Zip Code Economies Season 1.5

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Our latest conversations with members 
of Yakama Nation, a community on the eastside of the Cascade Mountains in Washington state, provided us with unique stories and perspectives on the interconnectedness of policy, place, 
and people. Hear from some of the Yakama Nation members we spoke with as they describe their community in One Word.
As we wrap up Zip Code Economies 1.5, we want to know how young people are faring. So we reconnect with Nefiso and Najmo Abdi, twin sisters we met as high schoolers from San Diego’s tight-knit Somali community. Now in college and navigating the intersection of COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter protests, they recognize you can’t put a timeline on change. Instead, they focus on what they can—learning from this time of turmoil and making sure their voices are heard.
We reconnect with Mr. Sanchez, the 10th grade English teacher at Firebaugh High School, who is the definition of an essential worker in the pandemic. Racial and economic inequities have always existed in Firebaugh, and recent events have only magnified this reality. As lack of internet access threatens to cut students off from his class, Mr. Sanchez fights to ensure continued access to education as an act of social justice.
If the intergenerational transmission of hope is a journey, Lahela Williams is an ideal guide. A Native Hawaiian, she discusses the effects of COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement in Honolulu, while drawing parallels with the fight to protect the sacred mountain, Mauna Kea. Through it all, we learn that from great chaos comes great change, and we have the “kuleana”—or responsibility—to maintain hope.
In our continued search for answers, we check in with Will Unga, a Pacific Islander raising his young kids in the predominately white, religious community of Salt Lake City. He walks us through his experiences, reminding us of our obligation to continually cultivate hope for the sake of both past and future generations.
In the first episode of Zip Code Economies 1.5, we reconnect with someone who understands how to nurture hope in others, even during the most difficult times. Pastor Paul Bains is a tireless advocate in East Palo Alto, especially on issues of justice and equality. Like tulips, we learn that hope can be buried for a time, but returns with patience, love, and perseverance.