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Emily Nelson’s finding a new way to navigate Seattle’s political divisions. (📸: @rachelcoward)

'MAKE AMERICA DINNER AGAIN' 🇺🇸

On April 20, Emily Nelson is hosting a dinner. If all goes according to plan, the ten people there will be very different from each other and share powerful stories about themselves. And before long, there’ll be more dinners like this all over Seattle.

“Mealtime is probably the most powerful cultural asset that we have in America,” Emily said. “And we need to use it now — now more than ever.”

Emily’s dinner will be the first in Seattle to follow a format set out by “Make America Dinner Again,” a nationwide project that’s encouraging people with very different perspectives to come together in very divided times.

The dinner is also part of a broader local movement Emily wants to start to “cultivate hospitality.” She’s calling it “Growing Home,” and she’s found some interesting sponsors: a handcrafted goods store, several churches, a cafe, a seminary, even Seattle’s famous Canlis restaurant.

So why is Emily, a 24-year-old hospitality coordinator and part-time nanny, working mostly solo to try to build these big bridges? She gave several reasons. First, she grew up in a conservative town — Pasco, Washington — and went to a liberal college — Seattle Pacific University. “I got the benefit of seeing both sides,” she said.

Second, she’s a Christian, and her faith has led her to believe there’s something very un-Christ-like about the way people are treating each other. “It’s really sad to see Christians and this country be in a place that is not representative of who He was,” she said.

And third: Emily is white, her fiancé is black, and that’s made her see things differently than a lot of people she knows. “I’ve learned a lot from that,” she said, “and I’ve gained perspective.”

Curious about Emily’s dinner? Or want to host one yourself? Email her directly at [email protected]. She’s gotten a lot of applications to join the dinner already, many of them from white, economically privileged liberals. If you’re not in that vocal Seattle majority — because you’re a person of color, you’re socioeconomically disadvantaged, or you lean conservative in your politics — Emily would especially love to hear from you.

Emily perked up when talking about how draining conversations across divides can feel these days.

“One of my mottos is, ‘Are you tired enough to try?’” she said. “It has to come from an exhausted place — that’s something that I believe. It really takes a level of surrender and exhaustion for someone to lay down their pride and listen to someone else.”

Like the idea? Help spread the word about ‘Make America Dinner Again.’

NOW HERE’S WHAT’S GOING ON IN YOUR CITY ✊

Speaking of dinner… This year’s list of prestigious James Beard Awards semifinalists is out. Chefs Edouardo Jordan of JuneBaby and Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi of Joule are in the running for Best Chef Northwest title. Also up for an award: Rachel Belle’s “Your Last Meal” podcast and the “Modernist Bread” cookbook by Bellevue’s own Nathan Myhrvold and Francisco Migoya. Congrats, all. (Seattle Met)

Blame game. Remember the gas explosion that leveled three businesses and damaged a score of other buildings in the heart of Greenwood in 2016? Two years after the blast, no one has taken responsibility for the damage, writes columnist Danny Westneat. Puget Sound Energy, which allegedly sealed off the leaking pipe that led to the explosion, blamed three homeless men often seen in the alley near the pipe — and even Greenwood resident Alex Sokolowski, according to a recent insurance court filing. “ They’ve been avoiding taking responsibility for what happened out here all along.” The gas company later said  Alex being named was a “misunderstanding.” This one’s certainly a head-scratcher. (The Seattle Times)

‘Sick of being scared.’ Yesterday, thousands of Seattle students took to the streets as part of a student-led nationwide school walkout to honor the 17 kids gunned down in Parkland. (More than 3,000 walkouts happened across the country according to this map tally by the Women’s March). Local and state leaders, including Mayor Durkan and Governor Inslee, marched in solidarity with the students, who aimed to put pressure on state and federal governments to take action on gun control with signs like, “Stop letting us die” and “Our Lives > Your Guns” and “How Many More?” See photos and videos of the Western Washington walkouts at The Stranger, The Seattle Times, CrosscutCapitol Hill Seattle Blog, KING 5, KIRO, and West Seattle Blog — and maybe have some tissues handy.

Go back in time. Dive into this trove of archival photos of life in the Rainier Valley and view how the area has metamorphosed from a logging district into a hub for Seattle’s most ethnically diverse communities. One of our favorite shots: This pic from 2008 of three kids playing with squash race cars in the Zucchini 500 at the Columbia City Farmers Market. (The Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

PARTNER EVENTS

💡 March 26: InnoVentures: A Small Business Pitch Contest (Ballard)
🧀 March 28: Learn about the Social Role of Food with Atlas Obscura Society Seattle at The London Plane (Pioneer Square)

OUR EVENTS

🌧 3/15: Say goodbye to winter with us at Greybreak (Central District)
👋  3/19: Join us at the Evergrey meetup (South Lake Union)


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AROUND TOWN
» TODAY

👋 Say bye to winter & welcome spring with The Evergrey (Central District)

💡 Learn what’s behind the hashtag #EducationSoWhite (Downtown)

🎨 See local students’ fashion designs (SoDo)

💡 Watch a film about resilience and learn about ‘the biology of hope’ (Downtown)

» TOMORROW

🎟 Get cheeky at the Moisture burlesque festival – through 4/8 (Ballard)  

🍽 Whip up some tasty truffles (Downtown)

🍿 Watch the classic film, Metropolis (Columbia City)

👋 Hit the dance floor with fellow queer & trans POC (Downtown)

» SATURDAY

💪 Learn how to make vegan tamales (Beacon Hill)

🍿 Watch a film about a pioneering mountaineer (Rainier Valley)

💡 Tune in for hip-hop revelations with a Wu-Tang Clan founder (Central District)

🍽 Hone your tastebuds with a local chef and author (Fremont)

» SUNDAY

🎉 Celebrate Nowruz (Persian New Year) at City Hall (Pioneer Square)

🍽 Eat a doughnut & take photos of our city (Belltown)

🎨 Learn about the history of Filipino American migration through photos (Chinatown-International District)

SEE YOU TONIGHT AT GREYBREAK 🙌

For the last two months, we’ve been helping more than 500 of you make the most of Seattle’s dreary winter over in our Embrace the Grey Facebook group. Now with spring just five days away (🎉), we’re pumped to ring in the new season with y’all TONIGHT at our Greybreak party. It’s all going down at 5:30 p.m. at The Neighbor Lady in the Central District. There’ll be delicious cocktails, weather-themed song bingo, and the opportunity to win some free drinks.

See you there. — The Evergrey


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