Lynnwood city councilmember brings ‘Love Conquers All’ tour to Edmonds-Woodway

Lynnwood City Councilmember Josh Binda speaks to students at Edmonds-Woodway High School earlier this week.

Lynnwood City Councilmember Josh Binda visited Edmonds-Woodway High School on Jan. 17 to talk with hundreds of students about love and empathy. The event — taking place the day after Martin Luther King Jr. Day — was organized by the school’s Black Student Union.

Binda asked the bleachers full of students to have a conversation with him, an offer accepted with cheers and whistles. Binda talked about his struggles during his upbringing as one of four children raised by a single mother. He focused on the importance of having empathy for others, as people don’t always know what others are going through.

“How do you love people when they don’t like you?” Binda continued. “It takes courage to love.”

Savannah Jackson, owner of Mixed Coffee & Community in Mill Creek, also spoke. In addition, she sang the national anthem.

Jackson talked about her isolating experiences growing up as one of five black students in her entire high school, and she said the diversity she saw in the EWHS crowd excited her.

Savannah Jackson sings the national anthem before her talk

Students also spoke about their own experiences. Nyakueth Deng, a senior on the EWHS girls varsity basketball team, mentioned the challenges she had faced as a student and person of color, such as trying to connect with her culture and racial identity in a place where it isn’t represented.

Student Nyakueth Deng speaks about cultural and racial identity.

Students were invited to participate in a Q&A session with Binda in the school library after the rally. Binda was elected to the Lynnwood City Council in 2021 at the age of 21, becoming the youngest African American in Washington state history to be voted into a political office.

Binda plans to visit over a dozen schools in the Puget Sound area during his Love Conquers All tour. 

— Story and photos by Jasmine Contreras-Lewis

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