Social in Seattle

Lauding Black History, Sports, and Diversity 

Seattle celebrates Black History Month, sports achievements, LGBTQ+ awards, and a thriving creative economy

By Linda Lowry March 14, 2024


The Seattle/King County Clinic recently held a four-day event at the Seattle Center where free health care services were provided to those in need. The initiative was made possible with the help of more than 3,000 volunteers, including Stone Gossard, guitarist from rock band Pearl Jam. More than 2,900 people received health care services worth more than $2.6 million, which included dental cleanings, fillings, extractions, eye examinations, physical exams, behavioral health care, immunizations, laboratory tests, mammograms, ultrasounds, X-rays, and more.



While recognizing the life-changing impact of the services provided, clinic founder and project executive Julia Colson emphasized that the clinic can provide treatment only to a fraction of those in desperate need of health care in the region. The hope is that the clinic’s scale will highlight the systemic disparities affecting an increasing number of neighbors. Partners of the clinic, including Amazon, Microsoft, and UW Medicine, have contributed resources to strengthen its effectiveness. The next clinic is scheduled for April 2025, and the initiative continues to pursue its mission of addressing health care disparities.



Women in Sports and Events (WISE), an organization dedicated to supporting women in the sports business, recently hosted its annual Speed Networking Roundtable event at Husky Stadium. The event brought together professionals from various career stages to discuss leadership, communication, culture, personal development, and more. Different tables, each led by professionals from multiple organizations, covered diverse topics. The event featured Hanna Olson from the University of Washington discussing leadership; Melissa Robertson of the Seattle Mariners, focusing on communication; Stacy Rost, host of Bump & Stacy on 710 ESPN, exploring the evolving landscape for women in sports media; Mackenzie Marques of the Seattle Seahawks, sharing insights on overcoming setbacks; Jenee James covering individual development strategies; Alaska Airlines hosting discussions on diversity and inclusion; Beverly Verduin and Sean Dahlin of Central Washington University addressing career planning; Joli Mosier guiding talks on entrepreneurship and new career opportunities; and Cindy Adsit facilitating conversations on work/life harmony at the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA). I had the opportunity to lead a discussion on how to bring about change. The Speed Networking Roundtable event truly embodied the spirit of WISE by fostering connections, sharing insights, and empowering women in the sports business. The high-energy event encapsulated the essence of WISE and provided a platform for women to connect, share their knowledge and experiences, and support each other in the competitive world of sports business. To discover upcoming events or to become a WISE member, go to



The 89th annual Sports Star of the Year Awards, organized by the Seattle Sports Commission since 1935 to acknowledge the achievements of the Washington sports community, is among the most prestigious events in Seattle. The ceremony was held at the Westin Seattle and included a reception and awards ceremony. The Sports Star Awards recognize excellence in various categories, highlighting the community’s commitment to sportsmanship and excellence. The awards aim to amplify the impact of sports, encourage engagement, and foster community pride.

Coach Laura Harvey of the Seattle Reign FC was recognized as the Sports Leader of the Year Award honoree. At the same time, Jaci McCormack, the founder of Rise Above, was presented with the Sports Equity and Inclusion Award by Bank of America. Larry Stone and Jim Caple received the Keith Jackson Media Excellence Award, and Jewell Loyd of the Seattle Storm was recognized as the Sports Star of the Year in Women’s Sports, presented by T-Mobile. Guyle Fielder received the prestigious Royal Brougham Sports Legend Award, presented by Alaska Airlines, and Olivia Vitello was acknowledged with the Wayne Gittinger Inspirational Youth Award, presented by Seattle Children’s. University of Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. was awarded the Sports Star of the Year in Men’s Sports, presented by Snoqualmie Casino, while UW Football received the Sports Story of the Year Award, presented by MTRWestern. Lastly, Megan Rapinoe was presented with the Paul G. Allen Humanitarian Award, sponsored by Microsoft.



The Asian Hall of Fame recently organized a private reception at the Washington Athletic Club in Seattle with the aim of promoting equity and celebrating culture and excellence. The event announced nominees for Inductees, CEO of the Year, and the Asian Advocacy Prize. Attendees observed Japan Remembrance Day and expressed solidarity with Japan’s earthquake relief efforts. The reception also marked the conclusion of Lunar New Year celebrations, bringing together the community to recognize achievements and celebrate cultural diversity.

Mary Knell, the CEO of Pacific Northwest Commercial Banking at Wells Fargo, has announced Scott Oki as the nominee while confirming the induction of the Class of 2024 honorees Daniel Nguyen and Katherine Lam. Letitia Fong, Vice President of the Robert Chinn Foundation, announced the CEO of the Year award nominees: Jonathan Sposato, owner of Seattle Magazine, and James Wong, entrepreneur and investor. Leah Long, founder of the Global Council, announced the nomination of Aisha Ibrahim, Executive Chef at Canlis, and Betti Fujikado, recipient of the Asian Advocacy Prize. 

The celebration concluded with the announcement of Pearl Jam’s Matt Cameron as an inductee by Hiro Yamamoto, Arist Ambassador. Maki Hsieh, President and CEO of the Asian Hall of Fame, disclosed the confirmed Class of 2024 inductee, Preston Singletary of the Tlingit Indian Tribe, and nominee Lily Gladstone of Nez Perce and Piegan Blackfeet. The Asian Hall of Fame aims to celebrate legacy, advance equity, and stand for cultural celebration, education, and humanitarianism. This event is a testament to the power of community, recognition, and the enduring spirit of cultural pride. The 20th Emerald Gala, which will honor the induction of the Pacific Northwest honorees and benefit Human Trafficking Rescue, is scheduled to be held on September 27 at the Washington Athletic Club.



The GSBA Impact Awards recognized the achievements of individuals and organizations who have demonstrated professional excellence while promoting diversity, inclusion, leadership, and community upliftment. The awards ceremony was hosted by Deaunte Damper and Besa Gordon from Converge Media, and included a “Red Carpet Style” reception.

Greg Scheaffer from Union Seattle received a Special Recognition Award in the category of Neighborhood Leadership, acknowledging his noteworthy contributions to the LGBTQ+ community and the Capitol Hill neighborhood. The Olmstead Restaurant has been awarded the title of Business of the Year, and Jen Moran of Carter Motors was recognized as the Corporate Leader of the Year.  Ray Corona of Somos Seattle was honored with the Leadership Award and LinkXLou – Jordan Ross received the Micro Business of the Year award. Entre Hermanos secured the Nonprofit of the Year award, and Mosé Auto was celebrated as the Small Business of the Year. The GSBA Impact Awards honored individuals and organizations for their contributions to Pacific Northwest communities.



More than 200 creative professionals and 20 vendors gathered at the University of Washington Tacoma campus to network, exchange insights, and savor authentic Mexican cuisine by Taquizas Chuy. The event was organized by Zeta-Maya Entertainment in partnership with WorkSource Pierce County to explore opportunities for fostering a diverse, inclusive, and equitable creative economy in the Tacoma region. Attendees participated in lively discussions to shape the future of the creative industry in the area and celebrate creativity, innovation, and a shared commitment to a thriving creative ecosystem.

The event’s highlight was a captivating panel discussion moderated by filmmaker, community leader, and social entrepreneur Carlos A. Ortiz. The panel featured distinguished personalities, including Jaime Mendez (Univision Seattle), Jose Iniguez (Encanto Arts), Zuleika Deciga (voice actress), Jennifer English (Spaceworks), and Kenyon Glover (actor/filmmaker). They discussed artificial intelligence, the future of their industries, and the importance of DEI initiatives. Participants made new connections and left with a renewed sense of enthusiasm to contribute to Washington State’s creative economy.



The Seattle premiere of X: The Life and Times of Malcom X, took place Feb. 24 at McCaw Hall in honor of Black History Month. The opera, with Afrofuturist elements, explored Malcolm X’s spiritual and political journey, and featured a memorable performance by Kenneth Kellogg in the titular role. The evocative auditory experience was created by a fusion of modernism, minimalism, and jazz in the musical score. Christina Scheppelmann, Seattle Opera’s general director, emphasized the opera’s relevance in America’s ongoing reckoning with racial injustice. Notable attendees of the opening night included Krist Novoselic, co-founder and bass player for Nirvana, his wife Darbury Stenderu, and Matt Cameron, drummer of rock band Pearl Jam. The event was also attended by Seattle Chief of Police Adrian Diaz and former Seattle Chief of Police Carmen Best, as well as Jose Iniguez, executive director for Encanto Arts and one of Seattle magazine’s Most Influential People, and Trae Holiday with Converge Media, among others.

The production of X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X, directed by Robert O’Hara, was a remarkable and engaging experience. O’Hara emphasized the importance of visualizing the future to deal with the present and honor the legacy of Malcolm X. The opera had an exceptional creative team, including associate directors Nicholas Polonio and Melanie Bacaling, set designer Clint Ramos, costume designer Dede Ayite, and others. 

Conductor Kazem Abdullah led members of the Seattle Symphony, along with an improvising ensemble embedded within the orchestra. Seattle Opera also organized community events to commemorate Malcolm X’s life and encourage discussions about his legacy. The opera hosted an up close and personal look at the costumes designed by Dede Ayite at the Columbia Tower Club. Additionally, it hosted an insightful discussion with Tamara Payne on her latest book, The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X, which she co-wrote with her father, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Les Payne. X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X is a powerful testament to opera’s ability to explore and shed light on historical and cultural narratives. Seattle Opera’s contribution to the cultural energy of the Pacific Northwest through showcasing diverse and impactful stories on the operatic stage is truly commendable.

About the Social in Seattle Column

Linda Lowry is the director of opportunity at Seattle magazine. She has a pulse on the greater Seattle region’s social landscape and provides insight on the people and personalities that make our city vibrant and unique.

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