Seattle’s March for Our Lives fills Pine from Cal Anderson to downtown with calls for gun control and kids ready to vote

Tens of thousands of students, friends, and family filled Cal Anderson and then proceeded to fill two miles of Pine from the park to downtown Saturday as the March for Our Lives protest put faces to the growing call for more to be done to address gun violence.

“We are infuriated,” student activist Asher said from the stage as the crowd listened to speeches and waited for the march to the Seattle Center to begin.

Activists from the student group Youth 4 Peace took the stage with long-stem roses, tossing them down to the ground while naming casualties of gun violence. “We are not afraid,” said Elijiah, 18 years old, from South Seattle. “Before you write any bills, before you make any decisions on guns, think about your children,” he said. “Think about your grandchildren and think about their children because whatever you write now will effect generations to come.”

Seattle area students rallied on Capitol Hill Saturday to march for gun law reform, drawing thousands of sign wielding supporters. Community members and students filled the park’s Bobby Morris sports field by 10:30 AM with temperatures in the mid forties but under fortunately dry skies to hear speeches from student activists, U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell and Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson. Voter registration efforts were underway throughout the crowd and a group of students symbolically registered to vote together on the stage, cheered on by thousands.

Naleah M. 15 – Spokane, Central Valley HS, “There was a school shooting in our district, it was put on lockdown. We shouldn’t have to worry about that while we are trying to learn.”

Yonathan D. – 17 – Lynnwood, Edmonds-Woodway HS, “I feel like coming here [will be] more impactful. It’s been 20yrs since Columbine, if we don’t do anything, who will?

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What you need to know about Saturday’s March for Our Lives Seattle

Students outside Garfield High during the March 14th walkout

Kids are leading the procession but plenty of Washington dignitaries will be on hand Saturday as the March for Our Lives student-led protest march starts at Cal Anderson.

Senator Maria Cantwell and State Attorney General Bob Ferguson will be among the speakers at the march’s 10 AM start on Capitol Hill, organizers announced. They’ll be joined by student organizers including Rhiannon Rasaretnam of Maple Valley’s Tahoma High School. CHS spoke with Rasaretnam earlier about her group’s efforts as part of a nationwide day of student marches. “I feel like youth around the nation seeing that students can take the lead on this inspires them to increase their own role in their own community,” Rasaretnam said.

“It is time to keep our schools safe and adopt common sense gun reform,” Ferguson said in the announcement of his planned appearance. “Our youth are taking a leadership role to address gun violence. I’m proud to join the young voices who are Washington’s future leaders.”

March for Our Lives Seattle
When:
Saturday, March 24th, 10 AM. March expected to begin at 11 AM.
Where:
Starts at Cal Anderson before marching down pine to downtown and on to Key Arena
Getting there: Officials advise marchers use Capitol Hill Station and avoid trying to park in the area
Why: Student organizers are asking for “action on banning assault rifles, banning bump stocks nationally, raising the age for gun purchases from 18 to 21, ensuring school safety without use of firearms and calling on members of Congress and corporations to stop accepting support from or providing support for the NRA.”

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Research, ERPO, and safe storage — Seattle makes a start at gun control reform

As her city prepares for Saturday’s student march for gun control, Mayor Jenny Durkan came to First Hill’s Harborview Medical Center Wednesday, the place many gun violence victims are rushed to from across the region, to announce a push for new legislation that would require safe storage of firearms and could hold gun owners liable who don’t lock up their weapons.

“We should not pretend for one second that the level of carnage in our country from guns is inevitable. We cannot allow it to become the new normal,” Durkan said. “Unsecured, unsafely stored firearms are more likely to be stolen, used in a suicide, accessed by children and teens and unintentionally fired.” Continue reading

Seattle Schools: Forget arming teachers, kids, let’s march against gun violence

The Seattle Public Schools board will vote on a resolution “calling on state and congressional leaders to take action to prevent any more students and educators from being the victims of a school shooting” and schools leadership will announce its “opposition to arming teachers as a school safety measure” at the SPS board meeting Wednesday night.

Seattle Public Schools is also throwing its support behind the March 24th March for Our Lives protest set to start at Cal Anderson before traveling through the streets to Seattle Center: Continue reading

After yet another mass shooting, lessons from the ‘Capitol Hill Massacre’

March marks 12 years since the mass shooting in which six people were gunned down inside a house at 22nd and Republican.

The so-called Capitol Hill Massacre sometimes gets left out the sad cavalcade of past shootings that accompany any new tragedy. Young people were wiped out by an angry loner but they weren’t at a school. Many people were killed by a stranger but they weren’t in a public place.

With Seattle students and supporters planning walkouts and marches following the Parkland shooting, a friend of some of those who died at 22nd and Republican in 2006 has posted about how it feels for survivors and loved ones of mass shooting victims to see the tragedies continue to unfold and what should be done to help end this violence — “I know *exactly* what the people impacted go through every time there is a mass shooting,” TProphet writes. The full thread is below:

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‘We need to act as cities’ — what Seattle can do about gun violence

In the wake of Sunday’s mass shooting in Texas, local politicians are joining the national chorus of voices — yet again — calling for substantive measures to address America’s gun violence problem. Seattle’s likely mayor-elect and former U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan called for municipal-level action on the issue in a statement made on Monday: “With no leadership from this Congress or our legislature, we need to act as cities,” she said.

But what does Seattle leadership on preventing gun violence look like? Local advocates for gun control and evidence-based approaches to reducing gun violence have a few ideas.

“There are a lot of things that can be done at the local level,” said Renee Hopkins, CEO of the Alliance for Gun Responsibility. “It’s really important that municipalities and counties are dedicated to investing resources into ensuring that the laws we know are effective are implemented.” Continue reading

Community meeting called after more 23/Union gunfire

With tensions over change and displacement in the Central District boiling over in evictions, protests, and scuffles, neighbors are asking for more to be done after another bout of gun violence near 23rd and Union.

Police received a flood of 911 calls Monday night just before 7:30 PM reporting multiple gunshots and two vehicles seen fleeing the area. Arriving officers found shell casings near Marion and damage to houses in the area but, fortunately, no injuries.

In the wake of the incident, Sara Mae Brereton, owner of 23rd and Cherry’s 701 Coffee, posted a call for a community meeting to “stop the shootings” and calling on Mayor Ed Murray and District 3 representative Kshama Sawant to respond to the ongoing violence.

Stop the Shooting, Stop the Hate CD Community Meeting

Monday’s driveby shootout was the latest in a string of gunfire incidents along 23rd Ave from Jackson to Union. Continue reading

Man arrested in Capitol Hill gunfire incident was wanted on rape charge

(Image: Police Video Requests via YouTube)

(Image: Police Video Requests via YouTube)

The 23-year-old man whose arrest in a gunfire incident was captured on video early Saturday on Capitol Hill also had a warrant out for his arrest for allegedly raping his ex-girlfriend in SeaTac.

According to King County Court documents, Charles Southammavong was charged in July with second degree rape stemming from a May domestic violence incident in his SeaTac home. The victim, Southammavong’s ex-girlfriend, had a protection order against him at the time. Prior to the alleged rape, Southammavong had twice been convicted of domestic violence against the woman, according to court records.

Following his arrest on Saturday, a King County Judge found probable cause to hold Southammavong for unlawful possession of a firearm. He is being held in the King County Jail on $200,000 bail. Continue reading

Moms Demand Action on state gun control initiative at Cal Anderson Park

Moms Demand Action campaigning in Bellingham for I-1491. (Image: Moms Demand Action)

Moms Demand Action campaigning in Bellingham for I-1491. (Image: Moms Demand Action)

One of the leading anti-gun violence groups in the nation will be holding a rally at Cal Anderson Park September 24th in support of a statewide gun control initiative appearing on the ballot in November.

Moms Demand Action will be supporting Initiative 1491 — a measure to create “extreme risk protection orders” which would allow families and law enforcement officials to petition courts to temporarily suspend a person’s access to firearms if the they are deemed to be threat to themselves or others. Continue reading

22 things CHS heard during the #disarmhate panel at Gay City

IMG_6632Attendees of a panel discussion on curbing gun violence and hate crimes didn’t have to look far beyond the walls of Capitol Hill’s Gay City auditorium to find reasons for the event.

Four shootings on Capitol Hill recently took place in the span of four weeks. A black woman was shot to death in Madison Valley. Days before Capitol Hill’s trans pride event, a transgender person was physically attacked.

“It’s striking that all theses incidents are happening in spaces that are supposed to be safe environments,” said Seattle Urban League CEO Pamela Banks, who moderated the event.

Panelists representing diverse populations around Seattle gathered Thursday to discuss gun violence in their communities. It was perhaps the type of wide ranging, “real conversation” that many politicians often plead for around issues of guns and hate crimes but so rarely happen. Continue reading