Black Lives Matter at School rallies outside Garfield High

Education leader Jesse Hagopian gathered with educators and students in front of the Central District’s Garfield High School Monday afternoon to rally for the Black Lives Matter at School effort in Seattle and beyond.

“Last year, one of our demands of the Black Lives Matter movement in schools was to have ethnic studies implemented across the Seattle school district,” Hagopian said in front of the rally and assembled media. “That effort turned out not to be hollow words.” Continue reading

Remembering the infamous red line of ‘Segregated Seattle’

Every year during February’s Black History Month since we first ran the story in 2014, our report on the history of neighborhood segregation around Capitol Hill and the Central District is one of the most-searched articles on the CHS site.

“In 1927, a small group of white homeowners on Capitol Hill had a problem,” it begins,  “How to keep the Central District’s black population corralled to the ‘ghetto’ south of Madison.”

You can read the full story here:

#blacklivesmatter: A look at the covenants on Capitol Hill

It is not a comfortable read:

In 2006, a group of University of Washington students discovered 126 covenants covering thousands of properties all over Seattle. The trove of documents reveals a shameful truth of Capitol Hill’s not-too-distant past: it was once neighborhood policy to keep the Central District black in order to keep Capitol Hill white.

In March, the Museum of History and Industry and the Northwest African American Museum are organizing a series of walks starting at 19th and Madison’s Mt. Zion and traveling “along the infamous ‘red line,’ hallmark of racial inequity and housing segregation in Seattle.” The first two Segregated Seattle: Walk the Infamous Red Line are already sold out but you can watch the event’s Facebook page for updates about more opportunities to attend.

Next week, the Central District’s Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute will host a Wednesday-night screening and panel discussion of A Central Vision, a 30-minute documentary film by Inye Wokoma and the City of Seattle’s Office of Planning and Development that “looks at the history of the Central Area, current plans and policies addressing the rapid growth and change in the neighborhood, and the future stake of long-time residents.”

Activist Nikkita Oliver, new Seattle Peoples Party to take on Murray

Nikkita Oliver, an activist and attorney, will challenge incumbent Ed Murray in his first quest for reelection as Mayor of Seattle. She would be the first Black woman to serve as mayor in the city.

“We started to think about what that meant for those of us who aren’t wealthy or groomed for political office,” Oliver told the South Seattle Emerald in an interview published Wednesday announcing her campaign. “We needed people to begin running as public servants on this idea of a participatory governance system, doing so in a way that was really transformative.”

Oliver will run as a member of the Peoples Party, a newly formed group “led by and accountable to the people most requiring access and equity in the City of Seattle.” Continue reading

Intiman’s #SHOWTHELOVE Launch Party

Join Intiman as we kick off our signature #SHOWTHELOVE Fundraising Campaign, celebrate our powerful community of supporters, and showcase incredible local talent with a line-up of performances by C. Davida Ingram, Ahamefule J. Oluo, and Shontina Vernon.
Join us at CANVAS for free drinks, outstanding performances, and other fun surprises. One of our favorite DJ’s, Jimi Jaxon, will keep the party going all night long. 21+ age restriction

MLK 2016 at Mt. Zion — ‘You go, you rise up, you pull us higher’

“We climbed far but we have farther still to climb. Now you go and you reach up and you pull us higher. You go, you rise up, you pull us higher.”

Now in its 43rd year, the annual celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life at Mt. Zion brings out dignitaries and community leaders for an afternoon of impassioned speeches and social justice oratory, along with a little prayer and soulful song.

Friday’s 2016 edition with the governor, mayor, and chancellor of the sponsoring Seattle College system on hand — and at the pulpit inside the 19th and Madison church — translated some of the causes of the recent Black Lives Matter movement through the history of MLK and, yes, state education policy and the minimum wage.

“Finally, every single child is going to get full day kindergarten. Those who need early child education are going to get it,” Governor Jay Inslee told the crowd Friday afternoon. “Those who need smaller class sizes are going to get it. And our African American and non African American students finally for the first time, and in the only place in the United State, are going to get a cut in tuition.”

Inslee said he believes the spirit of MLK can be felt in the effort to bring a new statewide minimum wage initiative to November’s ballot.

“We know that too many people aren’t able to have a living wage to keep a roof over their head and food on the table because of this rising income inequality,” Inslee said.

Supporters of the initiative to raise the Washington minimum to $13.50 by 2020 are in signature gathering mode now to qualify for the fall vote.

Keynote speaker Marcus Green, publisher of the South Seattle Emerald — “Southern Seattle’s only non-profit, reader supported, and community operated media and news outlet” — answered the 2016 event’s theme: “Are we there yet?” Continue reading

Black Lives Matter march from Seattle Central marks first anniversary of Mike Brown shooting

Hundreds of Black Lives Matter protesters gathered at Seattle Central Sunday night and marched to the Central District on the anniversary of the August 9th killing of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

“Since Mike Brown was killed August 9th 2014– Hundreds of Unarmed Black people have been killed by police in 2015 already,” organizers wrote. “THIS HAS TO STOP-TIME TO MARCH FOR FREEDOM AND PUT A END TO the POLICE BRUTALIZING PEOPLE AND The police MURDERING PEOPLE AND TIME TO END Racism and anti blackness.”

The rally and march followed Saturday’s effort by activists to disrupt the appearance of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders in a Social Security rally at Westlake. Sanders later spoke at a fundraiser held at Pike/Pine’s Comet Tavern Saturday afternoon before his campaign rally in front of thousands at the University of Washington.

Sunday night’s protest wound its way through the streets of Capitol Hill by the East Precinct at 12th and Pine and on to the Central District. At 23rd and Union, the large crowd stopped to speak against I-502 pot shop Uncle Ike’s.

A heavy police presence accompanied the march. There were no reported arrests.

CHS Pics | ‘Seattle stands with Charleston’

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“Who stands with Charleston? Seattle stands with Charleston” (Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

1,000 rallied and marched Tuesday night from 14th Ave’s First AME Church to Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Park in solidarity with the Charleston 9.

Organized by the Seattle King County NAACP and the United Black Christian Clergy, the three-mile march from Capitol Hill through the Central District came as communities across the country continue to react to the June murders at the South Carolina Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. In South Carolina, lawmakers are debating the removal of the Confederate battle flag from the Capitol. Elsewhere, states are grappling with the elimination of monuments, symbols, and even city names with a Confederate history. Locally, a Confederate memorial in Capitol Hill’s Lake View Cemetery was targeted with a message against “white supremacy” over the weekend.

Tuesday’s rally and march was mostly about healing and growing the Black Lives Matter movement against racism and ongoing inequity issues like police violence. The march ended in MLK Jr. Park with the group holding hands and singing about love.

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More pictures, below. Continue reading

Howard Schultz, Chief O’Toole host Central District forum on racism and policing

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(Image: Casey Jaywork via )

Thursday afternoon, the 23rd and Jackson Starbucks was packed with people wall-to-wall: many of color, some white, lots of green-apron baristas, lots of navy-blue Seattle cops. And Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz and SPD Chief Kathleen O’Toole were there, too, for a community forum on police and race.

“We all know that there are very serious problems going on in America today around racism, racial tension,” Schultz told the crowd. He said that with his company “heartbroken” over the tension between black communities and police, Starbucks has decided to use “our stores and our scale to elevate a national conversation” on the topic. Stay tuned, he added, for a big, related announcement sometime next week. There’s no word on if the 23rd and Jackson event’s “Coffee with a Cop” branding will stick.

UPDATE 3/17/2015: That “big, related announcement” has been made. With a new “Race Together” campaign, Starbucks reportedly “wants its baristas to talk about race in America.” It hasn’t necessarily got off to a great start.

Cops, baristas, and residents came together — via a couple cordless microphones and a YWCA facilitator — for an extended open discussion on the precise nature and potential solutions of the problems highlighted by the #BlackLivesMatter protests, which have rocked Seattle over the past half year.

Some pointed toward the economic context of crime. As one speaker put it: “When people steal and snatch iPhones and stuff like that, it’s usually to sell it to go get money to eat or whatever it may be. And so I think [we need to] focus on the economic opportunities [of young people]… When a person owns a business, they have a different relationship with the police.” Continue reading

Capitol Hill King County — Larry Gossett on #blacklivesmatter protests, nuts-and-bolts leadership

From Gossett's Facebook page -- February 11th: "It was an honor to once again spend some time with Congressman John Lewis, a “Living Legend” in America’s struggle to end segregation and create the “Beloved Community” of Dr. King. "

From Gossett’s Facebook page — February 11th: “It was an honor to once again spend some time with Congressman John Lewis, a “Living Legend” in America’s struggle to end segregation and create the “Beloved Community” of Dr. King. “

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Larry Gossett

Black Power revolutionary, political prisoner, elected official: Larry Gossett, the King County Council representative for central and southeast Seattle including Capitol Hill, has been a man of many faces. But to his council colleague Kathy Lambert, a Republican who represents folks east of Lake Sammamish, political descriptors are trumped by personal ones.

“He is a man of integrity, dedication, kindness,” she told CHS. “He is a man that brings the perspective of his race and the needs of his community very clearly before us. He is a wonderful human being.” Lambert described how Gossett had looked out for her after she was injured in a traffic accident a few years ago. “I was so impressed with the lengths that he would go to to help me, [to ensure that] I was safe, because I couldn’t walk. You know, he was just — kind,” she said.

These days, Gossett is in the business of making buses run on time and sewer lines pump smoothly. “Anytime anybody in [Capitol Hill or the Central District] flushes their toilets, it impacts county policy,” he said.

The emphasis on nuts-and-bolts infrastructure contrasts against Gossett’s radical roots. The councilor first made a name for himself as a Black Power activist in the late 1960s, after becoming radicalized during a stint as a volunteer in Harlem. When administrators at Franklin High School suspended two black students (either for fighting, according to the Seattle Times, or for having Afro haircuts, according to HistoryLink.org), Gossett and others occupied the principal’s office in protest. As a result, he soon found himself in the county lockup — the same building in which, a quarter century later, he would become a member of the King County Council — where he and other activists started organizing black and white prisoners.

“It seemed that jail directors should have been glad of that, but it scared them to death,” Gossett told HistoryLink. “They were going to county commissioners saying: ‘You got to get these Negroes out of jail!’” Continue reading

Mount Zion campaign party, Capitol Hill cafes targeted in #blacklivesmatter protests

(Image: @local_maxima via Twitter)

(Image: @local_maxima via Twitter)

Protesters targeted a Saturday night campaign kickoff and Sunday morning brunches around Capitol Hill in a series of actions inspired by the #blacklivesmatter movement.

Saturday, a small group drew a huge police response to 19th and Madison’s Mount Zion Baptist Church when the protest group attempted to disrupt the campaign launch party for King County Council member and noted Seattle black leader Larry Gossett. Gossett, whose district includes Capitol Hill and the Central District, joined the rest of the county council earlier this month in unanimously approving an ordinance to build a new youth detention center at 12th and Alder. Continue reading