Tag Archives: Seattle

3 Seattle Podcasts With Unique Voices

By Kate Clark | Special to The Seattle Times

Anyone can talk about anything.

That’s the beauty of podcasting, says Eula Scott Bynoe. She’s one-third of “Hella Black Hella Seattle,” a new podcast creating community for people of color in Seattle.

Bynoe, Jasmine Jackson and Alaina Caldwell started “Hella Black Hella Seattle” in May because, they say, there was nothing like it, and there needed to be. They planned to take a break from the podcast (hellablackhellaseattle.com) in September, but after an overwhelmingly positive response, they decided to keep it up.

“You know this is such a cis-gender, white city,” Bynoe says. “It is that weird thing where you see people of color but you don’t see them, we walk by them but we don’t hear them, we don’t know what’s going on with them. A real big part of the show, too, is to say a lot of people are here and they are doing really amazing things that are being recognized world-round, but not necessarily in our backyard.”

Listening to “Hella Black Hella Seattle” is like dropping in on a conversation, with the trio discussing topics ranging from race to Seattle’s best happy hours, as well as interviewing at least one significant Seattleite per episode.

“We are hella black and hella Seattle, that’s what we are promoting,” Caldwell explains. “If you identify with one of those that’s awesome; if you don’t, that’s not what we are trying to do for you.”

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What Seattle can learn from the Bangalore tech boom

By Kate Clark The Seattle Globalist

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A view of construction from Bangalore’s Government Museum, South India’s second oldest museum.

If you’ve lived in Seattle over the past couple decades, you’ve watched it turn from a grungy working-class backwater into a worldwide tech capital. You’ve watched Amazon grow until it occupied its 10 million square feet of office space downtown. You’ve read national media reports claiming the company has “colonized,” or “swallowed,” or “eaten” the city. And you’ve undoubtedly witnessed some hostility between tech transplants and “true Seattleites.”

So I was intrigued when I found out I’d be spending three months in Bangalore, India (or Bengaluru as it’s formally known). The south Indian city traded the moniker “The Garden City” for “The Silicon Valley of India” when tech companies set up shop and attracted millions of migrants.

I thought, what similarities there must be; two cities on opposite sides of the globe, at the center of a worldwide tech-boom, for better or worse.

Then I actually showed up in India.

Seattle and Bangalore definitely share some issues like traffic jams, housing shortages, and a perceived loss of cultural heritage. But when it comes down to who bore the brunt of the tech-boom, India takes the cake.

From 2001 to 2011 Seattle’s population grew about eight percent; “healthy” growth for an American city. Even when Seattle was touted as the fastest growing city in the U.S. between 2012 and 2013, it only grew 2.8 percent.

Meanwhile, from 2001 to 2011, Bangalore’s population grew a staggering 47 percent, and the city became nearly twice as dense.

Both cities have experienced a lot of tech-driven growth, just on different scales. It makes sense each city would deal with the problems that come with a tech boom in different ways as well.

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Skagit Valley satisfies cravings for art, food and beer

As we crossed the border into Skagit County, my friend and day-trip partner laughed and murmured, “We’re in the boondocks now!” Of course, only about an hour north of Seattle, on our way to Edison, we weren’t exactly in the boondocks. But we’d just seen a bald eagle and a hawk; for a couple of college students usually confined to the University District’s cement jungle, it was quite the contrast.

With a strict day’s budget of $99, including food, fun and gasoline, my friend and I explored the Skagit Valley. We spent most of the day around Bow and Edison but stopped in La Conner and Mount Vernon. In Edison, we ate what we decided are Washington state’s best tacos (certainly the best vegan tacos), bought a few one-of-a-kind knickknacks and ended our eight-hour expedition sipping IPAs in Mount Vernon.

First stop: Edison…

Black Dot: A new startup epicenter for Black entrepreneurs

recent report about the state of Black women in tech entrepreneurship found that only 0.2 percent of all U.S. venture capital deals from 2012 to 2014 went to Black women, despite the fact that they founded 1.5 million businesses and are the quickest-growing group of entrepreneurs in the nation. Black women founders also received just $36,000 on average in funding, while the average failed startup raised $41 million.

This massive gap highlights the need for culturally-focused startup hubs like Black Dot, a new resource center for Black entrepreneurs in Seattle’s Central District.

Black Dot co-founders K. Wyking Garrett, Aramis Hamer, Monica Washington, and Mujale Chisebukaseek to change these statistics. They strive to get more youth in the Central District interested in entrepreneurship while providing Black entrepreneurs with the necessary resources to successfully start or maintain their businesses via panels, networking events, and the option to use Black Dot as a co-working space.

“We look forward to kind of being like a greenhouse for economic sustainability in this community — we are a seed,” Garrett said. “The dot is a seed.”

The idea for Black Dot came about after the founders attended a Startup Weekend event called Hack the Central District. At the hackathon, Hamer and Washington created the idea for Heart Haven, which, similar to Black Dot, would provide the space for artists to connect and create. At the same time, Garrett createdAfricatown, a website and app that serves as a mechanism of discovery of the Central District.

After the event, they realized the community needed more than just one weekend a year to create and innovate new ideas. Working with David Harris, a startup advocate for Seattle’s Office of Economic Development, the entrepreneurs agreed that there should be a place that would provide a way for artists and innovators of all kinds to meet and develop ideas that benefit everyone in their community.

Thus, Black Dot was born.

Keeping the spirit of innovation alive

One key aspect of Black Dot is its physical location at the heart of the Central District on 23rd and Union. The corner has held historical importance for decades as a center for the African American community, but now a bevy of construction projects line the streets and existing businesses in the area have been struggling to stay open.

“It’s ground zero of gentrification,” Garrett noted.

Garrett has lived in the Central District his entire life and worries about the future of the neighborhood. The pattern of gentrification around Seattle has set a discouraging precedent, he said.

“You see buildings going up and you don’t see businesses that reflect the Black community that has been here for over 130 years,” Garrett said.

There is a long history of innovation born within the Central District community. It’s a place where people like Quincy Jones and Jimi Hendrix started their careers.

Garrett wants that spirit of innovation to remain alive and well in the neighborhood, despite all the changes. He said that the “legacy of resilience is why Black people are still here.”

“We wanted to make sure we connected and tapped that energy so this community can have a future in Seattle and not be totally displaced by the changes in the economic environment that is disenfranchising so many,” he explained.

Before opening Black Dot’s doors, Hamer set up a chalkboard mural on the corner of 23rd and Union and asked people to answer three questions: What they think of this corner, what they feel on this corner, and what they dream of this corner becoming.

A common answer for the third question: A mecca for successful Black businesses.

“Having us here is actually the perfect manifestation of what the people who are present in this community want to see in this space,” Hamer said. “So it just feels good all the way around, knowing that Black Dot is here.”

‘Everybody Wins’

Moving forward, Black Dot will work to grow their membership pool and continue connecting and educating entrepreneurs. They will be hosting more events in the space like startup bootcamps and invite successful entrepreneurs in a variety of industries to come speak.

Programming Black Dot is supported by partners including Hack Nation, Umoja PEACE Center, Africatown, Black Community Impact Alliance, Seattle U, OED, Google, Add3, Madrona Venture Labs, Tech Stars, PACE and more. Much of their furniture was donated from WeWork and Lucid Lounge. Their business model is centered around a monthly fee paid by members, which come from a variety of industries and include techies and artists alike.

Garrett said the goal is to connect entrepreneurs of all types so that “everybody wins.”

“Black Dot and spaces like this are absolutely critical to the city’s goals around shared prosperity, social justice, and equitable development,” Garrett said. “Creating a world class city should be reflective of the world that we live in and we think that the work here helps us get to that place.”

Black Dot: A new startup epicenter for Black entrepreneurs in Seattle’s Central District

The right to bear arms: ‘The second amendment shouldn’t just shut off’

Last Mother’s Day Evan Wallesen, a UW senior and president of Students for Concealed Carry (SFCC), bought his mom a gun.

While a gun is not your average Mother’s Day gift, coming from Wallesen, it made sense.

“I’ve taken her to the range, I got her her carry permit,” said Wallesen, who also has a carry permit and carries a gun with him everywhere he goes, except the UW campus. “If I am competent enough to carry a gun everywhere else, then why not the place I spend most of my time?”

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Last year, Wallesen and two other UW students, Laycee Hyde and Shannon Harris, who have since graduated, started SFCC. The club was intended to be social, a place where students could gather and, as Wallesen puts it, “go shooting and not be hated on.”

To inaugurate the club and raise awareness of its existence, the three founding members stood in Red Square wearing orange jumpsuits, holding signs that read “Criminals love gun-free zones.”

In a not-so-subtle way, they were attempting to highlight their view that banning guns puts students in greater danger, as they are not able to protect themselves.

“Right now, what is stopping a crazy person from walking on campus with a gun?” Wallesen said. “If I have my gun, I am the first line of defense. … the crazy person who wants to kill a bunch of people doesn’t care about the law. If you have decided to commit murder, you aren’t going to care about the felony you get by walking on campus with a gun.”

Despite the confrontational nature of this public display, Wallesen isn’t normally aggressive about his politics. He labels himself fiscally conservative and socially progressive. When it comes to guns, he agrees with the right-wingers: no limitations.

He is knowledgeable, excited, and surprisingly genial as he discusses gun legislation — open versus concealed carry, mental health, and politicians’ views on guns, Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz alike.

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He is not at all combative.

Since its formation, SFCC has quickly morphed into something even more political. Earlier this quarter, under the guidance of Rep. Elizabeth Scott, SFCC crafted House Bill 2867: “Authorizing conceal carry on campuses of institutions of higher education.”

HB 2867 wasn’t referred to committee, making it pretty much dead upon arrival, but SFCC plans to edit and evolve the bill, then submit it again during the next legislative session.

The bill would legalize concealed carry on the UW campus. Currently, firearms are completely banned from campus, despite both open carry and concealed carry being legal in most places in Washington state. Jails, schools,  bars, or parts of airports are the exceptions, areas where guns are unauthorized. To legally, openly carry a weapon one does not need a permit, but to carry a concealed weapon, a concealed pistol license is required.

The bill, if passed, would mean academic institutions could not make any rule that barred license holders from carrying a firearm. It would, however, allow “provisions concerning the storage of pistols in dormitories,” and would not necessarily apply to private institutions.

A similar bill recently passed in Texas, Senate Bill 11, which beginning Aug. 1, 2016, will legalize concealed carry of firearms on campus at the University of Texas at Austin. It was, and still is, highly contentious on the UT campus.

Many Texas students continue to avidly oppose the bill.

According to the Facebook event, “Campus (DILDO) Carry,” 10,000 people will be attending a “Cocks, not Glocks,” protest taking place on the UT campus the first day of school, Aug. 24. Students and others opposed to SB 11 plan to strap massive dildos to their backpacks, with the idea that dildos are “about as effective at protecting us from sociopathic shooters, but much safer for recreational play.”

Late last month, the dean of UT’s School of Architecture resigned due to concern with the new policy.

In 2015, there were 23 shootings on college campuses across the country. The likelihood of a shooting occurring on your campus is still incredibly slim, but this uptick in campus violence has brought gunrights, accessibility to guns, and gun laws in general into the center of debates.

According to the Pew Research Center, most Americans are in favor of requiring background checks for gun shows and private sales of firearms, as well as implementing laws preventing someone with a mental illness from purchasing a gun. But when it comes to developing a federal database to track gun sales and actually banning assault-style weapons, it becomes a partisan issue.

In 2014, Pew reported that 32 percent of Americans owned a firearm for hunting, but 48 percent, the majority, owned a gun for protection. This is a 22 percent increase from 1999 when only 26 percent owned a weapon for that reason.

Wallesen says the campus carry bill isn’t motivated by fear. He isn’t scared of a shooting occurring on campus, but he knows it is an imminent threat that, as of now, he can’t do anything about.

He thinks students have a false sense of security.

“Prepare for the worst and hope for the best,” he said. “That’s the way I think everyone should act. … Why do you stock up on food? Why do you wear a seatbelt? I prepare for someone to attack me and I hope that no one does.”

Wallesen credits SFCC member and UW graduate student Allen Acosta with making this bill a reality.

“We push the boundaries of our liberties,” Acosta said. “It’s healthy to understand what rights we have and what rights the government has. That’s why I love this group, because they are willing to do that.”

Acosta has been networking with gun rights groups to garner support for the bill. He and Wallesen are optimistic for the bill’s future.

“We’re doing something, which is more than I thought I’d be doing when I started this club,” Wallesen said. “Allen came to the last meeting of the year and now here we are with a bill. … beyond what I thought would be possible.”

When Wallesen started the club, he intended for it to connect him with others who, like him, see guns and frequent trips to the gun-range as a hobby, not just a political issue.

“Anyone who collects anything, you are always looking for something new to add to your collection,” he said, referencing his growing collection of firearms.

Wallesen brought all six of his guns on SFCC’s quarterly trip to the West Coast Armory in Bellevue on Feb. 3, during which they exchange guns, get a little target practice in, and eat Chick-fil-A.

“Outside of the politics of it, it’s a lot of fun,” he said.

He emphasized that not everyone who attends SFCC’s trips to the gun range is a Republican.

Still, SFCC is inherently political and the members know it. They are almost entirely Republicans and many are actively involved with College Republicans, another UW student organization.

The students in SFCC are a minority on campus because of their desire to legalize concealed carry, but they are also Republicans in an area dominated by left-leaners ready to “Feel the Bern.”

Being a political minority isn’t always easy. When Wallesen and other members of SFCC proudly don their “Students for Concealed Carry” T-shirts, which list the Second Amendment in its entirety on the back, reactions from passersby are not always positive or friendly.

Wallesen has learned how to deflect some of this negativity and has realized that most people don’t actually seem to want to hear him out or learn about his position.

“They don’t want to argue with me, they just want to shame me,” he said. “This club has forced me to organize my beliefs. Before, I knew my beliefs, but I didn’t know how to articulate them well.”

Wallesen is graduating in the spring and plans to move to California to pursue a career in engineering for Disney. He realizes California is equally, sometimes even more, liberal than the Pacific Northwest, but luckily he has already developed a pretty thick skin for when it comes time to discuss politics and conflicting ideologies.

Regardless of where Wallesen is, whether he is in the political majority or minority, he won’t cease to advocate for less stringent gun laws.

“The Second Amendment shouldn’t just shut off,” he said.

Reach Development Editor Kate Clark at features@dailyuw.com. Twitter: @KateClarkUW

5 tips for first-time female angel investors

BY on February 4, 2016 at 5:35 pm

Katherine Hague wants more women investing in startups.

The Female Funders founder stopped by Seattle’s Columbia City Club on Thursday morning for the final stop of her eight-city Female Funders breakfast series. She was joined by fellow female angel investors Gillian Muessig, co-founder of Moz; Outlines Venture Group Anne Kennedy; and Seattle Angel Fund Managing Member Susan Preston.

The group shared advice for female investors looking to make their first angel investment. Hague, who runs an online resource for both experienced and aspiring angel investors at Female Funders, wants 1,000 more women making angel investments by the end of 2016.

“Only 3 percent of deal-making venture capitalists are women, and this number has led to an even more troubling statistic — that only 2.7 percent of venture capitalist funding goes to female CEOs,” she noted today.

Hague raised cash from angels for her first company, an e-commerce platform for hardware startups called ShopLocket. She sold that company at just 23 years old and was named one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women in 2014. She then launched Female Funders and Angel School, a boot camp for investors or entrepreneurs, to get more women interested in these fields.

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