2018 MLK at Mt. Zion a celebration of the fight against violence — and a standing ovation for the first Black woman to lead Seattle Police

The deadliest weapon in 2018? Hateful rhetoric. What does non-violence mean in Trump’s America? Seattle writer Ijeoma Oluo deconstructed and rebuilt the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr. in her keynote Friday in front of dignitaries and city officials at the 45th annual MLK celebration at 19th and Madison’s Mt. Zion Baptist Church.

“Those who position themselves as allies to Dr. King’s commitment to non-violence must join us in our commitment to fight the fights of a discriminatory justice system, to fight the racial violence of our medical system, to fight the violence of systemic poverty, to fight the violence of erasure,” Oluo said inside the Central District house of worship home to one of the area’s largest Black congregations. “And to fight the violence,” she continued, “of taking on the loving heroes and community leaders and reducing them to little more than a speech about a dream in order to further diminish us all.” Continue reading

32+ things CHS heard during the District 3 candidates forum

IMG_9724IMG_9751There weren’t many fireworks, but the crowd sure was fired up for the first ever candidate forum for the newly created District 3 race. All five candidates seeking to represent Capitol Hill and the Central District at City Hall gathered before a standing room only crowd Tuesday night to answer questions on a wide range of topics, including crime, affordable housing, and transportation.

There was no back-and-forth or debating among the candidates — in fact, candidates clapped for each other on multiple occasions and rarely addressed one another. Occasional boos and hisses from the crowd came mostly when a candidate spoke out against rent control, a key part of City Council member Kshama Sawant’s platform.

Despite being the de-facto incumbent in the race, Sawant faced no challenges to her two year record on City Council. It would have been a tough room to do so. Sawant supporters packed the space and were told several times by moderators to hold their applause.

Organized by the 43rd District Democrats, the event was unusually energetic and well attended by both voters and media for a City Council forum. You can see a raw play-by-play by scrolling though #43SeaD3 or watch a video of the event here.

Highlights: Sawant on housing and rent control | Banks opening | Lightning round waterfront tunnel and transit levy

Most of the event, held at 19th and Madison’s Mt. Zion Baptist Church, featured questions from moderators Josh Feit of PubliCola and Erica Barnett of The C. is for Crank, and included questions submitted by the audience.

Two lightning rounds had candidates answer questions by holding up “yes” or “no” placards, or a box of frozen waffles, which gave them 10 seconds to explain their reason for waffling on the issue.

Sawant is leading the fundraising race, with nearly $82,000 raised as of May 11th. She also has the lowest average contribution size at $110 — a testament to the candidate’s grassroots approach. Pamela Banks has raised the second most in the race at $48,500, closely followed by Rod Hearne as Morgan Beach and Lee Carter trail far behind.

Another candidate forum is scheduled to take place June 8th, organized by residents of Madison Park and Madison Valley.

CHS Notes:

  • In her opening statement, Sawant touted her role in passing a $15 an hour minimum wage in Seattle, her choice to not accept a wage above an “average worker’s wage,” and refusal to take corporate donations for her campaign.
  • Hearne received no applause for touting his role in fighting for marriage equality in the state, a key accomplishment for his candidacy.
  • Calling himself an “informational candidate,” Carter said he was not seeking votes., rather he wanted to promote a return to neighborhood government and senior housing. Continue reading

City funds year-round youth shelter at 19th and Madison

61464_172894822849602_1913562182_nThe much needed — but temporary — set of beds inside 19th and Madison homeless youth facility Peace for the Streets by Kids from the Streets is still needed. And no longer temporary.

Mayor Ed Murray’s office announced Wednesday that PSKS will receive an additional $130,000 needed to operate as a year-long shelter.

Earlier this year, the 19th Ave community center used city funding to add its shelter beds as a temporary cold-weather measure. The shelter admits anyone between the ages of 18-29, and executive director Susan Fox said PSKS strives to make the space as safe as possible for queer youth. PSKS has a queer youth internship program, a transgendered support group, and has LGBTQ staff members.

The new grant will also allow PSKS to add an additional five beds to the facility starting in June.

“In a region like ours where there is such tremendous wealth, it’s heartbreaking that any of our youth experience homelessness,” Murray said in the announcement of the grant. “That’s why it is vital that we provide a warm bed, a pillow, and some relief from the dangers of the street. While permanent, safe housing is the ultimate goal, securing these additional resources will mean a few more young people every night won’t have to sleep on the streets.”

The funding meets a recommendation from a committee on homelessness advising the mayor and will also address some of the needs that have been expressed as solutions for countering hate crime on Capitol Hill including the demand for LGBTQ youth shelter space.