A grassroots movement is honoring the gravesites of Washington suffragists including some right here on Capitol Hill, marking 100 years of the 19th Amendment that granted women the right to vote and providing an important reflection on the past as the first woman to be elected U.S. Vice President prepares to take office.
Washington state won and lost the women’s right to vote four times before the 19th Amendment was passed in 1920, a process that took resilience and determination.
“[Suffragists] had to continually fight these societal norms. As much as they tried to use logic and the constitution, what really won the argument was these women had to demonstrate that . . . just because they got the right to vote doesn’t mean they were going to abandon their domestic duties and their husbands and their children,” ThankHer2020’s organizer Starlyn Nackos explained.
“It’s frustrating, but it’s also fascinating at the same time. The women that were so influential and successful were the ones who used those arguments. The first time women were able to successfully vote was because they hosted a picnic luncheon at the polling station.” Continue reading
In past editions as CHS has attempted to tally the most important stories from the year, many of our biggest came and went with the relentless flow of news and other stories to tell. But in 2020, those stories never ended and will continue into 2021.
To break through the fog of COVID-19 and a year of unrest and protest on Capitol Hill, we need to consider the Year in Review through the prism of some of the individual stories that formed the larger narratives around the pandemic and the protests. This year, it might be more accurate to call them Capitol Hill’s most important news moments — pieces of the larger issues that dominated the year in Central Seattle.
Viewed at that level, there is also some room to see a few smaller but still important chapters in the year that was including closures of some loved small businesses and bits of the fabric that made up life here in 2020 like, yes, a tofu shortage.
In 2019, by the way, readers said the race for the District 3 seat on the City Council was the story of the year. This year, we are also again asking you about your optimism for the year ahead. We get the feeling those measurements may have changed over the past year.
Given all that, here is a look at some of the most important news moments around Capitol Hill in 2020. Thanks for reading and being part of CHS. Continue reading
A recent essay on the ongoing demonstrations in Seattle and the summer of the Capitol Hill occupied protest attempted to frame the activism as microcosm of the upheaval seen this year across the county. It’s a good read:
It was a raw experience felt physically by those who attended the CHOP. This complicated blend of hope and despair, and the busy organizing that went into managing each, ended after shots rang out in the night, two were killed, and the SPD swept the protesters out.
But the essay also strings the physical core of Seattle’s protests — Capitol Hill’s Cal Anderson Park — to a history of oppression and conquest: Continue reading
Seattle mourned the passing of Roger Winters, an early pioneer in the movement for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. He passed away this week in his Shoreline home after suffering a recent bout of pneumonia. The former Capitol Hill resident and property owner was 75 years old.
“The Seattle community — and the world at large — lost a true champion for gay rights with his passing,” said Krystal Marx, Executive Director of Seattle Pride. “Roger’s decades of advocacy and political savvy helped to propel LGBTQIA+ rights forward in a way we would not have had without his involvement.”
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan agreed. In a written statement to CHS, she spoke of his relentless efforts to obtain equality for the LGBTQIA+ community. “Roger Winters worked for decades to ensure the dignity, rights and true equality for LGBTQ individuals. His voice and personal courage were unflagging over the almost 30 years that it took for LGBTQ people to get civil rights legislation,” said Durkan. “In the last four years, we have seen that these rights are far from guaranteed. This administration has directly targeted the transgender community and critical LGBTQ protections. In just the last few weeks, a U. S. Supreme Court Justice stated that hard fought wins for LGBTQ equality should be rolled back, and that some discrimination against LGBTQ individuals is a constitutional right. To honor the memory of Roger Winters and all of the other LGBTQ leaders we have lost this year, we must continue to fight.”
Susan Priebe, who met Winters in 2002 and became close friends, spoke with me to discuss Winters’ passing. She has agreed to handle his affairs on behalf of his family.
“Roger was deeply intellectual and also a fun-loving character — going from a profound philosophical statement one minute, to singing a ditty from a 50’s sitcom the next. He was a very loving and caring person, spending hours upon hours of personal time on issues and projects to improve everyone’s lives,” she said. “Roger was an insanely involved person, politically astute, a creative soul, and a very devout atheist… In the LGBT arena alone, Roger was involved with many groups from 1977 through the rest of his life.”
“Roger was a go-to leader and pioneer who helped pave the way for LGBTQ equality,” former Seattle City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen said.
Winters grew up in a conservative Christian household in Indianapolis and spent time on farms during his youth. He attended Indiana University, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government. He went on to attend Harvard University on a fellowship where he became a Senior Tutor at Dudley House on campus and, later, graduated with honors in Political Science. He became an intern for Senator Birch E. Bayh, Jr., a Democrat from Indiana. In 1972, he joined the faculty of Central Washington University, where he was a Assistant Professor of Political Science. It was here, when he became involved in Seattle politics. He traveled from Kittitas County, where CWU is located, to attend board meetings of the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington in Seattle.
“We white boys started out conservative because we were invisible enough to pass in a gay-unfriendly world,” Winters wrote to me in a text on March 23, 2019, while discussing his upbringing and personal growth. “Those of us who got active recognized that other people who couldn’t or wouldn’t pass were really needing the legal protection and anti-discrimination [law] we were after but we didn’t understand their point of view. We embraced diversity and sought to be inclusive.”
The Thomas and Sarah Esther Bordeaux House at the corner of 14th Ave E and E Valley will come before the city’s landmarks board Wednesday afternoon.
City staff have recommended it move forward in the nomination process citing the structure’s embodiment of “distinctive visible characteristics of an architectural style, or period, or a method of construction” — “a distinctive combination of the Queen Anne and Tudor Revival architectural styles,” the nomination report reads — and its presence as a monument to the work of architect William Kimball: Continue reading