‘There is no going back to normal’ — Annual workers rights march returns for Seattle May Day 2021

Seattle May Day marchers in 2018. The city has had a run of mostly peaceful May Days focused on workers rights and immigration

Officially, the City of Seattle isn’t issuing permits for marches and rallies due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions but organizers of the annual May Day march here say they will again take to the streets Saturday.

“Join us on May 1st as we take the message to the streets that ‘there is no going back to normal!,'” organizers from El Comité write.

The city says “unrestricted events” like marches can’t adequately be controlled for the number of participants and social distancing so it isn’t issuing permits and officially closing streets or providing planned Seattle Police “First Amendment support” but a spokesperson says City Hall is aware of “multiple events” planned to take place over the weekend including Saturday’s march.

The 2021 May 1st march is being planned to begin at noon outside Iglesia de Santa María at 20th Ave S and Weller. The traditional step off point at St. Mary’s Church this year will begin a march through the city that organizers say will remind people of the need to organize for civil rights even through the struggles of unrest and pandemic in the past year:

As workers, we have entered 2021 with eyes wide open after having witnessed the murder of George Floyd, the caging of children in our southern border and the most massive racist outpouring since the civil war. Asian communities along with Native, Black, Latinx, and Immigrants have suffered brutal and cowardly attacks. 2020 has exposed that the nature of the present system needs to change. Health Care, Inclusive Immigration Reform, Public Safety Reform, Homelessness, Housing and Jobs must be a priority. Yet, for us to make considerable gains we must ensure the right to organize!

May Day and its place in pro labor and workers rights marches and protest has remained a major annual event in the city with El Comite’s efforts at the center of the day. Continue reading

Masks, plywood, and a workers’ rights caravan: May Day 2020 in Seattle

Seattle’s tradition of a May Day celebration of worker and indigenous rights will continue despite COVID-19 restrictions — but there will be no marching.

Immigrant rights activists will gather at the annual rally and march start point Friday outside 20th Ave S’s St. Mary’s Church for a “Caravan to Olympia” hoped to “bring the plight of the undocumented to light,” organizers at El Comité and the May 1st Action Coalition announced: Continue reading

Families Belong Together: busy Capitol Hill Station, sign-making party, ‘Tax Amazon’ reschedule

Protestors filled Sea-Tac airport in 2017 to denounce a Trump administration immigration order

Thursday, Seattle Congresswoman Rep. Pramila Jayapal was arrested as part of a mass protest along with Women’s March organizers in Washington, D.C. “against President Trump’s family separation policies.” She vowed to be back on the street as part of a nationwide protest Saturday against the situation at the country’s southern border.

Seattle’s component of the Families Belong Together protests is set to take place outside the SeaTac Detention Center. With the detention center’s location within walking distance of the Angle Lake light rail station, expect Capitol Hill Station to be busy with activists Saturday: Continue reading

Seattle takes Trump to court over sanctuary city funding threats

Millions in federal funds are on the line. But the City of Seattle is picking a fight with the Trump administration over sanctuary cities because of larger costs.

“Their war on facts has become a war on cities,” Mayor Ed Murray said Wednesday in an announcement of a federal lawsuit brought by Seattle demanding legal clarification on a Trump executive order that threatens so-called sanctuary cities that don’t collaborate with immigration authorities with the loss of government grants. Continue reading

Sawant leads protest against U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Kshama Sawant has turned her power to raise a crowd and bring activists into the streets of Seattle onto a new target: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement — I.C.E.

“The movement’s demands are clear: Free Daniel! No Ban! No Wall! No Raids! Not One More Deportation! Free those in detention! Shut down the private prisons used by ICE, including the Northwest Detention Center! Full Civil Rights and Legalization for All!,” Sawant said in a statement released before a Friday protest and march organized by the City Council member and District 3 representative for Capitol Hill and the Central District.

The protest drew around 200 people to the downtown federal courthouse where hearings have been underway in the case of 23-year-old Daniel Ramirez Medina, a participant in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program whose detention by I.C.E. has drawn widespread criticism and concern. Continue reading

Views from Capitol Hill on Trump’s blocked Muslim ban

Friday from a Seattle courtroom, hope spread that  President Donald Trump’s executive orders might add up to little more than longer, more threatening tweets. Federal Judge James Robart’s ruling in State of Washington vs. Donald J. Trump, et al has put a major kink in the president’s attempt to bar citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.

At age six, Boris Krichevsky fled the former Soviet Union with his parents, younger sister and his uncle’s family. They came to America in 1991 as refugees. Today, Capitol Hill resident Krichevsky is an educator and a Ph.D. student at the University of Washington.

Wassef Haroun, who was born in Syria and raised in Lebanon, moved to the U.S. for school. He met his wife, Racha, whose father is Syrian and mother is Iranian, while they were both college students in Houston, Texas. Together they moved around a lot — Seattle, Paris, Dubai, and back to Seattle. They opened Mamnoon restaurant on Capitol Hill’s Melrose Ave.

“We are afforded lots of great opportunities by being here that we simply could not be afforded at home,” Haroun told CHS.

With the battle over Trump’s blocked immigration ban — and the appeal filed Saturday — as background, both men talked with CHS about their views molded by both their backgrounds coming to the U.S. and the work they are currently doing. Continue reading

Checks and balances: Sea-Tac protest, courts snarl first hours of Trump immigration order


One week ago, months of shock and anger after Donald Trump’s victory inspired millions to take to the streets across the country including a march in Seattle that stretched from the Central District to the Space Needle. The latest stand against the new administration took only hours — and a few hundred rides out of Capitol Hill Station.

Protesters filled Sea-Tac airport Saturday night to push back against the president’s latest executive order barring citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for the next 90 days. Travelers across the country and the world were caught in limbo with the sudden executive action including six at Sea-Tac, according to officials — up to 13 according to lawyers and family members.

After five hours or protest, with two detainees reportedly released and four more sent back to “their place of departure,” the Sea-Tac crowd had swelled from a few dozen to more than 1,000 people. “No one leaves until the detainees are released,” the protesters demanded. UPDATE: The protest crowds thinned through the night and around 2 AM, police began forcibly removing remaining protesters using arrests and pepper spray. Early Sunday morning, the Port of Seattle announced it had been contacted by the Department of Homeland Security and that “individuals are no longer being detained at Sea-Tac”:

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


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

Seattle mayor signs 7-point Thanksgiving ‘sanctuary city’ order

(Image: City of Seattle)

(Image: City of Seattle)

Mayor Ed Murray chose the Thanksgiving holiday — a celebration of immigration, depending on how you look at it — to sign a new executive order making a stand for Seattle as a sanctuary city:

Today, Mayor Ed Murray signed an Executive Order reaffirming Seattle as a welcoming city. The order states that City employees will not ask about the status of residents and all City services will be available to all residents, and it creates an Inclusive and Equitable City Cabinet that will coordinate City efforts to protect the civil liberties and civil rights of Seattle residents. Additionally, the City will set aside $250,000 to address the needs of unauthorized immigrant students enrolled in Seattle Public Schools and their families.

“Except for our Native Peoples, we are all from someplace else, and we are strong because of our diversity,” Murray said in a statement on the act announced Thursday. “It is my commitment that Seattle will remain a welcoming city, not a place where children and their families live in fear.” Continue reading