Where arts and diversity meet
It wasn’t lack of talent that made critics tell LZ Granderson he wouldn’t be able to pursue a career in sports journalism. It was his dreadlocks.
As Granderson put it, he’s not sure what made it more difficult for him to break in to the industry: being black or being gay.
But today, as a commentator for CNN and ESPN, he clearly didn’t let those comments stop him.
“Can you be yourself in this industry? The answer is yes, yes you can,” he said.
Granderson, along with KING 5 anchor Lori Matsukawa (center) and former Ms. Magazine managing editor Helen Zia, (far right),were only two of the inspirational diverse journalists I (girl on the left!) had the pleasure of encountering at the 2012 UNITY Conference held in Las Vegas Aug. 1-4.
Roughly 6,000 journalists, representing Asian American, Hispanic, Native American, black and gay/lesbian associations showed up to mix, mingle, learn from one another and in my case, play in the hotel pool’s wave-maker.
Aside from being in fabulous Vegas and getting the opportunity to make new friends and professional contacts, what struck me most at the conference was how broad that word, diversity, truly is.
As Granderson showed, it’s not merely a word that refers to a skin color. It encompasses people’s thoughts and feelings, who they choose to vote for or who they happen to fall in love with. It’s appearance, ethnic background, way of getting from here to there (some of us walk, some of us use a wheel chair, for example), way of communicating (For example, American Sign Language).
Diversity this week meant the following characters all under the same roof: print folks, journalism profs, broadcasters, photographers (and “iPhoneographers”), and people who, like me, will always consider themselves journalists even if they pursue other paths.
Many people talk about more diversity as a good thing – it’s the evolution of our ability to understand, empathize and at best, love one another for our differences. I think this conference, the largest gathering of diverse journalists in the world, acted as a reminder for just how all-encompassing diversity truly is. There’s room for everybody, dreadlocks included.
Please listen to this fantastic new song by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, “Same Love” featuring spoken-word artist and singer Mary Lambert. Macklemore, the Seattle-area rapper known for his sermon-like rhymes and warm, raspy voice gives a thoughtful reflection on the need for marriage equality and a simple plea for the day “that his uncles can be united by law.” As he points out, a piece of paper, a new law, won’t do much to change a culture that will continue to grapple with homophobia. But it’s a start.
When everyone else
Is more comfortable
Rather than fighting for humans
That have had their rights stolen
I might not be the same
But that’s not important
No freedom ’til we’re equal
Damn right I support it
As a gosei (fifth-generation) Japanese American, I can tell you that Nikkei Concerns is a unique hub, not just in the Seattle area, but among the West Coast Japanese American community. In addition to being the second-largest Japanese American nonprofit in the U.S., this elder-care and health center located in Seattle’s Rainier neighborhood, provides an opportunity for Japanese Americans and Japanese nationals living in Greater Seattle to come together as a community, as these two groups are often fairly removed from one another. Additionally, as a group often thought of as being diminished due to our high out-marriage rates to whites, Nikkei Concerns is a place where young people such as myself reinvigorate our cultural pride through volunteering. We get to connect with our roots through our elders, many of whom were interned during World War II.
Nikkei Concerns has become a home to this crucial generation, the nisei, including former members of the 442nd Battalion, who were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor this year.
As the organization expands, it’s come to provide a niche for seniors of Asian and other backgrounds, besides just Japanese.
If you’re looking to join a group of volunteers that range in age from the very young to the very old, and are driven by kimochi – a deep, compassionate sense of caring, consider helping out at Nikkei Concerns.
At a glance:
- Founded in 1975
- Second largest Japanese American nonprofit in the U.S.
- 1,800+ volunteers
- 12,143 volunteer hours
700 Sixth Ave. S, Seattle
The City of Bellevue will hold a free media relations and publicity workshop from 9:30 a.m. – noon, July 16 at Bellevue City Hall, 450 110th NE.
Attendees willl examine strategies related to print, radio, TV, and social media and hear from Lori Matsukawa, KING 5 News Anchor; George Griffin, President of G-3 Associates Public Relations; Tiffany Ran, Editor, NW Asian Weekly; Veronica Abraham, Radio Host, ESPN Deportes, Community Engagement Supervisor at Big Brothers Big Sisters; and Jess Estrada, Social Media Strategist, FreshJess.com.
For more information and to RSVP, please contact Kevin Henry at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kevin Henry at the City of Bellevue is looking for Filipinos who worked as migrant farm hands in the 1950s or 1960s who can help a local film producer who is writing a script on the subject for a film to be produced in late 2012.
Please contact email@example.com for more information.
Harvey Milk dreamed for a tomorrow filled with the hope for equality and a world without hate. His ground-breaking election in 1977 as one of the world’s first openly gay elected officials-and its most visible one- symbolized the freedom to live life with authenticity to millions of LGBT women and men around the world.
Harvey served less than a year in public office before his brutal assassination but his life profoundly changed a city, state, nation and a global community. His courage, passion and sense of justice rocked a country and stirred the very core of a put down and pushed out community, bringing forward new hope and a new vision of freedom.
Source, Harvey Milk Foundation. Learn more at: http://milkfoundation.org/
Sometimes I forget how recently the Holocaust happened.
While my grandfather and his parents were living in a Japanese American Internment camp during World War II, across the North Atlantic Ocean, Jews were dying in a very different kind of camp — too unfathomable, horrific and hateful to accurately describe.
We can learn so much from the people who survived these atrocities. As a college student at WWU, I certainly had a profound experience when I got to hear Auschwitz survivor and Bellingham resident, Noémi Ban speak. She really put things into perspective for my angsty 19-year-old self. I listened as Ms. Ban described the joy she’s found in her life, her family and great-grandbabies — all proof that Hitler never got her. She was the one who triumphed in the end.
I was so moved and inspired by her courage, her resilience in the face of such tragedy, that from then on, the mundane trials and tribulations of young adulthood didn’t carry the same weight. I valued life in a way I never had before.
Young people can benefit tremendously from these elders. That’s why, whether you’re Jewish or not, I encourage you to go see Chief Rabbi Israel Meir Lau (pictured above as a child being held by a fellow Buchenwald survivor, 1945) speak during his historic visit to Seattle June 21–24.
Chief Rabbi Lau, former Chief Rabbi of Israel, at age 8, was one of the youngest survivors of Buchenwald.
Mark your calendar to join him this June for one or more of his inspiring talks around Jewish life today, and Holocaust remembrance.
If you go:
7:30 p.m., Thursday, June 21 at Bikur Cholim Machzikay Hadath: 5145 S. Morgan St., Seattle
Speech: “From Shoah to Rebirth” followed by a book signing.
8:25 a.m Shabbat Services, Saturday, June 23 at Congregation Ezra Bessaroth: 5217 S. Brandon St., Seattle
10:15am speech: “I believe. Even in the Holocaust.”
Noon Lunch and speech: “What Makes the Jewish People One Nation”
Lunch: ($20 per family) must be reserved and prepaid.
7 p.m., Bikur Cholim Machzikay Hadath: 5145 S. Morgan St., Seattle
Speech: “In Praise of Peace and in Condemnation of Conflict”
8 p.m., Sephardic Bikur Holim, 6500 52nd Avenue St., Seattle
Shabbat Afternoon Services
8:30pm Speech: “Education: The Foundation of the Continuity of the Jewish People”
All lectures are free
Want to learn more about our diverse community on the Eastside? Check out the new Bellevue Diversity Network page, full of information about programs and events in Bellevue and the Puget Sound. You are encouraged to participate and post relevant events.
It’s here as promised – “Hapa Stories,” a seven-minute film segment about growing up mixed-race in the Asian/Pacific Islander community. It’s produced by Sunny Wonder Media, commissioned by the City of Bellevue, and hosted by yours truly.
A Japanese-Filipina-Irish American, I hope to support the growing hapa movement in the U.S. and beyond, which encourages us of mixed-race to embrace the cultures, languages, foods and ancestors who have made us who we are.
When Kevin Henry at the City of Bellevue asked if I was interested in doing a short film, I jumped at the chance, despite that, as a print journalist, I never thought I’d try my hand at anything that involved a video camera. I always thought I’d leave that to the pros like Lori Matsukawa.
After my one small taste of broadcast experience; writing the script, recruiting and interviewing sources and filming the intro and outro, I was exposed to a world of finesse, polish and presentation we print journos don’t typically have to deal with from our cluttered desks, frank conversation and less-than-formal attire that make up the newsroom.
But I learned that it’s always good to step out of your comfort zone. Especially when doing so helps promote a message you believe in. Like hapa pride.
The nonprofit, Latino Community Fund of Washington State, will hold a fundraising gala dinner and auction, “Nuevas Raices: New Roots in the Northwest,” at 7 p.m., Friday, May 18 at the Arctic Club Hotel in Seattle.
With less than 2 percent of all funding from the philanthropic community being awarded to Latino-led or Latino-serving institutions, this event raises funds to be distributed in the 2012 LCF grants program – directly benefiting nonprofit organization that serve the Latino community.
Guests will be treated to dinner, silent auction, dessert, live music musical entertainment, dancing, a welcome from Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and support from other government officials and community leaders.
The silent auction will include items from Suite Restaurant Lounge, Adicora Swimear, Suite No. 237, Blue Nile, Edgar Martinez Foundation, Tannya Bernadette Wardrobe Stylist, The Enhanced Home, Barra Fuerza Verde, Swink Style Bar, Seattle Seahawks, Seattle Mariners and the Seattle Sounders, among others.
The Arctic Club Hotel is located at 700 Third Ave., Seattle.
Tickets are $150.00 and tables are $1500.00; available at http://www.latinocommunityfund.org/.