Following May Day evening’s anti-capitalist march and its rapid devolution into a reported frenetic crazed mess of excessive SPD flash bangs, pepper spray, and some trashcan flipping anarchists, Saturday brought two #Blacklivesmatter protests, demonstrations which received significantly less media coverage than their Friday counterparts. The actions were a show of solidarity with the civil unrest that has rocked Baltimore, originally sparked by the police killing of Freddie Grey. The day’s marches remained peaceful, with no property damage, arrests, or other altercations occurring. Below are photos that were taken at Saturday’s rallies, and look through my tweets for in-the-moment coverage. Also peep some of my shots in today’s Morning Fizz on Publicola.
As the Legislature continues to nervously stare down both the McCleary State Supreme Court ruling to fully fund public k-12 education the and recently passed initiative I-1351 to reduce class sizes, several Seattle legislators proposed a controversial bill to deal with long-standing issues in city schools. Their solution? Split the Seattle school district.
The prospect of such a bill had the Seattle education community up in arms. But to the relief of critics, the bill died and never made it to the House floor for a vote.
The legislation had previously seemed to be carrying momentum behind it. Towards the beginning of the legislative session, democratic representatives Eric Pettigrew and Sharon Tomiko Santos of the 37th legislative district co-sponsored house bill 2048, which would have required that any school districts be larger than 35,000 students be split in smaller separate districts by 2018. Seattle school district has close to 50,000 students.
Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos (D-37)
In a joint statement Pettigrew and Santos called out the district for “failing” to produce better academic outcomes and opportunities for students and proclaimed that “something has to change for the students of South Seattle schools.”
Word about the bill had gotten out at that point, and representatives from the Seattle Council Parent Teacher & Student Association [PTSA], Seattle Public Schools [SPS], and others testified against the legislation at a February 10th education committee hearing. All who spoke were vehemently opposed to HB 2048. Seattle School Board Member Dr. Stephan Blanford called the bill “shocking,” adding that it would exacerbate pre-existing inequity in Seattle schools.
On Saturday, January 10th, #Blacklivesmatter protesters calling for police accountability marched from Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park to the King County Youth Detention Center at 12th and Alder in the Central District. The march was organized by an activist group called Women of Color for Systemic Change, and remained entirely peaceful without arrests or other incidents. The march shut down several intersections along Rainier avenue south and elsewhere where protesters discussed broader institutional racism and more specific issues such as gentrification in Seattle and the proposed construction of a new 210 million dollar Youth Detention Center. Many bystanders raised their hands or fists in solidarity with the march. Below are photos taken at the event.
On Sunday December 14th, organizers of and supporters of the local #Blacklivesmatter movement took to Century Link field and stadium to not only protest systematic racism and police brutality at the popular and well attended Seahawks versus the SF 49er’s football game, but to also highlight the innate hypocrisy and racism present within the NFL and NFL fan bases. The protesters occupied the street adjacent to the stadium on its west side, and held a sit-in where numerous speakers spoke about the movement and racism in Seattle and America as a whole.
On December 6th over 1200 people gathered at Garfield High School to protest the recent Ferguson grand jury ruling not to indict officer Darren Wilson for killing unarmed black male Michael Brown, in addition to the Staten Island grand jury ruling not to indict NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo, racial profiling, police violence, and institutional racism. The march was organized by University of Washington students and peacefully occupied numerous intersections along 23rd Avenue & Jackson street where individuals of color spoke out against said issues and offered personal experiences in a racialized society. The march ended at Seattle Police Department Headquarters where a silent vigil was held for those lost to police violence and more speeches were given.
Also, read my coverage of the second #Blacklivesmatter march that day which resulted in 7 arrests.
Following the original permitted a #Blacklivesmatter protest that started at Garfield High school and ended with a sit-in outside the Seattle Police Department Headquarters, a breakaway protest formed and headed North through downtown Seattle. The march chanted, dodged SPD bike squads & cars, twice attempted to access the Alaskan Way Viaduct, and conducted a largely peaceful protest. Protesters were apprehended during the course of the march – SPD reported making seven arrests – and use of force was frequently employed via pepper spray, tackle take downs of protesters, shoving, and other forms of aggression. This reporter witnessed no property damage or physical assault of police officers committed by protesters. Below are photos and video taken during this protest.
SPD officers guard off ramp from Alaskan Way viaduct.
“Who is paying you guys to be here?” asks SPD officer guarding Alaskan Way viaduct off ramp. Crowd laughs.