Joaquin Uy explains how Filipino activists were gunned down at this Seattle street corner in 1981. (Photo by Ansel Herz)

On Saturday, the Filipino activist group AnakBayan Seattle will celebrate its tenth anniversary as the first overseas chapter of the democratic youth organization, which is based in the Philippines.

But the history of Filipinos fighting for dignity and respect in Seattle reaches back further to over a century ago. This history isn’t taught in schools, and there are few, if any, public monuments to its impact.

On a rainy November afternoon, Joaquin Uy, one of the founding members of AnakBayan Seattle, showed how the struggles of Filipino writers, poets, workers, and community organizers are woven into this city’s brick and concrete. The past came alive as Uy guided us on a historical tour from the International District, to a dilapidated downtown street corner, to the steps of King County Courthouse, and finally to a hilltop Queen Anne cemetery after dark. To learn this history, watch this video of the tour below.

Garcia (left) celebrates with fellow UW students Jessica Oscoy and Tania Santiago as Obama’s reelection is announced at a UW watch party. (Photo by Joshua Bessex/The University of Washington Daily)

Yuriana Garcia, 20, is an ambitious, soft-spoken Honors student majoring in Human Centered Design & Engineering at UW. She has a passion for bioengineering, and an impressive record working on research projects in genomics and microbiology.

She’s also an undocumented immigrant.

Until recently, her dreams of a PhD and a career using technological innovation to aid development in third world countries were tempered by the uncertain reality of life as an undocumented student.

President Obama’s re-election was met with jubilation by young undocumented immigrants like Garcia. It meant that his recently established Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was here to stay – for another four years, at least.

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My second cousins John (center) and Nakon (right) show me family pictures with familiar faces during a reunion/introductions of sorts in Bangkok, Thailand. (Photo by Dacia Saenz)

BANGKOK, Thailand– They were complete strangers, but it instantly felt like a family reunion.

One week before I departed for my first international reporting trip, my grandmother Cece and my great aunt Karen casually drop to me on Facebook that, oh by the way, I have relatives in Thailand.

Come again?

Now I’m from a long and proud line of auto factory workers, mechanics and nurses from Flint, Michigan. But other than trips to Canada, I was one of the few people in my family to travel and live outside the U.S. since our ancestors came through Ellis Island. Or at least I thought.

So to learn that I have Thai relatives was not only a major revelation, but one that profoundly altered how I view my family in the world.

But the facts were fuzzy at first. I wasn’t exactly clear how my little branch of the tree spanned to this corner of the world.

So I sent a Facebook message and a few days later I was off to meet these mysterious family characters in the bustling city of Bangkok.

A North Korean army (or is it Chinese?) invades Spokane in the remake of Red Dawn, opening this weekend. (Photo by Sarah Stuteville)

A sunny morning in Spokane — shaggy green lawns, puffy clouds and compact SUVs parked outside of 100-year-old houses.

Then a boom, a rattling snow globe featuring the Space Needle and the blue sky fills with white parachutes.

The North Koreans have just invaded Washington state.

To children of the ’80s this might sound vaguely familiar. In the 1984 Cold War film “Red Dawn,” the Cubans invade a small town in Colorado, forcing a gang of teenagers (Patrick Swayze, Charlie Sheen, Jennifer Grey) to form an insurgent militia to fight off the commies.

The remake, released this week, follows a similar script. Except it’s a new teenage gang (Avengers’ Chris Hemsworth, Hunger Games’ Josh Hutcherson, even Tom Cruise’s son Connor Cruise) and a new enemy.

Well, kind of.

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Dayak girls feed a forest friend. (Photo by Branden Eastwood)
Dayak girls feed a forest friend. (Photo by Branden Eastwood)

It is a shock to think of Indonesia as the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases.

How could a country that boasts one of the world’s most diverse ecosystems be spewing out more carbon and methane than economic powerhouses such as Germany and Japan?

The answer lies in the forest. Or what’s left of it. Indonesia has cleared close to half of its forested land for agricultural development. The country’s peat forests, which sequester immense quantities of carbon are often targeted by developers, resulting in a disproportionate amount of emissions.

The Mumelo siblings, recent immigrants from Kenya, represent what recruiters hope will be a new face of the US military. (Photo by Sarah Stuteville)

Turns out you don’t pack much for boot camp.

When I asked Belindah Mumelo if I could hang out with her while she prepared to head off for basic training this week, I imagined huge duffel bags stuffed with gear.

Instead, she showed me a backpack the size of a school bag, full of white athletic socks.

But gear doesn’t matter. The most important thing Belindah is taking with her when she boards the plane and the series of buses that will deliver her to basic training at Fort Jackson, SC, is her sister Barbrah’s advice: “Don’t eat the candy.”

“Seriously, that first day, in the mess hall, they’ll put out all kinds of cakes and candies and cookies, but it’s a trick,” warns Barbrah in a heavy Kenyan, almost British-sounding accent. “They’ll make you do push-ups if you eat them.”

Three Mumelo siblings have signed up to join the Army this year. Belindah’s twin brother, Benson, is currently in basic training in Missouri.

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Jess Mack, a Seattle native working in Bangkok, was excited to don Americana colors to watch the election returns. (Photo by Sara Stogner)

BANGKOK, Thailand–As the elections unfolded yesterday in the US, a small huddle of Americans glued their eyes to the CNN report, broadcasting the returns in a mostly empty bar here in Bangkok.

The American-owned Roadhouse BBQ was one of only two bars in the city advertising an election watch. Yet in a city packed full of expats, only a dozen trickled in around 10am.

Among them was Jess Mack, a Seattle native working on a campaign with the UN to end violence against women in the region.

“It’s been interesting being here and talking to people from around the world and in Bangkok,” Mack said. “People really care about what’s happening in the US because our foreign policy has an impact on everyone in some way.”

Mack was ecstatic when the news came via her twitter feed that same-sex marriage and the legalization of marijuana had been approved in Washington State.

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The 9th Congressional District (shown in green) was redrawn this year to be Washington’s first ‘majority-minorty’ district. (Image via Google Maps and Washington State Redistricting Commission)

When Washington’s congressional districts were redrawn last January, the State Redistricting Commission made a bold move:

They split the city of Seattle between two districts in order to create the state’s first ever “majority-minority” district.

The 9th Congressional District was shifted northward, leaving behind the Fort Lewis area and rural Pierce County to take in both South Seattle and a growing population of immigrant and minority voters in South King County.

Now 51 percent of residents in the new 9th district identify as ethnic minorities.

Majority-minority districts are usually created with an eye to boosting the number of minorities in Congress.

But that’s not going to happen this election.

Eight-term incumbent Adam Smith, a Democrat, is facing GOP challenger Jim Postma to be the face of Washington’s most diverse district. Both are white. Both are Christian. Both were born in the US.

The legions of Americans taking their winter workouts inside to the warm sanctuary of yoga classes are part of a global trend taking to the Indian physical-spiritual practice.

A love of yoga took one Ashtanga instructor from Abu Dhabi to Finland, pushed her physical limits and brought her in to a whole new community. But another renowned instructor says the study of yoga has actually separated her from her fellow Indians.

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Härnu founder Jason Gowans at the Seattle Globalist launch party in April. (Photo by Sara Stogner)

We coined the term “hyperglobal” here at the Globalist to describe the combination of “local” and “global” in our content – bridging gaps between communities, from neighborhoods to nations, across the planet.

Now, a fellow Seattlelite has taken the same approach to social networking.

His name is Jason Gowans, and like us, he’s been all over the map. And he’s made a crucial insight during his travels: it’s true that the biggest online social networks like Facebook and Twitter have made the world more inter-connected. But much of that networking centers around reinforcing existing connections – for example your friends, family, and co-workers.

As Gowans explained to me, true global social networking should encourage us to initiate friendships with new people in new places. It should mean that a mom in California can link up with, say, a mom in Kazakhstan and ping her with questions and ideas. Or vice versa.

So Gowans and his team have built and just released Härnu (an amalgam of “here” and “now” in Swedish). One tech writer called it “brilliant” “map-based social networking.” After signing up, you’ll be greeted with a world map marked with lots of pushpins. Each pin is a question that someone has tagged to a particular place.

Here I am, the stoner in question, ironically not stoned, at the Blarney Stone in Ireland in 2008. (Photo courtesy of myself)

My name is Sara and I smoke pot.

Ahh. I feel so much better.

And if Initiative 502 passes next month, there’s going to be a lot more people coming out of their smoky closets.

Our state looks to be on the verge of legalizing pot for recreational use, so it’s about time we start to talk about it openly and work out whatever anxiety we have around this wacky weed.

There’s a lot we can learn from places in the world where marijuana looks different than the lazy-teenager-sinking-into-a-couch image it has in the U.S.

From the shores of the Indian Ocean to the long sunset on the Irish horizon, I’ve compiled stories of pot-infused travel from friends, colleagues and my personal experience.

Names have been changed to protect sources from the social stigma and even more serious repercussions.

So be forewarned reader, this is not your grandmother’s travel guide. (…but it might be for your really cool aunt who you know laces her cigs with pot.)

I spent my first night in Kazakhstan at a punk show in the hills surrounding the capital, Almaty.

There were 22’s of local beer, calf tattoos, bikes, a guy named “Joy” bragging about his small family farm and French Screamo music. It could have been a late summer evening in Seattle – well, minus the presence of heavily bribed park guards and bored-looking horses.


Globalist video on Zhanaozen shooting and interview with survivors. Contains graphic imagery.

It could have been Olympia.

Audio/Visual Postcard by Jessica Partnow, Sarah Stuteville and Alex Stonehill

Zombie Fest could have taken place in a sunny mountain meadow somewhere in the Northwest. It just so happened it was in Kazakhstan.

But that didn’t change the homebrew hairstyles and patched jean jackets, the unhinged, angsty music, or the enthusiastic welcome we got showing up as total strangers asking questions about music, life and politics.

It did mean it was harder to communicate across an English/Russian/Kazakh language barrier.

But when it comes to Screamo, I don’t think you’re supposed to be able to understand the words anyways.

The iconic sign welcoming visitors to Portland. Globalist writer Simona Trakiyska explores this northwest city with a global perspective. (Photo by Sara Stogner)

For those bitten by an international travel bug but stuck with a modest budget, a weekend trip to Portland could be the cure.

Some may call it a city with a laid-back pace, but in reality Portland pushes its guests to be open to new adventures from savory Thai dishes to the Japanese Gardens.

The first pick for my group of friends was to have dinner at a Thai restaurant called Pok Pok, rated one of the top three places to dine on Yelp. However, the wait time was two hours, so we opted for our second choice, another Thai restaurant, called Khun Pic’s Bahn.

(Photo by Rachel Alexander)

The illegal border crossing from Mexico to the U.S. can be dangerous, expensive and terrifying for thousands of Mexicans walking across the Arizona desert each year. Facing possible sexual assault and death from dehydration, the most devastating turn comes when they are picked up by border patrol and sent back over the border. Rachel Alexander reports from Mexico in a small border town where deportees wait in limbo.

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Deric Gruen poses with a fan during a stint with Lebanon’s pro-am basketball league. (Photo courtesy of Deric Gruen)

As the Seattle city council ponders a vote approving bonds for a new arena that could bring back men’s professional basketball, the summer Olympics proved the game’s popularity is still growing quickly overseas.

The U.S. men’s basketball team sped past Spain for a gold medal in the summer Olympics, but other countries showed burgeoning strength. Between the Olympic games and overseas leagues and tournaments, international basketball serves as both a professional and cultural landing pad for Seattle-area players and a recruiting pool for U.S. teams.

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(Photo by Bhamati Sivapalan)

Chandni Gautam, above, is one of the first of her kind; a female cab driver in India. Gautam works for a company employing and training women to become cab drivers and chauffeurs. But the job is about more than getting a license. It means going to work in openly hostile field, where road rage, physical threats and sexual violence are often sparked by the sight of a woman behind the wheel. 

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Mendhi, Ramadan, South Asian, henna, Eid
Girls showing off their henna’d hands, a South Asian tradition for Eid, the holiday marking the end of Ramadan. (Photo by Daaniya Iyaz)

The scent of home-cooked food at three in the morning and the calm of utter silence as hundreds of people stand together in prayer can only mean one thing: it’s Ramadan.

In my mosque, people from Egypt, Tanzania, Pakistan, India, Saudi Arabia, Denmark and countless other countries come together to commemorate this blessed month. While we may all speak different languages, our sole intention during Ramadan is the same: to come closer to God.

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Wild bears are kept in Syrian ‘zoos’ where they can be bought and transported in the exotic animal trade. (Photo courtesy of Animals Lebanon)

Grey parrots and vervet monkeys mingle with cats, dogs and hamsters in many of Lebanon’s pet shops, but if you want the really exciting animals, you have to ask behind the counter.

Lions, panthers and bears—in fact many of the mascots from the American sports franchises—are just a few of the animals you can buy here.

One pet store in Beirut—whose owner requested anonymity for fear of protests from animal rights groups—offers a chance at owning your own piece of the wild. The owner received a degree in veterinarian studies in Russia and, unlike many pet stores here, the six dogs strategically placed in the window are clean, healthy and vaccinated.

But these aren’t the only animals he sells. He can get you lion and bear cubs, leopards, even a baby crocodile. Sitting behind a tidy desk surrounded by bags of pet food, he describes the process of how a wild animal is ordered and smuggled into Lebanon.

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Brandi Finn, a student at Seattle Central Community College, hands out signs for the Student Debt Noise Brigade, a weekly protest of tuition increases at Seattle Central Community College. (Photo by Hallie Golden)

When students in Quebec heard earlier this summer that the government planned to raise college tuition by 75%, hundreds of thousands took to the streets of Montreal in massive protests.

If the increases go through, their tuition will be almost $4,000 per year.

University of Washington students, on the other hand, may soon be paying more than $20,000 per year, if the trend of tuition hikes over the past four years continues.

But throughout these yearly increases, protests with more than a couple hundred UW students have been all but unheard of.

Similar economic stresses and budget cuts have affected college students around the globe. The difference is how they are handling these changes.

As student protests have erupted from Chile to Canada, US college students have barely made a peep.

So why is it that the youth outside of this country seem determined and able to have their voices heard by those in power, while most in the US do not?

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vintage TWA airline timetable
Traveling While Arab can mean a whole different timetable. (Photo by Jeremy Keith via Flickr)

I waited too long to book a flight home to visit my family in Amman to be picky about my flights. The only option under $2000 was a four hour layover at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport.

The price and timing was fine.

The racial profiling and accusation that I might be a terrorist was not.