Photo by Sierra Stinson for Prairie Underground

A Holiday Wish List From Hollis Wong-Wear

Seattle’s renaissance woman wants us all to dump the status quo.

A poet, musician, activist, and world traveler, Hollis Wong-Wear has seen her fair share of humanity—from singing in packed stadiums chanting for more to helping a young student write her first poem. As a result, we thought it a wonderful idea to ask Wong-Wear what might be on her wish list this year for the holiday season.

Anti-racism and anti-oppression commitments from everyone. In the age of Trump, “business as usual” means upholding the status quo, which means upholding latent prejudice and discrimination. A genuine commitment entails not only an outward outreach to community, but also acknowledging the rigorous internal education and coaching needed to truly transform our society. Every nonprofit, institution, community collective, company, and publication within Seattle (and beyond) needs to define common language and work actively to make sure that white fragility isn’t being prioritized over the voices, experiences, and needs of people of color; that they are not complicit in the intimidation, harassment, and exclusion of those on the margins; and that they are actively examining and harnessing their resources—with humility—toward social justice. A couple good beginning steps include engaging the City of Seattle Office of Civil Rights and the People’s Institute for Undoing Institutional Racism. This is no time to “wait and see”; it’s time to assess, strategize, and activate.

Anti-harassment and anti-assault policies. I’d like to see every nightclub, bar, and place where people gather where alcohol is also present to develop a clear statement of of these policies, and to train their security to be vigilant and proactive when these instances invariably occur. I was really grateful that a woman who came to see my band The Flavr Blue at Neumos last March reached out to me about a traumatic experience with assault as an audience member—it was an important reality check for me as a performer: Just because I personally value the safety and autonomy of all people does not mean that people gathered to see my band also share those values. The places we go to dance, drink, and find joy need to make strong statements that articulate a zero tolerance for nonconsensual behavior when it threatens anyone, including women and queer and trans folks. Q Nightclub, Night Shift, and Afropunk hold good examples of such messaging.

A gift certificate to Spinasse. After living on the Hill for 10 years, I still haven’t been to this local mecca of pasta deliciousness, and I’m trying to find out what’s good.

An Alaska Airlines gift certificate. Fly me to Havana ASAP!

A Blue Yeti Pro USB condenser microphone. I am scheming on a couple podcast ideas and would love to have a USB mic that’ll make it so much easier for me to track my musical ideas on my laptop in addition to my podcast ideas. Other than that, I don’t need any more material sh*t in my life!

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