Pro-labor, minimum wage march through Capitol Hill ends with peaceful arrests

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(Images: Alex Garland)

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Several hundred people peacefully marched from downtown through the streets of Capitol Hill and into a Seattle University building Wednesday afternoon as part of a national day of action to support a $15 an hour minimum wage.

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In Seattle, where a $15 minimum wage is already on the books, demonstrators also coalesced around local labor fights.

To protest the Seattle U administration’s opposition to adjunct faculty forming a union, a group of professors and students sat down in the intersection of 12th and Madison for about 30 minutes before police calmly took them into custody one by one. Organizers from the group Working Washington say 21 people were arrested in all.

Ben Stork, a Seattle U adjunct film studies instructor, said contingent and part-time faculty are responsible for the majority of teaching at the university but have little to no job security semester to semester. Stork was one of the 21 arrested on Capitol Hill.

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Beyond a $15 minimum wage march will culminate at Seattle U Wednesday

Activists celebrated the implementation of Seattle's minimum wage law last month. (Image: Alex Garland for CHS)

Activists celebrated the implementation of Seattle’s minimum wage law last month on Capitol Hill. (Image: Alex Garland for CHS)

Activists that helped push through last year’s $15 an hour minimum wage law in Seattle say they’ve only just begun.

On Wednesday, organizers with the group Working Washington are planning a march —  billed $15 is Just the Beginning — from downtown up to Capitol Hill. A rally at Occidental Park is slated to start at 2 PM, followed by a march that will wind through Capitol Hill to a permitted demonstration at Cal Anderson Park, culminating in a rally and teach-in at Seattle University.

Less clear is the path that the minimum wage fight will take from here. Seattle’s $15 law, which went into effect April 1st, phases in over seven years and sets a schedule for increases to follow into 2025. A bill to implement a statewide $12 an hour minimum wage died in committee earlier this month in Olympia.

Minimum wage demonstrations on Wednesday are being planned in a handful of other cities across the state. Here’s the schedule of events for Seattle:

2:00 pm: Occidental Park (S Main St & Occidental Ave S). Action at nearby corporate location
3:00 pm: Westlake Park (4th Ave & Pine St). Action and nearby corporate location
3:30 pm: Cal Anderson Park (1635 11th Ave). Homecare workers and others will rally at Cal Anderson before joining the main group coming up from Westlake
4:00 pm: Seattle University (12th & Marion, Chapel of St Ignatius Reflecting Pool). Teach-in and more to send clear message: $15 is just the beginning. Inequality ends with us.

In other protest news, a small group of Seattle Central College students took part in the #ShutDownA14 national day of protest over recent high profile police shootings of unarmed minorities. Organized by the by the Seattle affiliate of the October 22nd Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, the group marched through the streets from SCC to join a rally in Westlake Park.

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

Small protest after big MLK Day march snarls Seattle traffic

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(Image: Alex Garland for CHS)

Monday afternoon’s MLK Day march drew one of the largest crowds in recent memory (Image: Alex Garland for CHS)

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City Council member Kshama Sawant at the march’s stop outside the youth detention center. Sawant told the crowd government should develop new jobs, not spend $200 million on a youth jail (Image: Dennis Saxma with permission to CHS)

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Jesse Hagopian posted this picture and update to Facebook: I was marching for Martin Luther King day today–amazing march! At one point after the big main march, group of bike cops set up a line to keep us from marching. Some people walked through the line, but I didn’t. When my phone rang, I turned away from the cops and be gain walking away to answer the phone. A cop then ran up in my face and pepper sprayed me right in the face. The milk has helped a lot and I’m beginning to feel better. Wish we had a better world.

A small group of protesters against police violence chained together to block Highway 99 and marchers trying to block I-5 via onramps and exits including the busy Mercer corridor followed Seattle’s MLK Day march from Garfield High School to the Federal Courthouse — and tangled up the city’s relatively light holiday commute traffic.

Earlier in the day, thousands of marchers left Garfield after a morning of workshops and speakers in the 33rd annual Martin Luther King Jr. Committee March & Festival. Continue reading

Mount Zion to host #BlackLivesMatter Pecha Kucha

Organizers say the “overwhelming response” to the event has prompted a move to a larger venue for Thursday’s Pecha Kucha Seattle vol. 58: #BlackLivesMatter.

The move is good one for Capitol Hill-area neighbors — Mount Zion at the corner of E Madison and Rev. Dr. Samuel B. McKinney Ave will host Thursday night’s forum. Pecha Kucha events typically feature 20 slides shown for 20 seconds each in a format designed for concise and lively presentations.

Thursday night’s presentation will examine Seattle’s response to the issues of race and social justice raised by Ferguson and incidents like Eric Garner’s death. A wave of rallies and protests beginning in late November started on and crossed Capitol Hill and have continued into winter.

Monday marks the 29th anniversary of the first official observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in the country.

Poster_BlackLivesMatter_B_v03“Bring your family, your friends, your co-workers to this historic venue in celebration of Martin Luther King’s lasting legacy,” the organizers ask, “and show Seattle that yes, #BlackLivesMatter_SEA”

Pecha Kucha Seattle vol. 58: #BlackLivesMatter – Examining American Identity in the 21st Century, will be held on Thursday, January 15 from 5:30-9pm at the Mount Zion Baptist Church, 1634 19th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122. The event will bring together voices from across our community to illuminate the landscape of activism shaping our regional and national conversation around race and to provide tools and resources to inspire change. The evening will be emceed by the poet, artist and activist Barbara Earl Thomas.

PRESENTERS INCLUDE: 

  • Elmer Dixon – President of Executive Diversity Services & Co-Founder of the Seattle Chapter of the Black Panther Party
  • Tracy RectorExecutive Director/Co-Founder, Longhouse Media
  • Robin DiAngelo – Director of Equity & Inclusion at Seattle Senior Services
  • Darlene Flynn – Policy and Development Lead, City of Seattle Office for Civil Rights
  • Tim Lennon – Events Coordinator, Seattle Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs
  • Daveda Russell – Illumination & Manifestation Strategist, Nyawela Consulting
  • Luzviminda Carpenter – On-Call Counselor , YouthCare Seattle
  • Evan Flory-Barnes – Bassist | Composer
  • Naomi Ishisaka – Seattle Journalist
  • Ijeoma Oluo – Writer, Blogger
  • Christopher Shaw – Ceramicist, Artist, Engineer

 

‘We have a right to be angry’ — Hundreds march from Central District to SPD HQ

IMG_9947“What do we want?”

“Justice!”

“When do we want it?”

The answer, of course: “Now.” An estimated 1,500+ strong crowd of marchers gathered at Garfield High School at noon Saturday for a protest against police brutality as part of ongoing actions in Seattle to bring attention to the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner at the hands of police.

IMG_2083While organizers vowed that Saturday’s march would be peaceful, the promises didn’t mean participants aren’t angry about police violence and its impact on the Black community. “We have a right to be angry as we march in the streets today,” one speaker shouted as the crowd prepared to move out. Continue reading

Reminder: Saturday ‘Protest Against Police Brutality’ march begins at Garfield HS

A protester at Thursday night's march (Image: CHS)

A protester at Thursday night’s march (Image: CHS)

A large “Protest Against Police Brutality” is being organized to begin Saturday at noon at 23rd Ave’s Garfield High School:

The march will start at Garfield High School and proceed to go to the police headquarters on 5th Avenue. There, we will make sure our voices are heard. We will make sure the police know that we will not stand for their violence. Have your voice be heard. You are not alone.
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Mission Statement: We are here on behalf of the Black Community, in solidarity with Ferguson, in honor of Mike Brown to address through nonviolence, the crisis of police brutality towards the Black Community in order to achieve the short term goal of a fair and just trial for Mike Brown and the long term goal of reconstructing the justice system that has continuously failed the Black Community.

In order to make sure the mission of this protest is accurately portrayed we have come up with some guidelines. They are as follows:
• No violence
• Do NOT touch the police officers
• Do NOT agitate the police officers
• Do NOT deface/destroy city or private property
• Do NOT move city or private property
Please be aware that this protest has been organized to the very last minute in order to ensure that the media, in no way, can skew the actions of the protest or the protesters. If you do not follow these guidelines you will be asked to stop and then you will be asked to leave.

*We are NOT affiliated with any group or organization. We are just a group of people who want to be a part of the progress of change*

New wave of protest marches through downtown with police at ready on Capitol Hill

Wednesday night, protesters blocked traffic and chanted for justice in Eric Garner's death (Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

Wednesday night, protesters blocked traffic and chanted for justice in Eric Garner’s death (Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

IMG_0372Police in riot gear and body armor were out in force again on Capitol Hill Wednesday night to guard against possible Seattle unrest following yet another controversial grand jury decision over the use of deadly force by police.

A Staten Island grand jury’s decision not to indict “a white New York police officer whose chokehold on an unarmed black man led to the man’s death” helped set off a new round of street protests here in Seattle with around 100 marchers taking to the streets around downtown and Westlake Park Wednesday night. Continue reading

Why does the Seattle Police Department push protests up Capitol Hill?

ALAN BERNER / THE SEATTLE TIMES, 1999 — “Riot police move east on Pine Street as they drive protesters up to Capitol Hill on Nov. 30, 1999” — Seattle Times photo used with permission

ALAN BERNER / THE SEATTLE TIMES, 1999 — “Riot police move east on Pine Street as they drive protesters up to Capitol Hill on Nov. 30, 1999” — Seattle Times photo used with permission. Our look at “The Battle for Capitol Hill” is here.

Above, is a scene from Pine Street, 15 years ago this week. It probably looks familiar to anybody who has been on the streets between Capitol Hill and downtown as Ferguson-related protest continues in Seattle — especially Monday night as more cops “hardened up” with body armor and SPD rolled out an even larger numbers of police than previous nights after Mayor Ed Murray’s statement promising a solidified response to the unrest.

The apparent policing strategy deployed on the streets is also familiar. “The marchers want to head west, back to downtown on Olive,” The Stranger’s Ansel Herz reported Monday night. “Police won’t let them. ‘You’re going east,’ cop yells. Crowd: ‘Why?'”

The crowd’s response Monday night is a question people on Capitol Hill have been asking since at least WTO in 1999 when protesters were seemingly herded out of downtown and into Capitol Hill, filling the streets with jack-booted police and sometimes violent clashes. Five years back, CHS looked at the situation on the 10-year anniversary of riots:

Monday night, after a march was repeatedly stopped and funneled back up to be scattered across lower Pike/Pine and Melrose, CHS asked Sgt. Sean Whitcomb, head of SPD’s public information officers, why it seems like the strategy is for police to shove protesters onto Capitol Hill. Continue reading

With Ferguson grand jury decision, Capitol Hill ‘Justice for Mike Brown’ rally planned — UPDATE: Protest crosses Hill from downtown to Central District

(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

The crowd assembles early in the evening at Broadway and Pike (Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

A few hundred protesters marched up from downtown and met up with a group rallying at Seattle Central before observing a 4 1/2 minute moment of silence in the street on Broadway Monday night (Image: CHS)

A few hundred protesters marched up from downtown and met up with a group rallying at Seattle Central before observing a 4 1/2 minute moment of silence in the street on Broadway Monday night (Image: CHS)

UPDATE 6:26 PM: As word spread about the grand jury’s decision on no charges in the Michael Brown case, a group of around 400 protesters gathered in Westlake and took to the streets of downtown Seattle. Some reportedly planned to march to rally at Seattle Central’s Broadway plaza. A contingent of Seattle Police accompanied the crowd. There were no reports of arrests during the initial stages of the Monday night protest.

"Another shot of the Ferguson protesters at 20th and Madison" -- @stevepmitchell via Twitter

“Another shot of the Ferguson protesters at 20th and Madison” — @stevepmitchell via Twitter

8:07 PM: A portion of the downtown marchers made their way up Pike to Capitol Hill chanting and blocking the street and intersections as they traveled. Meeting up at Broadway and Pike with a smaller group that had rallied at Seattle Central, the combined crowd observed a moment of silence in memory of Brown before continue to march around Pike/Pine with a contingent of SPD bike officers following and others on patrol to steer cars and buses away from the tie-up. As of 8 PM, there were no reported arrests though people were seen shooting fireworks and taunting police.

The blocks around East Precinct headquarters were blocked off to traffic and the protest marched against the barriers repeatedly but remained mostly peaceful.

There were reports of smaller protests continuing elsewhere in the city including a group of around 10 at 23rd and Union. The large group of protesters on Capitol Hill was last reported heading east on Madison around 17th Ave.

8:52 PM: About 200 protesters made their way to 23rd Ave and Union and on to E Cherry where the group entered the Garfield Community Center and demanded that Seattle Police stationed inside for a community meeting on Ferguson leave the building. The officers reportedly exited without incident per East Precinct radio reports.

9:08 PM: The protest moved on from Garfield and was last reported near 23rd and Yesler headed for Jackson.

10:30 PM: Around 10:15 PM, protestors began entering I-5 from ramps at Madison and Hubbell at one point bringing the northbound lanes to a complete stop. One person was arrested as the freeway was cleared. A crowd of more than 100 was also reported headed east from the freeway up Seneca. There were reports of tagging and property damage to buildings in the area. Police and media at scene are reporting people in the crowd are throwing objects at officers. Police have used flash bangs and pepper spray in attempts to keep protestors off of the freeway and to disperse the crowd. Additional officers from across the city are being brought into the area around East Precinct according to police radio dispatches.

Thanks to Josh Kelety for the video and images above. Here is more coverage of the incidents around I-5 from Casey Jaywork.

10:45 PM: A large group of protesters has returned to Capitol Hill after a spate of property damage on First Hill including a shattered bank window along Madison. There were reports of rocks being thrown at police but we are not aware of any arrests during the Capitol Hill components of the night’s actions.

Police and protesters paused in a prolonged standoff at the barricades in the streets around the East Precinct.

11:26 PM: With activity continuing around 12th and Pike on Capitol Hill, there is word of more protest planned for Tuesday:

In solidarity with the African American community in Ferguson, MO, and to honor the memory of Michael Brown, we have been informed that the Seattle NAACP has called for a rally, tomorrow, Tuesday, November 25, at noon at 23rd & Union in Seattle’s Central District. Following the rally, there will also be a march from 23rd & Union to the Federal Court House.

11:45 PM: Following the long wait at 12th and Pike, several of the officers on bikes exited the area down Pike. The crowd reportedly cheered and many protesters began marching again westbound toward downtown.

3:30 AM: Police say there were five arrests during the protests.

Monday night, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray issued a statement on the grand jury decision:

My message to the young African American men in Seattle today is this: While we do not have the answers today, we in this city are listening to you. Your city hears you. And your city loves you.

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