Nikkita Oliver’s run for mayor: housing, education, and ending the ‘school-to-prison pipeline’

It's official. Nikkita Oliver turned in her paperwork Monday to enter the race to be Seattle's mayor

It’s official. Nikkita Oliver turned in her paperwork Monday to enter the race to be Seattle’s mayor

The newly formed Peoples Party of Seattle is putting all-in-one educator, attorney, spoken-word poet, and activist Nikkita Oliver forward as its candidate to take on Mayor Ed Murray for this year’s election.

Oliver’s decision to run and help launch the “community-centered grassroots political party” came after the election of President Donald Trump.

“I didn’t want to stand in a place of powerlessness,” Oliver said.

After the election, she started meeting people for coffee, talking about values and concerns. Oliver talked with the “aunties and elders” in her community about how people running on the same platforms yield the same results and maybe it’s time to try something different.

Over time, those conversations lead to the collective decision that “we need to transform our local government.”

The party formed and encouraged Oliver to run against Murray.

“I take what my community says to me to heart,” Oliver told CHS. “… I’m not going to act like I entered into this with ease. I take it very seriously.” Continue reading

Protest march covers Black Lives Matter hot spots from Capitol Hill to youth jail to Midtown Center


Around 2,000 people gathered Saturday night at Seattle Central for a Black Lives Matter protest that ended up covering a lot of mileage — and a lot of issues — with stops at a multitude of sites around Capitol Hill and the Central District including the East Precinct, the county’s youth jail facility, a troubled property on the backside of 23rd Ave’s Midtown Center, and, yes, Uncle Ike’s.

Screen Shot 2017-03-03 at 3.38.43 PMAfter a stop at the locked-down East Precinct at 12th and Pine, the huge three-block crowd of marchers made its way down 12th toward the King County Youth Services Center — also known as juvenile hall. Last week, activists learned that the the Hearing Examiner had dismissed an appeal blocking construction of a new youth jail and justice center at the site. In a decision issued last week, the examiner dismissed the appeal brought by Ending the Prison Industrial Complex’s asking for exceptions made in permits issued by the city to be overturned. Continue reading

Seattle’s State of the City 2017: $55M homelessness levy, soda tax for schools, Trump immigration push-back

At Northgate’s Idris Mosque Tuesday morning, Mayor Ed Murray gave his 2017 State of the City address, announcing plans to increase investments to further address homelessness and education disparities, and to continue to support immigrants and refugees in Seattle. Included in the speech were plans to activate a city emergency system usually reserved for bad weather and protests to provide more resources for helping the area’s homeless, a proposal for a $55 million property levy to fund homelessness services, and the floating of a possible Seattle soda tax to help fund schools. Video and the full text of Murray’s speech is below.

For Seattle, the biggest news of the speech will likely be the homeless levy proposal. The plan will go to city voters this August to ask them to approve an increase in the commercial and residential property tax of around $13 per month for the median household, according to the mayor’s office. Murray said that a coalition including entrepreneur Nick Hanauer, Downtown Emergency Services Center executive director Daniel Malone, and City Council members Debora Juarez and Sally Bagshaw will lead an advisory group to create the funding package for the proposal.

The mayor also announced a new offensive to push back on Trump administration immigration policies. Murray said the city will send Freedom of Information Act requests to multiple federal departments, including the Department of Homeland Security, in response to President Donald Trump’s actions affecting immigrants and refugees. Murray is seeking to determine potential enforcement actions the federal government may take against Seattle and other sanctuary cities and details about changes to travel and immigration policy.

“We believe that the rule of law is on our side,” Murray said, adding that Seattle will take legal action if the federal departments do not provide timely responses.

Murray’s State of the City announcements:

Murray said he also plans to meet with other regional mayors to about remaining safe sanctuary cities.

“Remaining open to all is a fundamental value of the city,” Murray said. “Seattle is a great city because of immigrants and refugees.” Continue reading

Day of #BlackLivesMatterAtSchool brings lessons on racism and Central District rallies

The scene at Garfield High School during a noontime rally Wednesday (Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

The scene at Garfield High School during a noontime rally Wednesday (Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

Hundreds of Seattle Public School teachers planned to wear Black Lives Matter t-shirts and incorporate lessons on racism into their classes Wednesday as part of an event organizers say is unprecedented in the racial equality movement.

More than 2,000 Black Lives Matter t-shirts were ordered in the district to participate in what Garfield High history teacher Jesse Hagopian called a “consciousness-raising” event.

“Racial equity will never be a reality unless people are willing to talk about it. This event provides an opportunity for conversations that can help our school move toward racial justice,” Hagopian wrote on his website.

The day of #BlackLivesMatterAtSchool will include a rally at Garfield’s 23rd Ave campus and culminate with an event at 14th and Fir’s Washington Hall with Seattle Seahawks player Michael Bennett and a performance by Kimya Dawson and others. Other schools in the region, including some elementary schools some outside the state, were participating and posting pictures of teachers wearing Black Lives Matter shirts on social media. Continue reading

Why aren’t there more Black Lives Matter signs on Capitol Hill?

(Image: Tatiana Gill via Flickr)

(Image: Tatiana Gill via Flickr)

“I’m with Her” signs are popping up around the neighborhood as Election Day approaches. But another cause could use more support. A Capitol Hill neighbor writes to ask why there aren’t more visible signs of support for the Black Lives Matter movement in the yards and windows of Capitol Hill. Here is the note CHS received from T. Sheldon over the weekend:

Today I was driving around Columbia City and was floored by how many BLM supporting signs that were displayed. I was not the only one who noticed, my kiddo who is nine said excitedly, Look! Look at all the signs they have here. It seems like a small thing, to stick a sign in your window or stuck into your lawn but that visual support has a huge impact on the self worth and value of marginalized people. My family is biracial and we definitely appreciate every sign we see!!!

Coming home to 15th Ave it was clear our neighborhood is a bit behind. We have a sign in our window, I’ve seen one other one on 14th and that’s it. I believe that families and individuals here do support BLM and maybe just don’t know where or how to get the signs or shirts…so here are a few links and if you have amazon prime you could be showing your support by Wednesday when Seattle schools will be having showing support by having staff and kids wear BLM tee-shirts and hosting conversations about social justice and racial equality.

Yard Sign
https://peacesupplies.org/products/black_lives_matter_yard_sign/

Window Sign
http://www.allposters.com/-st/BlackLivesMatter-Posters_c263728_.htm

If not a poster, maybe a shirt? There will be a large show of support Wednesday as the #BlackLivesMatterAtSchool effort rallies educators across Seattle:

In the first action of its kind in the country, hundreds of teachers, counselor, instructional assistants, office staff, and other educators, will wear “Black Lives Matter” shirts to school on Wednesday, October 19th. At the time of this release, already over 700 shirts have been ordered by educators in Seattle.

 

$12 million to homelessness, 200 police officers, electric cars, more streetcar: What’s in the mayor’s budget for Capitol Hill

screen-shot-2016-09-26-at-2-08-55-pmAfter taking on major initiatives like universal Pre-K and housing affordability, Mayor Ed Murray set a more restrained and “efficient” course for the City of Seattle during his 2017-2018 budget presentation at City Council Monday afternoon. That still didn’t keep dozens of protestors from chanting against the mayor’s police spending priorities just outside the council chambers.

Since the Great Recession, the city has amassed $35 million per year in construction fees, which Murray called out as a precarious financial situation. Projecting the rapid pace of construction will begin to slow in 2017, the mayor said his budget avoids making too many major longterm investments and puts money into the city’s rainy day funds.

“If 2014 was the year of the minimum wage, 2015 the year of housing affordability, and 2016 is the year of education, it is my intention to make 2017 the year of good governance,” he said. Continue reading

Security bolstered for Garfield football game amid backlash to team’s national anthem protest

The reaction was widespread, divided, and intense last week after the entire Garfield High football team voted to kneel during the national anthem for the rest of its season as a silent protest against racial injustice.

While many were supportive, backlash against players, coaches, and the school was in some instances extreme and threatening as news of the demonstration spread nationwide. Seattle Public Schools does not publicly address safety issues concerning specific students or staff, but a spokesperson said the school and Seattle Police are taking precautionary measures during Friday night’s game.

“There will be increased SPS safety and security presence at the game,” said SPS spokesperson Luke Deucy. “SPD will also increase police presence at the game.”

23rd Ave’s Garfield will be back at the SW Athletic Complex Friday to play Chief Sealth and will once again take a knee during the anthem. CHS has learned some family members of Garfield players will be wearing white t-shirts as a display of solidarity with the team’s decision to take a knee. Continue reading

Garfield High football players plan to kneel for national anthem

The Central District’s high school football team is planning to join a number of professional and student athletes nationwide in an ongoing demonstration against racial injustice during the school’s Friday night game.

The Garfield Bulldogs will travel to West Seattle where the entire team has decided they will kneel for the national anthem and continue to do so for the rest of the season. Coach Joey Thomas tells CHS the decision came out of ongoing conversations the team has had about race and social injustice. Students were particularly motivated to do something after learning about the rarely recited third verse of the Star-Spangled Banner, Thomas said, which celebrates the killing of rebellious slaves.

“One thing we pride ourselves on is we have open and honest conversations about what is going on in this society,” Thomas said. “It led kids to talk about the social injustice they experience … and it led to coaches to talk about what we go though. We’re teaching life skills through sports.”

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began sitting for the national anthem during the NFL’s preseason, sparking a national debate over the gesture. Kaepernick cited police brutality and the killing of unarmed African Americans as primary reasons for his demonstration. Thomas, whose father and grandfather served in the military, said those who argue the protest is disrespectful to service members are misinformed.

“It’s because they are over there fighting for our rights that we can stand for what we believe in,” he said. “It’s because of our military that we can have this silent protest.” Continue reading

Seattle Black Lives Matter protest makes long stop at mayor’s Capitol Hill home

For the second time this summer, a crowd of Black Lives Matter supporters marched from downtown across Capitol Hill Tuesday night to put their message against police violence on the streets of Seattle. But this time, the group of around 200 protesters included a new target: the North Capitol Hill home of Mayor Ed Murray.

According to Seattle Department of Transportation and Seattle Police radio reports, after marching from downtown, the protesters spent nearly an hour in the area around 10th and Boston in North Capitol Hill protesting outside Murray’s home. Continue reading

Live from the CD, Hella Black Hella Seattle tackles everything from race to restaurants

(Image: Hella Black Hella Seattle)

Jazz, Alaina, and Eula (Image: Hella Black Hella Seattle)

Three women from the Central District are on a mission to animate the lives of people of color living in Seattle through a by POC, for POC summer-long podcast series.

Friends Eula Scott Bynoe, Jasmine Jackson, and Alaina Caldwell began recording their podcast Hella Black Hella Seattle in May. The show features three segments, each curated by one of the three women: Caldwell reviews restaurants, Jackson previews events that she thinks are worth checking out, and Bynoe interviews notable people of color from the Seattle area. She’s part of a family that has been covering Black Seattle for years with the Central District’s The Facts newspaper.

Bynoe said the friends came up with the idea for the podcast after hearing people vent frustrations that they felt like they never met anyone interesting or heard about any good events in the Seattle area. All three were born and raised in the CD and have known each other for 13 years, and Bynoe said the picture of a boring Seattle did not match the social life the three friends have built for themselves. The podcast was a way to share their store of knowledge about how to find food, art, culture, and fun close to home.

“We know that there are tons of people, especially people of color, who don’t think there’s anything interesting happening here,” said Bynoe. The three came up with the idea for the podcast in early April, aired their first show in May, and have been dropping an episode every two weeks since then. Continue reading