Shiosaki Family Arrives in Spokane

By Patricia Bayonne-Johnson

Kisaburo Shiosaki

Railroad and mine companies in the West had a severe shortage of laborers in the 1880s and 1890s so they reached across the Pacific to Japan to solve their problem. Thousands of healthy, strong, young Japanese laborers were recruited.  Kisaburo Shiosaki was of the laborers who came to America and eventually ended up in Spokane.

Click here for full story of Kisaburo Shiosaki.

Red State Blue State Screaming

Bob has photographed Jay in the red part of a Blue State

Jay Cousins

This election cycle has produced an angry red state blue state screaming match, where the middle of the US seems to hate both coasts, while the coasts deride and demean the values of those in the middle American states. So, I have an observation:The coasts are the most populous areas of the country, and how did they gain that distinction? Through the migration of the people who lived in those Plains states to either of the Coasts. This migration started during the Depression and continues today. A brief review of these changes might prove useful in providing some discussion points.

I will use the example of California as I am from there and know its population changes first hand.

In 1900, the population of California was, 1,485,000, by 1950 the population had risen to, 10,586,223, about a seven fold increase. This increase was due to a number of factors: The Depression, the Dust Bowl, WWII, and the idea that California was the land of sunshine and opportunity.

By 1970, the number of residents had risen to, 19,953,134, or close to doubling in just twenty years. When I moved away, in the late 70’s, the number had moved up to around 22,000,000. Today there are about 40,000,000 people who call California home. All of this later increase (post 1950) came about because California is seen as a beacon for a great many people; providing opportunity, and a more liberal, accepting place that allows for racial and religious and lifestyle differences to coexist with a minimum of friction.

Now, where did all of these people come from? Most of them migrated from the middle of the country. They are the children and relatives of the very people who deride and discount them today. This seems to me to be more than a little absurd. By the simple act of moving their location, they have become the enemy, the other. Are these people now seen as turncoats to the cause? What cause? Meanwhile, those new coast residents are now trying to shout down the very people they came from originally. This is funny, ludicrous and a bit sad.

Over the last thirty or so years, Californians have moved out of state; moving to Oregon and Washington in large numbers, resulting in those states becoming more liberal and more prosperous. When I moved to Spokane, I was met with several people who commented that since I was from California, I should move back there. After hearing this enough times to become annoying, I responded that I would, if they could get the million or so Washingtonians who had moved to California to move back to Washington. I didn’t move back, so I guess that the deal is off and they won’t move back either.

It does seem unfortunate that we are unable to remember that we all come from similar places and that we all live in one big place. We are so much poorer without each other.

Spokane: Deepening the Dialogue


Join the Discussion at East Central Community Center

We’ve all heard that Spokane is a great place to raise a family. But, Spokane Regional Health District’s recent health equity report paints a different picture of Spokane County. Health inequities affect us all, and it’s time to do something about it. Numerous local agencies are banding together to host Health Equity in Spokane: Deepening theDialogue. Join us for this free event and help be a part of the solutions.

October 10, 2012 from 6:00 – 8:00 pm

East Central Community Center 500 S Stone St, Spokane, WA 99202

Light refreshments served.

For more information, please call 324-1542


Ericka Huggins, Former Black Panther Party Leader, to Speak at Gonzaga

The Melding of Spiritual Activism and Social Justice is the title of a lecture to be given by Ericka Huggins on February 13 at 7 pm at Gonzaga University’s Jepson Wolff Auditorium. Ms Huggins is an “activist, poet, professor, and former Black Panther Party Leader and political prisoner”.


Black HIV/AIDS in Spokane by Robert Williamson

Every time I hear the word disproportionate in conjunction with African Americans I cringe.  The reason is, is the information that follows is never good.  Here are a some examples of what I am talking about:  There are a disproportionate amount of African American males incarcerated, there are a disproportionate amount of African Americans with high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, who are unemployed and live in the filthiest neighborhoods in America.  I am sure you get my drift.  This list is not conclusive.  We have a lot on our plates.  The list just got bigger.  Did you know that we have the largest rates of people who are newly infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)?  The following information comes from the Center of Disease Control. . . . .

The rate of new infections among Black NHs is approximately 6.0 times higher than White NHs in Spokane County and 6.4 times higher in Washington State.    Full story . . . .

Adilah Barnes at Whitworth – One Actor’s Journey

Cover of Adila Barnes' autobiography

Adilah Barnes performance in the one woman show I Am That I Am: Woman, Black at Whitworth University on October 26 was an evening of inspiring theater. The choice of women portrayed (from Sojourner Truth forward to Angela Davis and May Angelou), the interesting and meaningful selection of their words woven together with song in a dark theater was moving. As the excellent questions from students, faculty and community members revealed something of Ms. Barnes life and spirit and because some of her life path seemed to parallel my own I decided to buy her book so I could find out more.  We talked a little as she signed the book and indeed we had both been college students in the San Francisco Bay area in the late 60’s and early 70’s – that great time of change. . . . . .

But as I opened her book and read about her origins I realized we had even more in common – we are both from Oroville, California. . . . . (more)

Thanks to Adilah Barnes for sharing her life journey so unreservedly. It was heart warming to read the story of someone who set goals and didn’t let anything stop her from reaching them.  More information about her, including where you can buy her book, may be found at her website.
IMDB (The Internet Movie Database) pulls up some full episodes of TV series she was in if you search her name: