March for Trans Lives crosses Capitol Hill

(Image: Chloe Collyer)

(Image: Chloe Collyer)

A Trans Day of Visibility march filled Broadway Friday night as participants traveled from Volunteer Park to Cal Anderson Park in an event organized by a March for Trans Lives group that describes itself as a new “community based organization who believes in non violent acts of protest.”

The event featured speeches and drag performances at Volunteer Park before marching down Broadway around 6 PM. The 2023 TDOV arrived amid efforts to provide more protections across the country. In Olympia, lawmakers have been trying to shape legislation to provide more protections for runaways who may come to Washington to seek gender-affirming care. Another bill from 43rd District Sen. Jamie Pedersen would make it easier and safer for the state’s residents to change their name, a boost for privacy “for people who are trans or queer, those escaping domestic violence, and refugees,”

Friday’s organizers asked attendees to not engage with police and to refrain from unlawful activity. Continue reading

Saying reforms have worked, officials call for end of federal oversight of the Seattle Police Department

(Image: City of Seattle)

The U.S. Justice Department and city officials say Seattle’s police reforms have worked and it is time to lift the consent decree put in place in 2011 after a civil rights investigation found evidence of excessive force and biased policing.

Officials asked a federal judge Tuesday to end most of the federal oversight of the Seattle Police Department saying the department has made “far-reaching reforms” over the past 12 years and is now a “transformed organization.”

The filing says SPD has made reforms in key areas including use of force policy and increased community participation and civilian oversight from the city’s community policing commission.

“We know there remains work to be done to reduce disparities in policing, and we are committed to doing so as a learning, growing organization, with a department culture where accountability, continuous improvement, and innovation are always at the center,” Mayor Bruce Harrell said in a statement on the filing.

But the fallout of the 2020 Black Lives Matter demonstrations, CHOP protests, and subsequent anti-police marches and property damage still shadows the department. The filing recommends continued federal oversight of SPD’s crowd control measures including “improving the use, reporting, and review of force in crowd settings” and improved accountability for its chain of command. Continue reading

Flanked by tech workers and human rights supporters, Sawant to propose ‘first-in-nation’ caste protections in Seattle

As she prepared to announce her decision not to run for reelection, Sawant spoke with Raghav Kaushik, a tech worker who will be part of Tuesday’s press conference and a longtime Sawant supporter (Image: CHS)

How will Kshama Sawant spend her final year on the Seattle City Council as she and her Socialist Alternative-powered office prepare for the work of launching a new national party? Much like the previous decade with long-shot political bids designed to shake up the status quo, renter-friendly legislation, and hyperlocal extractions of global issues.

Tuesday, her council office announced new proposed legislation to create “first-in-the-nation” protections against caste discrimination.

“Caste discrimination doesn’t only take place in other countries. It is faced by South Asian American and other immigrant working people in their workplaces, including in the tech sector, in Seattle and in cities around the country,” Sawant’s announcement reads. Continue reading

‘WE MADE HISTORY’ — Ten years ago, Capitol Hill’s celebration of marriage equality

Election Night 2012 (Image: CHS)

Dan Savage and Terry Miller sliced a celebratory rainbow wedding cake at Capitol Hill’s Cupcake Royale a week later (Image: CHS)

By Jadenne Radoc Cabahug, CHS reporting intern

Tracy Taylor, Elliott Bay Book Company co-owner, says she remembers a lesbian couple who lived on Capitol Hill and worked in the bookstore who no longer held hands when walking down the street since they felt unsafe after someone called out and followed them.

“Which was really unusual, not unusual, but really horrific in what is essentially our gay neighborhood,” Taylor said.

In her 33 year career working as a general manager, Taylor remembered this couple from nearly a decade ago as she recalled the passage of R74 and how much Capitol Hill has changed since.

“There are more protections and people are more aware, or they don’t see people being fearful about showing affection on the streets,” Taylor said.

Ten years ago, Pike/Pine revelers filled the streets on Election Night, celebrating the reelection of Barack Obama and the passage of Referendum 74, legalizing same-sex marriage in Washington. A popular sign in the crowd that night: “WE MADE HISTORY”

“Capitol Hill has been and continues to be the center of LGBTQ culture and community in our, in our state, [and] certainly in our city,” Sen. Jamie Pedersen of the 43rd Legislative District said. Continue reading

Seattle Council passes civil rights legislation protecting abortions and gender-affirming care

The Seattle City Council passed more legislation this week to help protect abortion rights and the rights of those seeking gender-affirming care.

One bill will add people who have received or are seeking abortions as a protected class in Seattle, ensuring their civil rights protections while the other creates a misdemeanor charge for people who “encroach on individuals seeking abortions or gender-affirming care.”

The newly approved bills follow passage of legislation from District 3’s Kshama Sawant last week directing the Seattle Police Department and the City Attorney Ann Davison “to refrain from cooperating with out-of-state law enforcement agencies or other entities about abortion-related matters,” according to a statement from the council. Continue reading

Seattle becomes ‘sanctuary city’ for abortion with new protections against cops and prosecution

A protester at a May #BansOffOurBodies rally in Cal Anderson

Seattle has prohibited its police department and city attorney from cooperating with law enforcement and legal actions related to abortion bans in other states.

Tuesday, the Seattle City Council passed District 3 representative Kshama Sawant’s legislation directing the Seattle Police Department and the City Attorney Ann Davison “to refrain from cooperating with out-of-state law enforcement agencies or other entities about abortion-related matters,” according to a statement from the council.

If abortion were to become unlawful in Washington, it would make enforcement of those laws among the lowest priorities, the statement said. Continue reading

#BansOffOurBodies — Thousands rally for abortion rights on Seattle’s Capitol Hill

Rep. Suzan DelBene

By Hannah Saunders with reporting from CHS

Thousands filled Capitol Hill’s Cal Anderson Park Saturday to call for the protection of Roe v. Wade. Thousands marched through the neighborhood calling for the protection of women’s rights and to respond to the leaked Supreme Court decision by speaking out against the erosion of civil rights in the country.

Beth Riven said she was there because she cares about the health and wellbeing of women and girls in the United States.

“Hopefully this is a rallying call for not only Seattle, but others around the country and in fact, around the world, that fascist moves by a Supreme Court will harm everyone, including men and families—not only women and girls,” Riven said.

Congresswoman Suzan DelBene was the first speaker to take the microphone during Saturday’s rally.

“This is a combination of Republicans’ decades long effort to take away women’s freedoms, and it breaks my heart that my daughter — so many young women out here — could have less rights than I did at your age, and it won’t stop here,” DelBene said.

“This is an issue that affects all of us,” said DelBene. “Even if you’re not a woman or you don’t think this issue impacts you, I hope you’ll remember something that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, which is ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere’.”

Organized by the Planned Parenthood Action Fund as part of #BansOffOurBodies protests in more than 400 cities this weekend, Saturday’s rally was the latest centerpoint of Seattle protests, gatherings, and actions from many groups across the region including groups like Refuse Fascism Seattle that gathered later Saturday afternoon at Seattle Central before marching on Broadway with rally attendees and groups joining for a full day of protest and speaking out. Friday, the Beauty in Our Community group held a youth-focused action in the park to kick off the weekend of protest. Continue reading

With more protest planned, Sawant Seattle City Council resolution will call for Congress to codify Roe v. Wade — UPDATE

Abortion rights protesters in Seattle last week (Image: Matt Mitgang)

District 3 representative Kshama Sawant says she will introduce a resolution at Tuesday’s meeting of the full Seattle City Council calling on Congress to “codify Roe v. Wade.”

“On Friday and Saturday, May 13th and 14th, thousands more are expected to rally,” Sawant says in a statement from her office. “Students and workers across the country are organizing walkouts at their schools, universities and workplaces, pointing the way forward in how we can fight back against these attacks.”

“In solidarity with these vital protest actions,” Sawant says her “socialist Council office” is putting forward a resolution to the City Council, “urging the US Congress to immediately codify Roe v. Wade.” 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

Seattle’s State of the City 2017: $55M homelessness levy, soda tax for schools, Trump immigration push-back

At Northgate’s Idris Mosque Tuesday morning, Mayor Ed Murray gave his 2017 State of the City address, announcing plans to increase investments to further address homelessness and education disparities, and to continue to support immigrants and refugees in Seattle. Included in the speech were plans to activate a city emergency system usually reserved for bad weather and protests to provide more resources for helping the area’s homeless, a proposal for a $55 million property levy to fund homelessness services, and the floating of a possible Seattle soda tax to help fund schools. Video and the full text of Murray’s speech is below.

For Seattle, the biggest news of the speech will likely be the homeless levy proposal. The plan will go to city voters this August to ask them to approve an increase in the commercial and residential property tax of around $13 per month for the median household, according to the mayor’s office. Murray said that a coalition including entrepreneur Nick Hanauer, Downtown Emergency Services Center executive director Daniel Malone, and City Council members Debora Juarez and Sally Bagshaw will lead an advisory group to create the funding package for the proposal.

The mayor also announced a new offensive to push back on Trump administration immigration policies. Murray said the city will send Freedom of Information Act requests to multiple federal departments, including the Department of Homeland Security, in response to President Donald Trump’s actions affecting immigrants and refugees. Murray is seeking to determine potential enforcement actions the federal government may take against Seattle and other sanctuary cities and details about changes to travel and immigration policy.

“We believe that the rule of law is on our side,” Murray said, adding that Seattle will take legal action if the federal departments do not provide timely responses.

Murray’s State of the City announcements:

Murray said he also plans to meet with other regional mayors to about remaining safe sanctuary cities.

“Remaining open to all is a fundamental value of the city,” Murray said. “Seattle is a great city because of immigrants and refugees.” Continue reading