Globalist Youth Apprentice Highlights: The friendly faces of Rainier Avenue

Kyle Matthews on a King County Metro Bus in South Seattle in 2015. (Photo by Jama Abdirahman.)

This week, we’re highlighting our most memorable Youth Apprenticeship Program stories.

Photojournalist Jama Abdirahman put together a photo essay of people in Rainier Valley and Rainier Beach to document a place that is too often stereotyped.

What makes a place a “bad neighborhood?” Is it the people who live and work there?

In Seattle, Rainier Valley and Rainier Beach have bad reputations. Outsiders say they’re afraid to live there, or even visit. It’s true that crime rates are higher, and sometimes tragedy strikes. But are these neighborhoods really as dangerous or scary as people say?

I was curious to know the truth, so I set out down Rainier Avenue with my camera to see if I could capture that negativity myself. Despite the not-so-positive images of these neighborhoods that we’re used to seeing, most of the people I encountered were just nice, ordinary folks trying to live their lives. Some of them even smiled at me!

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The friendly faces of Rainier Avenue