Fewer summer meal sites will serve WA kids this summer

New report highlights nationwide decline in summer meal participation.

According to an announcement on June 29, about 700 schools, parks, community centers, apartment complexes, trailer parks and other sites will be providing summer meals to hungry children across Washington this summer, down from 723 last summer. Availability of summer meals has been dropping in Washington and many other states for several years, according to a new report from the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC). Roughly 60,000 fewer meals were served to children last summer than in the summer of 2008. On an average day last July, slightly more than 33,000 children received a summer meal – only 11 percent of children who sat down for a free or reduced-price lunch during the school year. These declines come at a bad time – as the recession is making it tougher for a growing number of families to make ends meet and provide their children with three balanced meals every day. Many children in low-income families rely on school breakfasts, lunches and snacks during the school year. Summer meals fill a critical nutrition gap for these kids. The largest drop in meal participation last year occurred in schools, according to FRAC’s report, which pulled data from USDA. It appears that King County will have nearly 40 fewer sites than in 2009, primarily due to a drop in sites in the City of Seattle Summer Sack Lunch Program, and the Federal Way and Renton School District programs. Additional sites can still be added, however. Families can find nearby summer meal sites by visiting: http://www.parenthelp123.org/resources/food-resources/summer-meals or by calling 1-888-4-FOOD-WA (1-888-436-6392). To apply for other benefits visit: http://www.parenthelp123.org/benefit-finder

Note: 2010 data used for this report was provided by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction; site and sponsor information is current as of June 25, 2010.

More Than 500 to Become U.S. Citizens At Seattle’s Annual Fourth of July Event

Ethnic Heritage Council Presents an Exciting and Colorful Program

On the Fourth of July, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) presented10 prospective new U.S. citizens from 84 nations before U.S. Circuit Court Judge Richard C. Tallman for naturalization, with Seattle’s Ethnic Heritage Council as host. The most represented nation of origin is India, with 48 people, followed by the Philippines, with 44. Speaking at the ceremony are U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, U.S. Congressman Jim McDermott (7th District), Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed, King County Executive Dow Constantine and USCIS District 20, Seattle, District Director Anne Corsano. Master of Ceremonies will be Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn. The new citizens were serenaded by the Air National Guard Band of the Northwest, here from Spokane; and the Total Experience Gospel Choir. The Children of the World, resplendent in ethnic costumes, lead the pledge of allegiance, and Gene Tagaban, Swil Kanim and Peter Ali presented a Native American performance. The U.S. Army Color Guard presented the colors.

23 Arrested in Non-Violent Direct Action for Immigration Reform

Twenty three peaceful demonstrators were arrested downtown on Wednesday, June 23 after holding a Street Fair in support of comprehensive immigration reform which started in front of the Federal Building and then moved into the streets, closing down traffic and drawing interest from local workers, tourists, and fans heading to a Seattle Mariners game. The action, planned by the Washington Immigration Reform Coalition (WIRC), aimed to refocus attention on the desperation felt by families separated for years and workers unable to protect their own rights. The 23 advocates who risked arrest, cheered on by hundreds of supporters from across the state, took action today, in part, to challenge the recent bill passed in Arizona that legalizes racial profiling. The lively demonstration featured performances by local bands and artists, including hip-hop group Blue Scholars’ MC Geologic, Gabriel Teodros, and Def Jam Poet Mark Gonzales. Senator Adam Kline and Representative Sharon Tomiko Santos joined today’s action to speak out in support of immigrants and oppose any copycat legislation.

Street Fair for Comprehensive Immigration Reform on Wednesday to Raise the Stakes

The Washington Immigration Reform Coalition staged a street fair on Wednesday, June 23, in support of comprehensive immigration reform in front of the Federal Building in downtown Seattle. The event was part of series of escalations nationwide aimed at ratcheting up pressure on Congress and President Obama to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill this year. While other recent actions around the country have included marches, fasts, and sit-ins, Seattle’s Street Fair was a unique event bringing together artists, musicians, workers, and faith leaders to educate the public about the moral crisis caused by our broken immigration system and its ongoing toll on the economy and Washington families. Featured were performances by local musicians, DJs, and spoken word artists. Faith leaders lead participants in building an altar that honors the contributions of immigrants to this country and that symbolizes the countless families that remain separated due to backlogs and deportations. Labor leaders, students, and other community leaders spoke about why they are taking part in the next steps of this escalating campaign for reform.

Saving an American Treasure

The Tule Lake Committee, working in partnership with the NPS’ Tule Lake National Monument, has completed the fundraising needed to begin preservation work on a WWII-era historic structure located within the Tule Lake Segregation Center National Historic Landmark area. Since 2007, the Tule Lake Committee sought to raise funds to match a $197,000 Save America’s Treasures grant (1:1), a Congressional earmark that was given to stabilize and preserve the last of six historic structures in the 33-acre Segregation Center National Landmark area. That fundraising challenge was met this week when the California Cultural and Historic Endowment (CCHE) approved a grant award of $138,000 that completed the remainder of the SAT match. With the SAT matching funds in hand, the Tule Lake Committee can refocus their attention on the next major project — fundraising to restore the iconic jail located in Tule Lake’s infamous stockade area.

Why the University of Washington created a class that’s bigger than hip-hop.

While George Quibuyen was studying history and American ethnic studies at the University of Washington in the early 2000s, he was introduced to a musically inclined classmate named Saba Mohajerjasbi, studying economics. In short order the duo began making politically charged hip-hop as Blue Scholars, shooting to the forefront of Seattle’s hip-hop revival during the past decade. Now better known as Geologic, Quibuyen was contacted by Third Andresen—once a fellow collaborator in the Filipino-American arts collective Isang Mahal, now a Ph.D. student in the UW College of Education—to speak on his hip-hop experience to the students in a class titled It’s Bigger Than Hip-Hop. The course used hip-hop to teach about social issues like community organization and the empowerment of minority groups—a method the faculty found so successful, they recently confirmed it would be offered annually during winter quarter. In the class’s twice-weekly meetings, students investigated hip-hop—a movement that originated in the 1970s in the South Bronx—and its social and historical contexts through the lenses of the various systems of oppression that forged it, from capitalism to white supremacy. They were also encouraged to attend local hip-hop events, and as a final exam produced and performed in a campus-wide event. While understanding hip-hop’s performance aspects were important in the course, instructors aimed to instill an understanding of its historical and social importance rather than teach performance itself. Now that it’s been renewed as a regular part of UW’s course catalog, It’s Bigger Than Hip-Hop will be offered as a VLPA (visual, language, and performing arts) credit, moving out of the realm of theory and becoming arts-oriented.

Workshop for individuals working in refugee community

Coalition for Refugees from Burma has organized and developed Burma 101 workshop for individuals (counselors, case managers, health care providers, teachers, social workers, lawyers, DV advocates) who work with and serve the fastest growing refugee community in Washington State and the USA. Leaders from ethnic communities will provide backgrounds and highlight areas of cultural sensitivities, so that we can better understand and support the refugees. Workshop will be on June 30th from 9am-1pm (including authentic ethnic lunch) at the 2100 Building Boardroom. Please see attached brochure for additional information. Registration is online at burma101.eventbrite.com

A solution for Washington Residents until the national health care reform kicks in, in 2014

With more than 100,000 Washington residents on a waiting list to get into the state’s Basic Health program right now, and with most coverage expansions not getting underway until 2014, this new program fills the gap for many who need insurance today and can’t wait. Right now there are limited or no alternatives for low-income people needing health care coverage. Because today’s individual plans are beyond most people’s affordability, all that’s left are emergency rooms where treatment cost the most. Without an insurance solution today, families continue to be put into financial jeopardy. The Washington Health Program will provide thousands of uninsured people in our state a bridge until health coverage expansions begin under federal reform in 2014. This plan is not a long term solution for everyone who is uninsured, but it will provide relief for uninsured people. Community Health Plan of Washington announced that they will exclusively cover the state’s uninsured via the new Washington Health Program launched by the Washington State Health Care Authority (HCA). More than 2000 primary care physicians across Washington, in almost 500 primary care centers will provide care to Washington Health Program members. However, members have the choice to go out-of-network and receive care from any provider, incurring a higher cost-share for their care. Community health centers (CHCs) will continue to treat many of these individuals.

New Asian Men in Vancouver group

Every now and again, Asian men in Vancouver face a unique set of challenges that can sometimes be confusing. These can range from feeling a lack of identity and lost about their place in the world, frustration at being stereotyped as either geeky and unattractive or as kung fu masters in movies, to being insecure and lacking social skills because of their (our) over-critical culture. Whatever their challenges may be, there is a huge spillover effect into every area of their lives, from their social lives to dating and career. Sometimes in a small way, sometimes in a big way, depending on the individual in question. Until Asian men take a step back and really become aware of what is going on for them in their lives, they are hard pressed to deal with it. As something that is a first in Vancouver, an Asian Men’s Social Empowerment group in Vancouver has been created and designed to offer support to Asian men and their peers. Non-Asians are welcome to join as well. The objective is too see how much and how far Asian men can help each other improve and make our mark in North America. Please RSVP by going to www.vancouverasianmen.com.

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