A roundup of news and announcements we don’t want to get lost in the fast-churning news cycle!

curated by Vee Hua 華婷婷

✨Gleaming This Week✨

First Long COVID Awareness Day Occurs on March 15

The first International Long COVID Awareness Day is occurring on March 15, 2023. The new annual observance hopes to “spread information about the impacts of Long COVID around the world” through online events hosted by Long COVID support groups as well as those suffering from the illness. Events include Twitter spaces to support people with Long COVID and to educate others about the illness. Participants in the awareness campaign will be posting black-and-white photos of activities those with Long COVID can no longer perform under the hashtags #LongCOVIDAwarenessDay and #LongCOVID.

“My hope is that this awareness campaign will make the impacts of Long COVID more visible to those outside our community, plus serve as a resource connection hub for both those suffering from Long COVID and also those who may not yet know that they are suffering from this disease,” said Angela Laffin, campaign organizer, founder of the grassroots movement International Long COVID Awareness, and first-wave Long COVID patient, in a press release in February.

In a report published in January 2023 by academic journal Nature Reviews Microbiology, health experts estimate that at least 10% of those infected with COVID-19 will end up with Long COVID and that at least 65 million people across the globe already have the illness, where symptoms, ranging from “brain fog” to difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, last for more than 12 weeks after the initial COVID-19 infection.

“The public health emergency is likely to come to an end on May 11, but we can’t forget millions of people who are dealing with this issue,” said Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) on the U.S. Senate floor on March 15 to mark International Long COVID Awareness Day. “We have got to improve our outreach and education, we have to accelerate our research to come up with treatments and cures that work, and we have to do it with a sense of urgency.”

If you think you or your child has Long COVID, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend speaking with your doctor and has online resources and tips for discussing Long COVID with your health care provider.

Photo depicting the exterior of the NP Hotel in the Chinatown-International District.
The NP Hotel in the Chinatown-International District, Seattle, Washington, Aug. 14, 2007. Photo is attributed to Joe Mabel (under a Creative Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0 license).

Department of Commerce Opens $100M in Grants for Hospitality and Lodging Businesses

As of March 14, applications are now available from the Washington State Department of Commerce for hospitality and lodging industry businesses. $100 million is available via the Coronavirus State & Local Fiscal Recovery Fund, which was part of the federal American Rescue Plan.

Eligible businesses must have suffered business losses greater than 25% in gross receipts between 2019 and 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic and must not intend to close in 2023. They must also still have current expenses to pay. Additional limitations apply.

According to a press release from the Department of Commerce, the grants are available for the following types of businesses:

  • Restaurants; food stands, trucks, and carts.
  • Caterers, bars, saloons, lounges, and taverns.
  • Snack and non-alcoholic beverage bars.
  • Licensed alcohol producers where the public may taste, sample, or purchase products.
  • Hotels and motels (except casinos), and inns and bed-and-breakfast establishments that have a least five private lodging rooms or onsite sales of food and beverage that account for at least 25% of gross receipts or sales.
  • Bakeries, brewpubs, tasting rooms, taprooms, breweries, microbreweries, wineries, and distilleries are also eligible to apply if onsite sales to the public comprise at least 25% of gross receipts or sales.
  • Bowling alleys and convention and visitors bureaus will also be considered for a grant, depending on the availability of funds.

The grants are primarily intended for businesses with less than $5 million in annual gross receipts within designated NAICS codes.

Interested parties can learn more or apply online at WAHospitalityGrants.com. For questions, email [email protected].

Photo depicting two female-presenting individuals laying woodchips from a wheelbarrow onto a garden path.
At a Black Star Farmers event at the New Holly Market Garden, Enat Amare (left) uses a shovel to lay down woodchips to help level the pathway. (Photo: Ronnie Estoque)

Enrollment Is Open for Black Star Farmers’ Water Resilience Program

Black Star Farmers — an organization with diverse identities working towards the radical reclamation of land and food sovereignty of all beings — is seeking 5–7 participants for cohort-based learning for a vocational stormwater training program entitled the Rainier Valley Water Resiliency course.

Participants will learn how to implement storm/rainwater management practices and low-tech rainwater harvesting techniques and build a foundation understanding of integrated landscape design in a community with Black and Indigenous stewards. The program is designed to create workforce opportunities and will include potential job leads or future client generation; selected participants will also receive a $4,000 stipend and certificate of completion at the end of the course.

Over a 17-week period, participants will engage in a hybrid learning model consisting of 150 hours of on-site field days, pre-work assignments, virtual learning sessions, online learning sessions, and more.

The program officially begins on May 15, and those from historically underrepresented backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

Online applications and full details, including important dates, can be seen on the Black Star Farmers website. For additional assistance, email [email protected].

Amy’s Merkato’s “Vegetarian Combo” with red lentil wot, yellow spit pea wot, shiro wot, spinach and collard greens, cabbage and carrots, and their fresh house salad with a lightweight tangy dressing. (Photo taken for Plate of Nations by Carolyn Bick.)

Plate of Nations Features 40 Eateries in South Seattle

A restaurant event started in 2011 by the MLK Business Association, Plate of Nations will return this year from March 24 to April 9, featuring 40 eateries in Southeast Seattle’s Othello, Beacon Hill, Mt. Baker, Hillman City, Rainier Beach, and Columbia City neighborhoods. The event aims to bring communities together over food, featuring a diversity of ethnic foods from around the world.

Each restaurant will offer a specially designed shareable plate for $25 to $35 apiece. The diversity of dishes offered will help show off the cultural vibrancy of the Pacific Northwest.

Find a full list of restaurants participating in this year’s Plate of Nations, as well as menus, on PlateOfNations.com. Follow Plate of Nations on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, or LinkedIn, for opportunities to participate in games and have opportunities to win restaurant certificates.

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