December’s students of the month

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

Marysville School District’s very own Equity, Diversity, and Indigenous Education department created the Student of the Month awards to recognize outstanding students who have demonstrated commendable academic success in the classroom. Student awardees in the past have displayed an admirable dedication to their school work and active involvement amongst their peers.

Previously, only one girl and one boy student were honored, but the program has grown to include one impressive student from each of the elementary, middle, and high school levels. For their commitment to excellence in the classroom and backed by strong recommendations from school faculty, Dakota Laducer of Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary, Devaney Jones of Totem Middle School, and Keyondra Horne of Marysville Getchell High School were announced as students of the month for November.

The three students, all Tulalip tribal members, received special recognition and were given a commemorative certificate during the Marysville School District’s school board meeting held on Monday, December 10.

Dakota Laducer, Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary.

Indigenous Education Liaison Breezy Distefano introduced Dakota to everyone in attendance. “Dakota has shown so much perseverance in his learning, and tries to learn something new every day,” she said. “He has recently increased his testing scores by over 200 points, which is a huge accomplishment.”

QCT Elementary teachers and Admin staff turned out to cheer on Dakota.

Dakota accepted his award with a large ovation from the crowd as many Quil Ceda Tulalip teachers and administrative staff turned out to support the young man’s academic milestone. 

Principal Douglas Shook explained, “We are absolutely proud of Dakota and the growth he has made as a student, but also as a leader. He is one of our students that embodies the growth spirit we have at Quil Ceda Tulalip. We have a lot of staff that are rooting for his success.”

Devaney Jones, Totem Middle School.

Next up, 8th grader Devaney was described by Native Liaison Terrance Sabbas. “Devaney is an amazing student who has top notch grades and is a great role model for all Totem students,” he said. “Talking with Devaney’s teachers they said she’s an incredibly hard worker, is very respectful, and has shown tremendous writing skills. What I enjoy most about Devaney is she takes her job as a student seriously and wants to achieve as best she can.”

Keyondra Horne, Marysville Getchell High School.

High school student of the month honors went to Getchell High School student standout, sophomore Keyondra Horne. “She has a 3.75 GPA and has only missed one day of school this year, so that is so awesome what she’s been able to achieve with her academics and attendance,” described Lead Indigenous Education Liaison, Matt Remle. “Not only is she succeeding in school, but even more astounding she is highly involved and engaged with her traditional culture. Keyondra is a fancy dancer in the Powwow circuit who reigns as a Princess for the Stillaguamish Powwow. She’s also been selected as a leader of her peers to be head-woman dancer for the upcoming MSD Christmas Powwow. No doubt, she will succeed in her post high school endeavors where she wants to go to college and major in Accounting.”

Going forward, a selection committee will review all student nominations based on their academics and school engagement. Each month three students (representing elementary, middle and high school levels) will be recognized as students of the month. For more information or to nominate a student, please contact Director of Equity, Diversity & Indigenous Education, Deborah Parker at 360-965-0059.

Quil Ceda Elementary Celebrates Diversity


By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 


President Trump’s latest immigration order suspended refugee resettlement in the United States for 120 days and indefinitely for Syria. In the same order, Trump suspended entry for 90 days for citizens of Muslim majority nations such as Iran, Iraq, and Libya. The President’s reasoning is national security, as he believes the countries harbor potential terrorists. The order was controversial, to say the least, and resulted in protests across America and a temporary halt to the order by the U.S. Federal Court. On social media, Native America showed support for refugees with the hashtag #NoBanOnStolenLand.

In a divided country, amidst the controversy surrounding Trump’s immigration order, Quil Ceda Elementary recently held a cultural fair to celebrate diversity by teaching their students about different cultures. School staff of varying cultural backgrounds prepared interactive stations to give students a look into the lives and cultures of other nations.

Upon arrival the students received paper passports. As they “traveled” around countries such as Guam, Peru, Mexico and China, they filled their passport with stamps from each country.

Quil Ceda Elementary also celebrated the culture of the Tulalip Tribes. The school dedicated four learning stations to the Tribe, each station representing different cultural aspects the Tribe values such as the Lushootseed language, the Hibulb Cultural Center, and basket weaving. An exclusive coastal jam was held in the school library, complete with a powwow rendition of the SpongeBob SquarePants theme song.

Cardboard presentations, prepared by students, were on display in the school cafeteria. The topics varied from Martin Luther King Jr. tributes to recent movements such as Black Lives Matter and Water is Life.

The after-school-hours event attracted a large amount of families, as parents and siblings joined the students in celebration. For many, the highlight of the evening was the international cuisine. As the students passed through different nations, they tasted traditional homemade dishes such as egg rolls, tortilla chips with pico de gallo, coconut candy, and frybread.

Once the students completed their passports they received a free book of their choice to take home.



During a time when the President is signing executive orders that violate the rights of Native, Muslim, and Mexican-Americans (not to mention the women of America) events such as cultural fairs are vital to communities in America. Through the cultural fair, the youth learned the importance of diversity as well as the history and traditions of several countries in a fun, interactive yet respectful manner.

Many students enjoyed the event, as evidenced by student Colt, as he excitedly exclaimed, “I had a blast! I really did. It was so awesome reading about Vietnam and China.”

“And I liked the egg rolls the best!,” his younger brother, Evan, quickly added.


1st Annual Marysville Multicultural Fair – A celebration of diversity


Source: City of Marysville


The City of Marysville, Mayor’s Diversity Advisory Committee and Marysville Arts Coalition invite you to the 1st Annual Marysville Multicultural Fair set for 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 20 in downtown Comeford Park, 514 Delta Ave.

Come celebrate diversity in the Marysville-Tulalip communities and the many cultures who call the area home.

The multicultural fair is a free event for the entire family. Enjoy music and dance from around the world on stage in the Rotary Pavilion in Comeford Park. Experience traditions from other lands through demonstrations and displays. Enjoy the food court where exotic ethnic foods will be available for purchase, and explore artwork on display from our diversity arts contest coordinated by the Marysville Arts Coalition. Plenty of cultural resource and craft vendors, and hands-on activities for children.

The Coalition will announce and display the winning entries from an all-ages diversity arts contest earlier this year. The multicultural fair is proudly sponsored by key sponsor Sea Mar Community Health Centers, HomeStreet Bank, Marysville/North County YMCA, Molina Healthcare and Marysville Free Methodist Church.

Come one, come all “We are excited to offer this new event to bring hundreds of people together in a celebration of the many diverse nations, languages and cultures of the world through food, art, music and dance,” says Mayor Jon Nehring. Nehring established the Diversity Advisory Committee in 2010 to advise him and city government leaders on issues of diversity and inclusion. The Committee also includes representation from advocates of individuals with a physical or mental disability.
Music and dance with Mi Pais mariachi band, Bollywood-style dance featuring Rhythms of India, The Tarantellas with songs of Italy, Voices of the Village, Native American flautist Peter Ali, Marysville Y Break-Dancers and Mexican youth dance in traditional wear. Native American storytellers, cultural resource vendors, food court with ethnic specialties for purchase, and diversity artwork on display.

See for more details.

EvCC Welcomes Chief Diversity Officer María Peña

Source: EvCC


EVERETT, Wash. – Everett Community College has hired María Peña as the college’s chief diversity officer, a new position created to lead the college’s efforts to create and sustain a climate of diversity and equity.

Peña, of Mill Creek, brings 23 years of higher education experience to EvCC. Previously, she served as dean for Student Services and assistant to the president at Peninsula College. She also assumed leadership responsibilities as the steward of the Peninsula College longhouse since its creation in 2006.

Peña began her community college career as a faculty counselor at Peninsula. She served in progressively responsible leadership positions, including lead administrator for Disability Services, retention advising specialist, associate dean for Student Success and dean for Student Development at Peninsula. She has also worked at the executive level, having served as acting vice president for Student Services at Peninsula.

Peña has a master’s degree in Educational Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Social Ecology with an emphasis on Human Behavior from University of California, Irvine.

Peña also has extensive international experiences, including studying in San Sebastian and Madrid, Spain.

EvCC’s Diversity & Equity Office advocates for the academic success of EvCC students, educates the campus and community about diversity and celebrates our differences.

For more information about EvCC’s Diversity & Equity Office, visit or contact Peña at

At this year’s big climate rally, most of the people won’t be pale, male, and stale

People’s Climate March
People’s Climate March

By Ben Adler, Grist

More than 500 organizations are planning a historic event for Sept. 21 in New York City, what they say will be the largest rally for climate action ever. Organizers and ralliers will be calling on world leaders to craft a new international climate treaty, two days before those leaders will convene at a Climate Summit at the United Nations headquarters. Jamie Henn, spokesperson for, the main convener of the event, declined to offer a precise target for turnout, but the current holder of the largest-climate-rally title, a February 2012 march on the White House, drew around 50,000 people, so organizers are expecting more than that — possibly significantly more.

However many people show up, though, this march will likely be historic for another reason: its diversity and its focus on climate justice. More than 20 labor unions are among the organizations leading in the planning and turnout efforts. On Wednesday morning, representatives of a handful of them gathered in the Midtown Manhattan office of 1199, the local chapter of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), for a press conference, and then they were joined in Times Square by more unions for a small pep rally to promote the September event. Other groups present included locals from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the Transport Workers Union of Greater New York (TWU), and local social- and environmental-justice organizations such as UPROSE and the NYC Environmental Justice Alliance.


woman with sign
People’s Climate March


These locals are larger than they sound. 1199 and 32BJ, another union also affiliated with SEIU, cover multiple large East Coast states including New York, Massachusetts, and Florida. 1199 alone has more than 400,000 members. And they are diverse — 1199 represents health care workers such as nurses, and 32BJ represents custodial workers. These are not like the overwhelmingly white male unions in the construction trades. They are predominantly non-white and largely made up of women. This includes their top leadership, and their representatives at Wednesday’s event.

Speakers at the press conference and the rally focused on the ways low- and middle-income New Yorkers like their members are affected by climate change. Hurricane Sandy loomed large. In the storm’s aftermath, hospital and transportation workers were tasked with trying to save lives and get the city running amid flooded infrastructure and prolonged blackouts. For people who care about being able to provide reliable transportation and health care, the threat of more frequent superstorms, heat waves, and floods is alarming. And the flooding of waterfront industrial districts like the South Bronx and Brooklyn’s Sunset Park caused major disruption for private sector blue-collar workers and nearby working class neighborhoods.

Many of the union members live in public housing, which is often located in waterfront neighborhoods like the Lower East Side, Red Hook, and Far Rockaway. Those low-lying projects were among the worst-hit areas during Sandy. “Twenty percent of public housing in New York City was affected by Sandy,” said Eddie Bautista, executive director of the NYC Environmental Justice Alliance. “It’s about community health, it’s about jobs, and it’s about justice.”

The unions also see moving to a sustainable clean energy economy, instead of one based on extracting fossil fuels, as a matter of economic self-interest. 1199, unlike some construction unions, opposes approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline because, says spokesperson Chelsea-Lyn Rudder, “We want long-term jobs, not the short-term jobs that Keystone might create.” Cutting down on auto emissions and oil consumption by expanding mass transit, instead of building an oil pipeline, would create permanent jobs driving buses and trains. “Mass transit is green jobs,” noted LaTonya Crisp-Sauray, an official from the TWU.

The concerns for these communities go beyond extreme weather events like Sandy. A custodian from the Bronx who gave her name only as Mary, and was there on behalf of 32BJ, pointed out that asthma could be worsened by climate change, and it is already an epidemic in heavily polluted, lower-income communities like the Bronx. “The Bronx has a 20 percent childhood asthma rate, one of the highest rates in the nation,” she said. “[Combatting climate change] is about saving lives.”

climate rally


At the little pep rally in Times Square, the group of about 100 was filled with union members sporting their locals’ T-shirts and waving their banners. Even the United Auto Workers had a few members present. And the social-justice groups brought out everyone from older women to teenagers.

The result was a remarkable sight. Here was a rally for addressing climate change — an issue so often dismissed by conservatives as of interest only to out-of-touch affluent elites like Hollywood actors and former vice presidents — where both the speakers and the crowd were mostly black and Latino. These were members of the most affected communities — including Roberto Borrero from the International Indian Treaty Council, which works for indigenous rights throughout the Americas — talking about how the issue affects them.


climate rally


The environmental movement is often criticized for being mostly white, male, wealthy, and college-educated. As Grist’s Brentin Mock just noted, it is the leaders of environmental organizations who come from that demographic, even though the neighborhoods with the worst pollution are disproportionately low-income and non-white. Sure enough, some of the only white male speakers at Wednesday’s event were the ones from environmental organizations. But at least they recognize the importance of communities of color and blue-collar workers in the movement, and they have successfully partnered with civil-rights, social-justice, and labor organizations.

The images from the march on Sept. 21 probably won’t conform to the snarky stereotypes about Vermont liberals wearing Birkenstocks and driving Volvos. Of course, inconvenient truths have never stopped conservatives from casting unfair aspersions. But even if those conservatives won’t admit it, the movement is diversifying.

Ben Adler covers environmental policy and politics for Grist, with a focus on climate change, energy, and cities. When he isn’t contemplating the world’s end, he also writes about architecture and media. You can follow him on Twitter.