Hey All In,
Interrupting our normal programming to celebrate some very special friends - we are so lucky to have worked with two of the most incredible young people this year! To our student organizers Chardonnay and Ileyana - you have brought art, color, bright conversations, and some more much-needed Gen Z energy into this work. Thank you for all of the amazing organizing you have done and will continue to do in the future.
To our coalition - it’s bragging time! Here’s a little more about our student organizers, and more details about a few of the awesome things that Chardonnay and Ileyana have done this year to fight for economic justice:
Ileyana Taylor-Mabone (she/her) is a student at Seattle Pacific University. She is pursuing her BA in visual arts and general education in hopes to become an art teacher to spread education to a younger generation. Ileyana grew up in the Central District for 13 years until she and her family were affected by gentrification and had to move south to Tukwila, Washington. Ileyana is super passionate about economic justice because she is aware of how it disproportionately affects people of color. Ileyana also makes her own jewelry and creates other artworks.
Ileyana published her first op-ed in the Facts Newspaper after this year’s legislative session. Because of her passion for art and education, she wrote a profile of her friend who is studying art in college during the COVID pandemic. Read her article here!
For her final project, Ileyana created an original art piece that she titled “Food Deserts are Real.”
Here’s what she had to say about her art and this piece:
"I am a self-taught multidisciplinary artist who enjoys painting, drawing, jewelry, 2D art and more. Some of my favorite mediums at the moment are painting and 2D art. I enjoy making pieces that are personal to me and the communities I am a part of. Some of my passions are creating pieces that make people reflect on what they’re seeing and helping youth of color enjoy and experience the art world.
"The objective of this piece is to illustrate and educate. There is a dark-skinned person who is standing up the street looking at their community and how it is mainly fast food. On the other canvas is a white person who stands and is able to see a well-funded community that supports having a library and a Whole Foods.
"Food deserts often go unnoticed and contribute to some of the surrounding communities’ underlying problems. I chose to focus on this subject to bring light to how food deserts are damaging to the community surrounding them, which often are low- income communities. Today, living in Tukwila, WA, I currently live in a food desert where there are more fast food buildings than there are grocery stores that provide healthier alternatives.
"This piece is meant to strike up a conversation about how certain communities are different and why. Why are there barely any fast food places in rich areas, but that seems to be all there are in low-income ones? How does primarily having cheap fast food in a community affect those living in it? The existence of food deserts is a way that Washington tells us it doesn’t care about low-income communities."
Chardonnay Beaver (she/her) is a sophomore at the University of Washington studying political science and communication. She is proud to have been born and raised in the Central District of Seattle, WA. Chardonnay aims to increase Black representation in the dialogue surrounding tax reform and policy. She enjoys traveling, cooking various cuisines, reading, and spending quality time with her homegirls.
Chardonnay helped organize and hosted our youth-focused webinar on racial equity in education. Ileyana also participated as a panelist in this webinar. Watch the recording here!
She also is very interested in new media and video! Chardonnay started an interview series called “Conver$ations with Chardonnay,” where she talks about economic justice with her peers. She ran the whole production, from planning the interviews to editing together the final videos for our social media. Check out her videos @allinforwa or see a short clip here.
Chardonnay and Ileyana collaborated to organize digitally on Instagram, as well as working in-person to serve our communities. Here’s a cute photo from a food drive they organized this past winter, where they handed out over 70 bags of groceries in Skyway.
Thank you, student organizers, for everything you do! There may be hard times, but we know that justice is possible when passionate people work together. You both are proof of that, and we look forward to seeing what’s next for you. Three cheers to you, Chardonnay and Ileyana!
Abigail and Bennet (the slightly older Gen Z squad)