STWTS Wheat-Pasting Night—As part of International Anti-Street Harassment Week, the awareness organization Stop Telling Women to Smile (STWTS) held a wheat-pasting night on April 17. Women all around the world were encouraged to post pictures on walls of themselves with words protesting street harassment.
STWTS is an art project headed by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, who is based in Brooklyn, N.Y. that uses oil paintings among other mediums to let women speak out against being harassed on the street.
“Street harassment is a serious issue that affects women worldwide. This project takes women’s voices, and faces, and puts them in the street—creating a bold presence for women in an environment where they are so often made to feel uncomfortable and unsafe,” said in a mission statement on their website.
The wheat-pasting event is meant for women to fill walls around the world, most of them close to sidewalks where women often face harassment, in order to speak out against catcalls and whistles. STWTS provided templates for posters to allow women from all across the world to show their displeasure with how they are treated on the street. The posters were placed on walls from Berlin to Mexico City.
City Employees Given Paid Maternity Leave—The Seattle City Council has voted to give expecting mothers four weeks of paid maternity leave. The decision will grant city employees paid time off, whether they birth a child, adopt or become foster parents. The U.S. is one of eight countries worldwide where paid maternity leave isn’t already in place. The bill will cost about $1.35 million a year, and is expected to be included in Mayor Ed Murray’s future budgets. Countries such as Canada offer up to 50 weeks of paid leave, which is a stark contrast to workers in America who often use up a majority of vacation and sick days to spend time with newborns, only to come back to work a few weeks later. The resolution could be a stepping-stone for a change in policy for many businesses not just in Seattle, but nationwide. The bill does not cover any working mothers in the private sector.
Council member Jean Godden was still proud of the outcome, and called it a “momentous day for our city.” She was one of the policy makers at the forefront of the ruling.
Beached Whale South of Westport—A whale that washed up south of Westport has sparked curiosity among scientists. The cause of death is unknown, though the whale appeared to be relatively healthy at first. A 25-foot 8-inch female arrived unexpectedly, though beached whales are becoming more of a common occurrence in Washington State. Cascadia Research has been working alongside the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, as well as the Westport aquarium to examine the one-year-old whale. Tissue samples from the whale will be looked at in order to see whether the genetics, contamination or pathology was the cause of death. However, the whale had been recently feeding on small fish, so the first instinct of local scientists was to assume that the cause of death was natural.
The International Whaling Commission estimates the population of Humpback whales in the North Pacific is 22,000, which was aided by the improved management of whaling exploits that began in the 1970s. Though, with whales popping upon beaches, there may be cause for concern that whales aren’t living as freely as they once did. Humpback whales have been protected since the 1960s, and have shown a steady rise in population figures. However, environmental impacts on top of whaling can make it difficult for whale populations to continue increasing.
Bomb Threat Suspect Taken into Custody—On April 20, the Seattle Police Department took into custody the Seattle University student suspected to have placed handwritten bomb threats around the school. The notes were found on Friday morning in women’s restrooms, two in the Engineering Building and two in the Pigott Building. Public Safety quickly notified SPD for assistance, evacuated the two buildings and sent out notifications to the campus community. They conducted floor-by-floor searches and by 11: 30 a.m., the clear was given for normal operations and classes to resume. Notes were also found at Swedish Medical Center’s Cherry Hill and James Tower locations on Saturday morning. Executive Director of Public Safety Tim Marron said in an e-mail statement to the campus community that the threats were not deemed credible and there is no reason to believe there is any cause for additional concern.
Credit Card CEO Increases Employee Earnings—A Seattle credit-card-payment processing firm has given all its employees a raise, with even the lowest standing clerk set to earn $70,000 a year. Gravity Payments, founded by current CEO Dan Price, has set out on a landmark decision to give its employees a living wage. Price founded the company when he was just 19, while he was attending the University of Washington. His salary will also change to $70,000 though he will take a pay cut from his current $1 million a year pay. The average salary at the firm is $48,000, though now 70 of the 120 workers will receive a raise, with 30 people even doubling their earnings. Price will use his pay cut as well as the companies $2.2 million expected profits to give the raises. The decision paves the way for what has become a hotly debated issue in America: the vast difference in earnings of executives and their workforce.
“The market rate for me as a CEO compared to a regular person is ridiculous. It’s absurd,” Price said. Not many CEOs will be willing to give up their lush salaries, but for the people on payroll at Gravity Payments, they are happy their boss is looking out for them.