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

 

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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

‘We will fight’ — Seattle leaders respond to Trump’s immigration order

screen-shot-2017-01-25-at-2-03-55-pm

Facebook emoji were flying as González, Chief O’Toole, Mayor Murray, and others spoke in an address from City Hall’s steps broadcast to an audience of around 1,000 on Facebook

screen-shot-2017-01-25-at-1-58-16-pm screen-shot-2017-01-25-at-1-50-54-pmNobody punched a Nazi but Seattle City Council member and the daughter of a family of immigrants Lorena González vowed Wednesday to help lead her city to push back on President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration.

“We will fight,” González said Wednesday afternoon on the steps of Seattle’s City Hall.

Earlier in the day, Trump unleashed the new executive order setting the groundwork for his pet Mexican border wall project and for cutting federal grants to so-called sanctuary cities, his latest blast in a first week in office marked by preliminary attacks on undocumented immigrants, civil rights, women’s health, the Affordable Care Act, and the environment.

Mayor Ed Murray Wednesday called the order the “darkest day of immigration history in America” since the Japanese internment during World War II.

“The executive orders are counter to our constitution and a threat to this city’s values,” Murray said. Continue reading

‘Fight for Your Rights’ say organizers of 33rd annual MLK Day festival and march

2014's march had a decided focus on economic justice the push for a $15 minimum wage gained steam (Image: CHS)

2014’s march had a decided focus on economic justice the push for a $15 minimum wage gained steam (Image: CHS)

Monday’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day will bring a 33rd annual march and festival to the Central District to mark the great works of the civil rights leader.

This year’s theme? Fight for Your Rights in 2015! A list of the day’s workshops can be found here (PDF).

Information on the day of workshops and rallies and the noontime march from Garfield High School to the Federal Courhouse at 7th and Stewart is below. Last year’s march included thousands of participants. Continue reading