High School in north Seattle took the SBAC test—a state mandated common core oriented standardized test—King 5 reports. The test (and its equivalent: PARCC) has been rolled out in numerous other states, and resulted in similar controversy and resistance. In case you missed it, read my feature story for Real Change News from early April on the build up to Nathan Hale’s massive student opt-out.

Recap: the Hill’s gentrification conversation continues and “secret shoppers” reveal Washington health insurance companies are misleading customers on contraceptive coverage

04.18.2015

Recent reporting:

– A recent ‘sting’ study produced by the National Abortion Rights Action League [NARAL] and Northwest Health Law Advocacy [NoHLA] revealed that numerous health insurance providers in Washington are providing misleading and inaccurate information about contraceptive coverage, with some even charging copays for FDA-approved methods—a practice that is illegal under the Affordable Care Act. Over at Publicola we reported on the study’s findings, and the Washington Health Insurance Commissioner’s response. Check out my write-up (the first item) in last Thursday’s morning fizz. We tried calling the eight sample companies for comment, but none of them warmed up to us.

Page two of the NARAL/NoHLA study executive summary, highlighting the findings

Page two of the NARAL/NoHLA study executive summary, highlighting the findings

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Environmentalists launch blimp to call on people to join “kayak flotilla” to stop Shell oil drilling rigs

04.03.15

On Thursday morning, environmentalists gathered at Jack Perry Memorial Park to launch a blimp reading “ShellNo, Join the Flotilla!” The blimp floated upwards of 150 feet in the air and served as an effort to both bring attention to the eventual docking of Shell oil drilling rigs in Seattle waters—terminal 5 at the Port of Seattle to be specific—and call on the public to participate in direct action via a kayak flotilla to prevent the Shell fleet from parking in Seattle. Check out my photos and The Stranger’s Sydney Brownstone’s reporting on Thursday’s demonstration, as well as more shots below. And here’s some backstory on the Port of Seattle’s efforts to bring Shell’s vessels to the port.

Activists prepare to launch the blimp at Jack Perry Memorial Park.

Activists prepare to launch the blimp at Jack Perry Memorial Park.

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The life and death of a bill which would’ve split the Seattle school district

03.30.15

As the Legislature continues to nervously stare down both the McCleary State Supreme Court ruling to fully fund public k-12 education the and recently passed initiative I-1351 to reduce class sizes, several Seattle legislators proposed a controversial bill to deal with long-standing issues in city schools. Their solution? Split the Seattle school district.

The Origins

The prospect of such a bill had the Seattle education community up in arms. But to the relief of critics, the bill died and never made it to the House floor for a vote.

The legislation had previously seemed to be carrying momentum behind it. Towards the beginning of the legislative session, democratic representatives Eric Pettigrew and Sharon Tomiko Santos of the 37th legislative district co-sponsored house bill 2048, which would have required that any school districts be larger than 35,000 students be split in smaller separate districts by 2018. Seattle school district has close to 50,000 students.

Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos (D-37)

Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos (D-37)

In a joint statement Pettigrew and Santos called out the district for “failing” to produce better academic outcomes and opportunities for students and proclaimed that “something has to change for the students of South Seattle schools.”

Word about the bill had gotten out at that point, and representatives from the Seattle Council Parent Teacher & Student Association [PTSA], Seattle Public Schools [SPS], and others testified against the legislation at a February 10th education committee hearing. All who spoke were vehemently opposed to HB 2048. Seattle School Board Member Dr. Stephan Blanford called the bill “shocking,” adding that it would exacerbate pre-existing inequity in Seattle schools.

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Space needle employees protest 1000 days without a raise

03.19.15

On the morning of Wednesday March 18th employees of the Space Needle Corporation gathered outside the Seattle landmark to protest working for over 1,000 days without any kind of raise. After employees, and council members Kshama Sawant and Nick Licata spoke to the assembled crowd, the group marched over to the Space Needle Corporation offices only blocks away and handed a list of demands with signatures of employees to the corporation’s public relations manager. Media were quickly told upon entry onto the premises of the office to stop taking pictures and filming. Most of us snagged a few shots anyway. Read The Stranger’s Sydney Brownstone’s reporting on both the event and the space needle’s history of labor-related issues.

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Recap: Burien ordinance 606 meets opposition, the lingering effects of marijuana criminalization, and #Blacklivesmatter at UW

03.13.2015 This one is a long recap of recent work and projects – spanning around five weeks or so – covering news and events in and around the Seattle area. Settle in.

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Recap: First Hill streets to get a makeover, contempt of the homeless is thinly veiled by hygiene concerns, and SPD protest tactics deepen mistrust of police

01.25.15

This overdue post brings you a smattering of recent projects that I’ve produced or worked on in some capacity over the past three weeks:

  • My photography was published alongside several nimby stories in the January 14th issue of Real Change News: one on the ACLU condemned attempt by the City of Burien to criminalize poor hygiene, and the other regarding Ballard residents squawking at the prospect of having low-income or homeless people frequenting a under construction urban rest stop in the area. Both articles were written by RCN staff reporter Aaron Burkhalter.

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#Blacklivesmatter protesters march to King County youth detention center

01.11.15

On Saturday, January 10th, #Blacklivesmatter protesters calling for police accountability marched from Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park to the King County Youth Detention Center at 12th and Alder in the Central District. The march was organized by an activist group called Women of Color for Systemic Change, and remained entirely peaceful without arrests or other incidents. The march shut down several intersections along Rainier avenue south and elsewhere where protesters discussed broader institutional racism and more specific issues such as gentrification in Seattle and the proposed construction of a new 210 million dollar Youth Detention Center. Many bystanders raised their hands or fists in solidarity with the march. Below are photos taken at the event.

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