I haven’t forgotten about you. It’s been a while since I was in touch, I know. I left my job on June 30, but I’m as busy as I’ve ever been. In the mornings Nick makes eggs and I make coffee, then we sit down and talk over those coffee and eggs. I have grown to appreciate the team Nick and I are so much more lately. He is such a good partner and allows me to be my full self.
We are both feeling like we could be far more focused and less zoned out on social media. We are constantly checking Facebook, Reddit and other social media on our phones in our apartment. We’re addicted in a time of such tumult and uncertainty in our city and country.
After Nick leaves for work in the morning, I attempt to sit down and apply for jobs. I also attempt to write to you. Since I’ve left work, I also have reclaimed time at the boxing gym, at least three times a week. I walk to and from the gym, which is about 2.5 miles roundtrip. My body feels so much better since exercise is part of the routine again.
One of my bad habits is chewing the cuticles around my fingernails. I’ve always done this as an adult, when I’m anxious. The only time period I didn’t chew my cuticles was during my two years in Peace Corps in Cambodia. Part of the reason is because I was nervous about germs when I didn’t have access to good healthcare.
The past two weeks, it’s been fairly common that I bit the cuticles around my nails to the point of bleeding. I’m anxious about being jobless and the job hunt. I’m anxious about the impending primary election in our mayoral and city council races. The election is four days from now, which is weird because we’ve been voting for two weeks. All of our ballots are mail-in from our houses, there are no in-person polling locations.
I’m also anxious about what’s going on in Washington, D.C. Things seem to be falling apart more so than the previous couple of months. Just this afternoon we got the ominous news that Trump has fired his Chief of Staff, the only person in the White House with an inkling of some sort of balance or sanity. Here was the headline in The Washington Post a couple hours ago:
This was the response on Facebook from civil rights activist and journalist Shaun King who lives on the east coast:
Our news has also been dominated by this horrific news that came two days ago:
I posted this response on Facebook minutes after the news broke, as Nick and I were having eggs and coffee:
No matter what’s behind this announcement from Trump (some believe it is to distract us), it is scary when a marginalized group is targeted by the leader.
In other huge news, Trump fired his White House Communications Director Sean Spicer and replaced him with Anthony Scaramucchi. This new dude is a complete unhinged circus:
There was also huge GOOD news. A few Republican senators helped defeat yet ANOTHER attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare.
There was a huge sigh of relief, collectively, across the country. Many were angry though that the senators were getting all the credit. I liked this article on Facebook and shared it:
You see? I’m spending a lot of time online. I feel like I can’t turn away from the news and the dumpster fire that is our government right now.
Seattle’s mayoral and city council elections are also heating up as our August 1 primary approaches in four days. Lawyer, educator and activist (and my friend) Nikkita Oliver is seeing a lot of very vocal support. For instance, the national civil rights activist I mentioned above, Shaun King, is sharing information, pictures and videos of Nikkita to his thousands of supporters around the world (in addition to having spoken for her live at an event in Seattle months ago). The videos he’s sharing of Nikkita from the debate are getting upwards of 90,000 views.
Here are some odds and ends regarding the campaign that I’ve captured because I liked them when I saw them in my social media feeds or when friends shared them with me.
This is Nikkita with three guys who I now consider among my best friends. I connected with Joey, Jon and Brad through our work on Nikkita’s campaign. We’re all part of the group we’ve coined “Queers for Nikkita”:
A bus schedule with Nikkita’s face posted over it:
Nikkita with Neighborhood Action Coalition members at a house party in Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood:I am so hopeful that Nikkita can win the August 1 primary. The field of mayoral candidates will go from 20+ to only two after the primary. We need her in this race and we need her to win it.
We also need Jenny Durkan to lose. She is backed by more than $250,000 from Amazon and the Chamber of Commerce. She spent her career prosecuting folks of color and protesters. She also is the only candidate saying she wants to continue the brutal homeless encampment sweeps. She was the first lesbian U.S. attorney and has garnered a lot of support from wealthy gay folks. That is why we started the affinity group “Queers for Nikkita”. Here is a sticker that is fairly prominent on signs in our neighborhood. This is Jenny Durkan.
I’m hearing a lot of people questioning Nikkita’s age and experience, but I think those questions are also a reflection of where people stand on their journey to see things through a race equity lens. Nikkita is trying to change the way things are done by running a campaign owned completely by the community so that the PEOPLE are prioritized first, not corporations. She will return home to the most marginalized communities daily. She carries the accountability on those folks first and foremost, on her shoulders. The other candidates only interact with the most marginalized as part of their job. She is the chance the most marginalized people in our city have to capture power and a voice in City Hall.
I am short on time right now to type more. I want to give more of my time and thoughts to Nikkita’s campaign. So, I apologize for the pure sloppiness of this post.
I also spent three days at an incredibly intense national training for LGBTQ political candidates and campaign leaders. It’s called Victory Fund Institute. It was in Seattle, and I had time, so that made it possible for me to apply and attend. I found a lot of the information about how to win a campaign useful. It was certainly geared toward mainstream Republican versus Democrat campaigns and candidates that have a lot of money or the potential to get it. It was not geared to the more radical leaders trying to run for office as socialists or another less mainstream party. I found that bit to be a weakness of the training as I gravitate to the more radical folks these days who have a real vision of transforming the system.
So, it was an education on how to navigate a campaign and win in our current flawed system. The training was far less accessible to the most marginalized folks in our society than those of us who have time and a couple hundred dollars to attend. I thought a lot about that during the days I was there. I look forward to sharing what I learned with friends who couldn’t be there.
Victory Fund also endorsed Jenny Durkan in our Seattle mayoral campaign and I have a lot of issues with that (as described above). I voiced my opposition to Durkan with one of the staffers who had a say in that endorsement decision.
I did meet and learn a lot from LGBTQ folks who are really stepping up as public servants in cities across the country, which was cool. Here is a picture one of the instructors took on the last day:
I want to also tell you that I’ve spent a lot of time lately talking one-on-one to folks (for hours daily) about homelessness and how we can start building a coalition effort to end it. As I’ve talked about before, homelessness is a growing crisis in Seattle–the home of two of the world’s richest men, both of them billionaires.
Our coalition will be made up of lots of organizations and folks who all know far more than me about homelessness and how to solve it. Our first goal is to end the homeless encampment sweeps in our city that only serve to displace and further hurt folks living outside.
During one recent conversation with a Seattle public elementary school teacher in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, I learned that there are houseless children in virtually every public school in the city. I learned that at many schools there are children whose families live in cars. I learned that the number of students who are homeless has multiplied.
Here are some local news headlines that stuck out to me in Seattle lately:
I also continue to show up in news story photos from the day we passed an income tax in Seattle. This one was from a national story on National Public Radio (NPR):
And, here are some other national headlines from The Washington Post: