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Freelance Seattle journalist & writing tutor. @CaseyJaywork

2018 Seattle Women’s March at Cal Anderson — what you should know, why you should go

The 2017 Women’s March set a tone of mainstream resistance, in Seattle and across the nation and world, to the many competing agendas of President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress. Seattle City Council member and representative for District 3, where the 2018 march will step off from Capitol Hill this weekend, Kshama Sawant recalls the historic event:

“Right after Trump was elected, everybody — and especially Democratic party operatives, who had just lost the election for Clinton — was sitting in a sort of paralysis of shock and demoralization,” she said. “Ordinary people were not. In fact, the day after the election, ordinary people, especially young people, wanted to go out and show their complete opposition to Trump’s anti-worker, anti-immigrant agenda.”

Outrage against the new president — regularly stoked by its subject — remains white-hot one year later. “In a lot of ways our worst fears and concerns have played out through 2017, and continue every day when we look at the headlines,” said state Rep. Nicole Macri. “The Trump administration and Republicans in Congress have taken on assaulting our very basic rights here”–for instance, those of immigrants and patients.

2018 Seattle Women’s March

  • Timing: Assembly on Cal Anderson’s Bobby Morris artificial turf will begin around 10 AM with shuttle buses from organizations and groups traveling to Seattle for the march expected to arrive around the park much earlier. The 2018 march program of tribal blessings and speakers is slated to take place from the stage on the south end of Bobby Morris from 10:30 to 11:30 AM at which point marchers will be directed to begin assembling onto 11th Ave and E Pine. Speakers are expected include Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal and Mayor Jenny Durkan. Continue reading

Weekend of action: 2018 Seattle Women’s March is only the beginning

It will be difficult to outdo the amazing signs from the 2017 march. Sign makers gathered Sunday at Capitol Hill’s The Riveter co-working space to begin working on this year’s batch

The day after Donald Trump’s inauguration last year, women around the world marched: for each other, for the future, for the flickering hope of a sane world.

The marches were massive, attended by an estimated 2.6 million people around the globe, including your correspondent’s mama. In Washington, D.C., hundreds of thousands of marchers overwhelmed the nation’s capital. In the Emerald City, organizers estimated more than 120,000 marchers stretched from the Central District to the Seattle Center. Last year’s marches set the tone of mainstream “resistance” that has defined political opposition to current ruling party’s agenda. The symbolic import of the march is difficult to overstate.

“The mantra of the Women’s March is that all issues are women’s issues,” says Liz Hunter-Keller, who helped organize last year’s march, “and that nobody’s free until everybody’s free.”

Power to the Polls: Anniversary of the Womxn’s March on Seattle/Seattle Women’s March 2.0 – 2018

The “Unity Principles” shared by Women’s Marches across the country expand on that view, detailing opposition to state violence and environmental degradation and support for civil rights for people who are pregnant, queer, employed, political, immigrants, or disabled. The marches are sometimes titled with nonstandard spellings of “womxn” or “womyn,” in order to repudiate discrimination against trans women by bigoted feminists and to reject the categorization of women as a subset of “mankind.”

In short, lots of women et al marched last year in lots of places for lots of reasons, with lots of feelings. So that’s good. But let’s get practical for a moment: what did last year’s march actually accomplish? Continue reading

Pro-choice activists anticipating a crowd to counter conservative protests outside Planned Parenthood

Hundreds are going. Thousands are interested. It’s difficult to know how many will show to counter anti-choice protesters outside the Planned Parenthood’s Capitol Hill Clinic on Saturday, January 13. Officially, Planned Parenthood disapproves of the counter-action by pro-choicers, asking supporters of bodily autonomy to instead channel their activism into more conventional channels, such as donating and tweeting. Organizers of the pro-choice counter-action — called Seattle Clinic Defense — say they must reclaim the spaces outside clinics that anti-choicers have already politicized, and say their goal is not to protest but to shield patients from harassment.

“The outside of clinics right now is not a politically-neutral zone,” Jessi Murray, a 29-year-old software programmer and co-founder of Seattle Clinic Defense tells CHS. “The anti-choicers have claimed ground that the pro-choice side has ceded for a long time.”

In a month of marching and activism for women’s rights, turnout for the pro-choice action is hoped to be strong.

According to Seattle Clinic Defense’s January 13th event post, “there is a group that protests the Madison St. location of Planned Parenthood once a month, harassing patients and contributing to the stigma of those just trying to get healthcare”  —

When we show up as clinic defenders, with supportive smiles for patients and workers, we see a decrease in the amount of yelling and direct confrontation that happens. Our goal is to take back the political space that they have staked out and let them know that their behavior is unacceptable.

There will be an orientation emphasizing de-escalation and creating a supporting environment for patients at 8:45 AM. The defense action begins at 9 AM.

The Defense began in 2011, after a Walk for Choice, says Murray, where another marcher, co-founder Leela Yellesetty, held up a sign that read “Interested In Clinic Defense?” The organization’s first action was an embarrassing failure, she recalls, in which about half a dozen people protested outside a so-called Crisis Pregnancy Center that wasn’t even open. Since that initial blunder, however, Seattle Clinic Defense steadily built up its organizational capacity, says Murray. Continue reading

No injuries, no arrests as SPD investigating another Central District gun battle — UPDATE

(Images: Casey Jaywork)

Seattle Police are investigating another chaotic gunfight in the Central District after reports of shots fired Wednesday afternoon. SPD says the incident stemmed from a car collision.

The shots rang out in quick succession at the corner of 26th S. and S. Washington in the Central District, a father huddled in his car, his toddler daughter in the backseat.

About 2:23 PM, a black Ford sedan crashed into a white Chevy SUV. About nine shots were fired into the driver’s window SUV; neither the father nor daughter inside the SUV were hurt. The assailants fled on foot, according Adele Botha, a nearby resident. Continue reading

Ethiopian restaurateur organizes East African business association from 12th to MLK


Tsedalu (left), Messeret Habeti, and Messeret Ferede (Image: Alex Garland for CHS)

Messeret Habeti, co-owner of the Ethiopian restaurant Assimba at MLK and Cherry, wants to build an east African business association bringing together restaurants, shops, and more from 12th Ave to MLK. After a 2013 e coli scare made “Ethiopian” synonymous with “unsafe” in the ears of some, she told CHS, business slumped. By banding together, Habeti hopes to emulate the success of immigrant businesses in the International District.

“That’s why I want to create the… business association,” she said. “If we have association, no one will be interrogated” or bullied by government or media. She said she has talked to dozens of local businesses, and hopes have a formal association established by June. “I’ve been just walking around with all the information, explaining [to local business owners] why we need this, why now,” she said. “I have explain that this is the time that we need to be gathering together.”

“If you are formally associated,” said her husband and business partner Messeret Ferede, “we have one voice. That is the plan, to benefit for ourself by being together all at the same time.” Continue reading

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


(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

With a pledge to be more than the anti-Sawant, longtime Central District resident Banks wants to lead new District 3


(Image: Avi Loud via Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle)

The pitch: Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle chief executive officer Pamela Banks presents herself as a homegrown, handshaking alternative to city council District 3 incumbent Kshama Sawant. Where Sawant grandstands, she’ll coordinate; where Sawant lambastes, she’ll collaborate. The fourth candidate to register in District 3, Banks describes herself as a progressive technician who can fine-tune the gears of city machinery, and she says her three decades working for the city and three years at the helm of the Urban League make her the candidate who can get things done.

And she’ll return phone calls.

“In order to be an effective city council person in a district system, you have to be accessible,” Banks told CHS.

“Accessible” is not a word she’d use to describe Sawant, who Banks says was the only council member she wasn’t able to meet with as CEO of the Urban League, a historic black advocacy group. Banks isn’t alone: The Stranger’s Anna Minard wrote back in November about Sawant’s two-week wait time for interviews. CHS has also had trouble getting in touch with Sawant’s camp in the past.

Banks said while she briefly met Sawant face-to-face at two different public events, they’ve yet to have a conversation. “I don’t know her, I don’t know how different we are,” she said. But while she may not know her competition, she does feel that she knows her district. “I’ve lived here [in the CD] for 20+ years, I’ve lived in Seattle for 37 years,” she said. “I have a different frame because I live here and I’ve been embedded in this community.” 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. “


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

Barking dogs over developers: Why so many district candidates are City Hall newbies

Someday, all of this can be yours, candidate (Image: Seattle.gov)

Someday, all of this can be yours, candidate (Image: Seattle.gov)

In 2015, Seattle will hold the first non-citywide City Council election in more than a century, with seven of the nine seats on the council elected by district. 36 candidates are currently filed with the city clerk’s office, and nearly a third of the incumbents have already declined to run for reelection. So with the old guard seemingly stepping aside and the young Turks charging in, CHS asked various players in the city government: How will this change things?

Mike McGinn

Former mayor Mike McGinn — some old blood you probably remember

Best case scenario: the district system will make money less decisive in city politics. When all nine seats were elected at-large, former mayor Mike McGinn told CHS, little people didn’t stand a chance.

“Under the old system,” said McGinn, “the mayor and the city council all relied on the same traditional sources of political support, the big donors and the large endorsing organizations.”

With the smaller scale of district elections lowering campaigns’ price tag, dollar-spouting lobbyists could be less essential to candidates — and therefore less influential on those elected.

“Redistricting… created a new kind of accountability [to local communities],” candidate Jon Grant told CHS, “and new kind of platform for grassroots candidates to actually have a shot at challenging incumbents who are bankrolled by moneyed interests like developers.”

There also seems to be a growing force of potential big-time leaders focused on small-time problems.

“I think you’re gonna hear more about dogs barking, more about traffic congestion, more about, maybe [about] a crack house or something,” said retiring councilor Nick Licata. “I think the influence of developers will go down… because they’re probably the most active business constituent in the city.” Continue reading

As 12th Ave justice center moves forward, juvenile court judge calls for racial reform

Juvenile court judge Susan Craighead.

Juvenile court judge Susan Craighead.

Justice isn’t color-blind, at least in King County.

According to a special report published last month, black youth in KC are roughly six times more likely than white youth to face a judge in juvenile court. And while the number of youth referred to juvenile court has been falling for years, the bulk of that benefit has gone to whites.

Speaking on behalf of the more than fifty judges on her bench, she says, Judge Susan Craighead is calling for a series of “listening sessions” with key players in the juvenile justice system. This includes representatives of government institutions which are “upstream” of the court—police, schools, and child welfare services — but also the families and communities most impacted by juvenile courts.

“We feel like we need all hands on deck to try to figure out what more can we do with this problem,” Craighead told CHS. Continue reading