Sydney Brownstone wrote a well-researched, in-depth story on Burien for The Stranger this week, entitled “Trump’s America Is 10 Miles South of Downtown Seattle (How Burien became a microcosm of national politics).”
In it, she addresses racism, along with our city’s recent political battles dealing with immigration, sanctuary city status, and Initiative No. 1 (repealing the city’s ‘sanctuary’ Ordinance 651), which will be on the Nov. 7 ballot.
The RV in Hugo Garcia’s neighborhood still bears faint traces of spray paint. Someone tried to scrub it clean, but the words left behind a rust-colored stain: “F*%&ing MEXICANS.”
Burien is a small city of 50,000 people sandwiched between Puget Sound and Sea-Tac International Airport. The median household income is $53,712, but the poverty rate is 18.2 percent. The area hosted white settlers in the mid-1800s, but only became formally incorporated in 1993, when communities living near the airport wanted a bigger say in its impacts on local residents. Ask any Burienite what comes to mind when they hear “old Burien,” and they’ll say “bedroom community,” meaning an opportunity for Boeing workers or Seattle commuters to have a home with plenty of space in the burbs.
But for decades before the city’s incorporation, Burien also drew immigrants from Cuautla, Mexico, who helped kick-start the entire region’s Mexican restaurant industry. The school districtâ€”41 percent Latinoâ€”is one of the most diverse in the state. And for decades, the city has drawn immigrants from El Salvador, Guatemala, and elsewhere who have launched pupuserias and specialty bakeries.
It’s definitely worth a read â€“ check out Sydney’s full story here.