A lesson in ‘Teaching for Black Lives’ from Garfield High

By Carolyn Bick

In the one high school honors class Jesse Hagopian was in, his mostly white peers laughed at him when he stumbled over some words as he read aloud to the rest of the class.

“Being one of the only students of color in the classroom, that pretty much shut down my attention or will to participate in that class,” Hagopian recalled. “School was a challenge to me. I never thought I’d ever be a teacher. I wanted to get away from school.”

Growing up, the Garfield High School ethnic studies teacher had very few teachers of color in his school career, and did not see any Black people reflected in his curriculum, until college. It was a “very alienating experience,” he said. It didn’t leave him any room to discuss or explore his identity as a Black and mixed race person, or help him appreciate the contributions Black people have made to society. Continue reading

‘This is Zero Hour’ youth march for the environment crosses the Central District

Saturday’s national wave of demonstrations and marches for climate action led by a Seattle teenager included a march through the Central District.

Zero Hour, founded last year by Seattle teen Jamie Margolin, organized Saturday’s rally and march from Garfield to Pratt Park:

Enough is enough. We, the youth, believe that #thisisZeroHour to act on climate change. We cannot afford to wait any longer for adults to protect our right to the clean and safe environment, the natural resources we need to not just survive, but flourish. We know that we are the leaders we have been waiting for!

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18 things CHS heard at Rep. Jayapal and Seattle March for Our Lives town hall

What would you say to Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old arrested for the murder of 17 students last month in Florida at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School?

“I wish you had the chance to get the help you needed and to understand why this is not okay. I’m really sorry that it had to come to this and I feel sadness and anger and pity for you,” said Lucas Illa, Lakeside High School junior and Seattle March for Our Lives organizer.

March For Our Lives – Seattle

The movement to end gun violence has spread from Parkland Florida to Washington. Ahead of the Seattle March for Our Lives protest march next Saturday, March 24, Illa and six other activists from high schools across Seattle hosted a town hall meeting at Garfield High School to discuss the national student-led demand for gun-access policy reform.

U.S. Representative from Washington’s 7th congressional district Pramila Jayapal joined the activists to address questions from online and a live audience Saturday morning at Garfield High School’s Quincy Jones Auditorium.

“Our prime responsibility is to take care of each other. It’s not to money or greed so let’s make sure we incorporate love and generosity through non-violence,” Jayapal told the young march leaders Saturday.

Here are 18 more things CHS heard at the March for our Lives town hall: Continue reading

Capitol Hill, Central District students speak out against gun violence for #NationalWalkoutDay

With reporting from Michelle MacKinnon and Alex Garland

Students and supporters walked out of their schools across Capitol Hill, the Central District, and Seattle Wednesday at 10 AM to come together for 17 minutes of silence to honor the one month anniversary of Stoneman Douglas High School where 17 people were killed in a mass shooting that has reignited calls for gun control reform.

The actions Wednesday are part of a wave of activity including town halls with Governor Jay Inslee and Rep. Pramila Jayapal leading up to the March 24th March for Our Lives protest march starting at Cal Anderson Park.

At the Central District’s Garfield High School, student organizers were looking beyond school shootings. “We are planning March For Our Lives and participating in school walkouts because we want change and refuse to be ignored in our pursuit of it,” student Bridget Fox told CHS. “We hope to bring attention to the fact that gun violence disproportionately affects communities of color and other marginalized communities, and we strive to find methods of legislation that won’t have further unintended consequences in such places.” Continue reading

Jayapal, Inslee town halls join student walkouts, Seattle March For Our Lives — UPDATE

This kid from the 2018 Seattle Women’s March was a sign of things to come

Add two town hall gatherings involving important Washington leaders to the list of actions, walkouts, protests, and marches planned this month as Seattle students and supporters speak out about gun violence and make calls for more to be done to reform gun control laws.

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal will come to Garfield High for one gathering next Saturday while Governor Jay Inslee is scheduled to participate in a Wednesday night town hall at Seattle University organized by a local television station.

More immediate actions are slated to begin the morning of this Wednesday, March 14th to mark one month since the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida set off a national debate on doing more to control gun violence. Student and parent groups are planning walkouts Wednesday at schools across Capitol Hill, the Central District, the city, and the region in solidarity with the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Continue reading

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

CHS Pics | MLK 2018 the start of a week of activism on Capitol Hill

Thousands of people took to the streets Monday from 23rd and Jefferson’s Garfield High School, to the East Precinct at the corner of 12th and Pine on Capitol Hill, and on down Pine to Westlake as part of a day of rallies, seminars, and marching to mark the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Bolstered by amazing January weather, the crowds filled multiple city blocks with groups representing indigenous communities, Black Lives Matter, and area labor organizations. Helicopters from local television stations — and the King County Sheriff — spun through the blue sky. At 12th and Pine, the march came to a stop as the marchers took a knee, echoing the ongoing pre-game protests in the NFL. Continue reading

CHS Pics | Ribbon cut at Central District’s new ‘Community Living Room’

It wasn’t a very pleasant day to show it off but residents, community leaders, and city officials made do Sunday with a ceremony inside the Central District’s Garfield Community Center to celebrate its new outdoor “living room.”

The Community Living Room was conceived as a gathering space for the neighborhood and features barbecues, benches, a large picnic table, game tables, a beautiful seating stone, and a large flexible space for events. When the doors are open to the Garfield Community Center gym and multipurpose room, the indoor and outdoor spaces will connect and provide a new welcoming space for the community.

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CHS Pics | Cal Anderson at center of Seattle anti-Trump protests

Chanting “Not my president!” and “Black lives matter,” hundreds of students from 23rd Ave’s Garfield High School marched to Cal Anderson where they joined hundreds more Monday afternoon in a citywide student walkout in protest of the election of Donald Trump. The rally marked the second day in a row the Capitol Hill park has been a central gathering place as Seattle’s citizens protest the election results and plot solutions to counter Trump’s expected policies and push ahead to fix whatever broken political processes resulted in his victory.

Sunday, hundreds attended a “Love Over Hate” gathering organized by a group of SPU marriage and family therapy students as an opportunity for Seattleites to come together for a non-political show of “love, support, and togetherness.” Sunday afternoon included singing, sign making, and, yup, even some protest. A portion of the gathered crowd opted to march from the park and made its way downtown.

Images and video from both days of protest are below. For more on local efforts to do more than march to push back on the Trump victory, check out our coverage of Sunday night’s Post Election Community Forum held at 11th Ave’s V2. 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