EchoX “Best” of 2023
With 2023 behind us, here’s a look back at a few of our proudest accomplishments from the year. For such a small team, we were able to do so much!
While we would have loved to be able to include all aspects of our work over this past year, we would never be able to succinctly encapsulate it all in one article. You can find the full extent of our work around our site in Voices, the Directory, DIGITIZE, the Calendar, and ENGAGE, the newest component of the Northwest Cultural Resource Center.
Story Gathering: the Series
Story Gathering, our first programming to focus on the written word, has long been a dream of our staff. The program has two components: Story Gathering: the Workshop and Story Gathering: the Sandbox.
Story Gathering: the Workshop
The series started off in fall 2022 with a social media fellowship where our Communications Director, Kathryn Lam, led a high school student through the process of creating and running a social media campaign. The workshop itself began in winter 2023, led by Kathryn and volunteer Kamna Shastri, former EchoX Editor and current KUOW Community Outreach Coordinator, led a three-month hybrid workshop for area high school students focused on “own voices,” a central theme of unity and understanding across cultures (and community). Student participants received compensation upon submission of their final piece, a minimum 1000-word article detailing something that was or is important to them and their understanding of their self in relation to their ethnic cultural community or place in the world. We had eleven wonderful, thoughtful pieces written by the students in this workshop. Two of the students even returned to co-write a reflection piece about their participation and journey.
Story Gathering: the Sandbox
2023 was a year of many firsts. One of our favorites was our first pilot program for young adults, ages 18-29, Story Gathering: The Sandbox. The Sandbox, led by our Communications Director, is similar to the workshop in that it pays young adults to create “own voices” pieces about something important to them and their understanding of their self in relation to their ethnic cultural community or place in the world. This reoccurring theme of “own voices” as a way to explore unity and understanding across cultures (and community) is paramount to our mission and vision at EchoX.
Our pilot program is comprised of six young adults from King County who spent all of fall 2023 working hard on their pieces. Their work will debut at a public showcase in late January 2024, where you will have a chance to hear the participants talk about their stories. The pieces will be published on our website shortly after. Check our social media for an invitation to the showcase and to be among the first to read these thoughtful pieces written by our pilot participants.
DIGITIZE Summer Programming
This year, we ran two summer programs simultaneously, “How to Look Cool Online,” an HTML workshop created by students for students, and DIGITIZE summer opportunities, a chance for DIGITIZE students to practice their storytelling skills through reporting on local events for Voices while working with our Communications Director.
“How to Look Cool Online”
This was the third year of “How to Look Cool Online,” a workshop created by one of our former DIGITIZE students while he was still in high school to encourage other students to get engaged with digital storytelling through website creation. This workshop has been a hit with students again and again, and we are always so excited to see what the new year of summer students will spring to the table. Each year we are always blown away by the amazing work created by students and this year was no different. We had five participants complete the workshop, each with a beautiful website and story to tell.
Following the success of our Story Gathering workshop, we launched a summer opportunities program for high school students to practice their storytelling skills for Voices. This year, we had two students create pieces for us. The first piece to come out of this program was EchoX’s Story Gathering Workshop 2022-23, an article written about the winter 2023 program. The other pieces are set to come out in 2024, so keep checking our social media to see the hard work created by our students!
We created ENGAGE towards the end of 2023 as a space for our Northwest communities to find and share opportunities with each other. This newest addition to our Northwest Cultural Resource Center is a collation of various opportunities located by our staff and sent to us by local organizations and businesses. On ENGAGE, you’ll find new and upcoming jobs, programs, fellowships, artist calls, volunteering, and funding.
Indigenous Peoples’ Day 2023
Our Indigenous Peoples’ Day 2023 resource post, created by two of our Native staff members, showcased Indigenous music and poetry that particularly resonated with our staff. The post only skims the surface of Indigenous art and will hopefully serve as a jumping off point for those interested in learning and listening to more Indigenous stories through music and poetry. The post also contained a link to Indigenous Peoples’ Day festivities around the Northwest to further encourage people to engage directly with community.
And with that, the 2023 year comes to a close. Thank you so much for being with us on this journey! If you enjoyed our work from 2023, please consider supporting us with a $5 donation to help us continue to offer these free resources to the public.
We are looking forward to 2024 and the new challenges (and stories) it will bring! We’re so excited for some of the things we have planned for this year and hope that you’ll be here to experience the journey with us! Stick around for the release of our 2023 annual report and letter from the Executive Director.
Our Northwest ethnic cultural communities have stories to tell and we need your support to amplify them! Donate $5 or $10 to help us continue raising the visibility of Northwest cultural community organizations and members. Follow us on social media or sign up for our mailing list to stay up to date on the latest in the Northwest.