by Alex Garland
This is the first in our series of interviews with candidates running for Seattle City Council’s Position 8, one of two citywide council seats up for grabs this November. For this round, our interviewer gathered questions from local journalists to ask former Tenants Union Director Jon Grant, King County NAACP Vice- President Sheley Secrest, and labor and immigrants rights advocate Teresa Mosqueda. The three join seven other declared candidates in vying for the position. Grant and Secrest are both South Seattle residents.
Hanna Brooks Olsen from Seattlish asks “Despite the State of Emergency declaration in November of 2015, efforts to bring unsheltered people inside have been relatively slow, in large part because no one seems to agree on how best to quickly, effectively address the needs of our communities. How would you, as a representative for the entire city, help bring people to the table to swiftly implement real action before another cold snap hits?
Jon Grant: For the last month and a half, our campaign has been active at the “Field of Dreams” encampment that just got swept. One of the things that we were trying to do was fill the gap that the city left by trying to provide resources to the residents there. We put up a large military community tent, it actually had a stove in it where people could stay warm that went up right before the snowfall. We started removing bags of trash with help from the residents to try to make the place more habitable. We contacted the city multiple times to remove the trash, to address the rodent infestation. There was a community police officer that stopped patrolling the area that led to greater public safety problems at the encampment. I think that until the city acknowledges the reality that homeless people occupy space and need to be somewhere, we have to meet them where they’re at and provide survival resources to them. That means graveling the lot, providing waste removal, having bathroom facilities, having it be well lit for safety, having a community police officer there. I think having the residents take ownership of that process is a model that will at least give folks the opportunity to get back on their feet and build trust between city workers who might be able to provide them with more resources when they are available, like access to housing, like alternative shelter resources.
There’s no reason why a homeless person would trust a city outreach worker who in one instance saying I’m here to help and then in another instance saying, I’m here to throw away all of your stuff. We’re talking about folks with serious barriers to even access shelters. There are not a lot of low barrier shelters out there if you’re a drug addict. If you have substance abuse issues, you cannot even access the shelter services that are out there. The city needs to acknowledge this reality and it pats itself on the back for saying that it embraces a housing first model but the truth of the matter is that they say it’s housing first, but first you have to x,y,z.
That’s not housing first. If that x is, you need to be clean and sober, or if that z is, you need to not have a criminal record, then that’s not truly embracing housing first. I think that the city needs to walk the walk and not talk this rhetoric about it. The second piece we need to do to as we address the immediate needs of homeless people is to radically expand the provision of affordable housing by raising taxes on corporations to provide the resources to radically expand affordable housing in the city of Seattle. That is the only way we are truly going to end homelessness. Having another study done, having another stakeholder committee done, is simply wasting time and resources. We know what we need to do to address this problem.
Sheley Secrest: There are quick things that we can do right now that don’t take any effort or money. The ban the box on housing applications, I know tons of men and women who have jobs and are able to qualify for all of the requirements for housing, but they can’t get past just that one question about their past. Normally we’ve been able to speak with some landlords who will say OK, I will accept tenants who have history, maybe seven years old. That’s ridiculous, it doesn’t work in this climate. So being able to really key in on bringing everyone to terms on the housing crisis and what that means and what they can do.”
You’re speaking specifically of people with felonies?
Secrest: “Not just felonies, applications that ask about criminal history. Definitely banning the “felons need not apply” but thatʼs more of a federal law. Iʼm just talking about criminal history. I like what’s happening here on 23rd at the new YK building that’s having tenants move in this year. They are deliberate and intentional with making sure that they’re not asking those questions up front and what that looks like. More need to do that. All hands in on this. We know that there’s a homeless crisis. It tore my heart with the way the city handled the sweeps. The lack of communication, all of us had thought that this housing crisis and the money coming in was going to actually do something to fix it and the way that it was done, I believe, it was a disconnect with a lot of organizations who are doing work with the homeless population. We didn’t know. So I think the city officials, leadership, they need to do a better job of communicating what they are doing because that felt like a betrayal.
Watching homes get pushed away and people told that they have to do something within hours of notice, just crazy. That’s another thing of using the funds, communicating better with us. That’s something we can do better right now. Then finally, one of the things that’s low-hanging fruit, let’s fix it right now, is pure race discrimination that is so prevalent within Seattle. Patricia Lawly in the office of civil rights has talked about how even those with vouchers, a guaranteed income saying that we will make sure this tenant has funds each month if you let them live in your house, even then they are discriminated against over 60% based on their race, based off their religion, Muslim in particular, LGBTQ status, those types of things we can nip in the bud right now, letʼs stop it. I understand a lot of the HALA recommendations and the things they want to implement and if weʼre serious about homelessness those are at least three that we can do right now.”
Teresa Mosqueda: “I look at this as the public health crisis that it is. My background is in public health and we have a true public health crisis for the individuals that are living outside that are unsheltered and for our community as a whole. We have got to get folks off the street in a safe and respectful way and get them into affordable housing, transitional housing, and other shelter options. I take a look at who is living outside and it is folks who are chronically homeless, have mental health needs, have substance abuse issues, and are working families who are just one paycheck away from living on the streets or living in their car, theyʼre out there as well. We cannot have a declaration of emergency without a goal and without an end date. We have got to hold ourselves responsible and accountable to get folks off the street and we should treat this as the public health crisis that it is. If this were an outbreak, we would have the resources deployed and make sure that we were addressing this as the crisis that it is. We have got to get folks into the shelters, into transitional housing. Get them the help, the mental health services, the substance abuse treatment that they need, if they need that, and true economic stability.
Aaron Burkehalter from Real Change asks “The city of Seattle’s approach to affordable housing seems to be focused on encouraging the market to build new housing while attempting to get some affordable housing in that deal. Given that, how does the city prevent the gentrification of this community? Do you see a way that the city can increase its affordable housing stock without pushing existing residents out of their neighborhoods?
Grant: “The city of Seattle really did the community a disservice through the mayor’s grand bargain proposal with developers. We had an opportunity to put a requirement for new housing to have higher levels of affordability. Instead, the city worked out a deal where developers could build housing with as little as 3% of that building as affordable. I put forward a proposal saying all new development needs to have at least 25% of it set aside for working class and low-income people. The city needs to adopt a 1 for 1 replacement program, where every time a unit is lost, itʼs put on the developer to build affordable housing thatʼs demolished. If we donʼt do that, weʼre going to see a net loss of affordable housing. If you look at the mayor’s proposal, heʼs proposed through the grand bargain to create 6000 units of affordable housing over the next ten years. If you look at the past ten years, weʼve lost 6000 units of affordable housing through demolition. Itʼs not a net gain, weʼre not even treading water. Until we have a much more bold proposal that will greatly expand the provision for affordable housing, it will continue to tear down the existing affordable housing stock, which will result in gentrification, which will result in communities of color being displaced. We are seeing that right now in the Central District as the African American communities population is reaching historic lows. If we donʼt have a robust proposal putting higher demands on corporations and developers, weʼre going to perpetuate that cycle.
If you look at the mayor’s proposal, heʼs proposed through the grand bargain to create 6000 units of affordable housing over the next ten years. If you look at the past ten years, weʼve lost 6000 units of affordable housing through demolition. Itʼs not a net gain, weʼre not even treading water. Until we have a much more bold proposal that will greatly expand the provision for affordable housing, it will continue to tear down the existing affordable housing stock, which will result in gentrification, which will result in communities of color being displaced. We are seeing that right now in the Central District as the African American communities population is reaching historic lows. If we donʼt have a robust proposal putting higher demands on corporations and developers, weʼre going to perpetuate that cycle.
Secrest: Yes. Iʼm a renter. I know what it feels like when most of your income is going just to pay the bills. I’m a mother, so I know what it feels like having to tell my child standing at Walmart, no, you canʼt have that item, that toy that you want, because momma has to make sure she can pay for the basic necessities. That’s wrong. A lot of the HALA recommendations are focused on new housing development. I would like to see incentives created more under how to keep the existing structures affordable. Whatʼs in it for a landlord to not move someone out? What’s in it for a landlord to not look at an Amazon or Microsoft employee and not create incentives for them to move in, but not look at someone who is working down the street for $15 an hour and those requirements?
I like the way new legislation is being passed. Washington CAN just started their security deposit payment plans and all of that, I love that. Those are the creative ideas we need to have. I wish we could bring more people into the conversation though. Our community engagement is still disconnected.
Seattle is a renters market. Weʼve got a lot of folks who do not own homes right now. Those who were discriminated against from the unfair lending crisis back in 2008. They’re now renting and they don’t have the options of home ownership. So let’s get them to the table and explore, what are you facing, how hard is it, is it your credit reports, what are your barriers? Let’s get those conversations in a real way so we can find solutions.
Mosqueda: I have devoted my career and my life in healthcare and the labor movement to make sure that nobody is left out, nobody is left behind, and nobody is pushed out. We have to make sure that as we create a Seattle that works for everyone, that nobody is being pushed out and we are actually creating true, affordable housing options for everybody in this city. You ought to be able to afford a place to live in the city that you work. That means realizing and addressing head on, the market alone has not yielded more affordable housing options.
We’ve got to step up. Weʼve got to intervene. Weʼve got to create true affordable housing options across the spectrum so that folks can have an affordable place to live. Iʼm a renter, I would be the only renter sitting on Seattle City Council. I want to be there to make sure that folks at anywhere along the income spectrum, no matter if they are a renter or a homeowner, that they have an affordable place to live. Right now, you can’t say that you can afford to live in the city that you work for many working families that are out there. We’ve got to change that. We also have to make sure that we are addressing the historic and real gentrification thatʼs occurred in many of our communities by bringing folks to the table and making decisions by communities and families actually impacted by the planning decisions in our city. Have them at the table to make sure we donʼt push people out and we donʼt discount any community. This has to be a Seattle for everyone and this means we have to respect and include communities that are here and we donʼt add to the historic gentrification that weʼve seen in many areas of our city.
Marcus Harrison Green from the South Seattle Emerald asks “Police officers currently undergo bias training, but many critics say a 4-hour class is insufficient to weed out implicit bias inherent in the police (and people in general). How can you as a city councilmember press for ongoing, fairly regular bias training in the SPD?”
Grant: One of the big problems that we saw come out of the consent decree was when the Department of Justice study found that over 200 cases of excessive force and racial discrimination existed, not a single one of those police officers was fired. When we talk about implicit bias, we need to get at how are officers held accountable. I think itʼs good that police receive training around implicit bias, and that should be expanded and mandated, but, at the end of the day, if theyʼre found to have discriminated against somebody, or worse, they know they will go through a disciplinary process that will exonerate them.
As a result of that, there is a culture of impunity at the police department. If we donʼt have a system where officers can be held accountable for racially profiling someone or for excessive force, we are going to see the cycle continue. We need to get rid of the way officers are currently held accountable by removing the Discipline Review Board, which is comprised of three people, two officers and one civilian chosen by the police department. This is the police policing themselves, and itʼs not right. The Community Police Commission needs to be given the authority to set department policy and also to discipline officers after OPA found there was an incident of excessive force of racial profiling. If you do not address the fundamental way that officers are held accountable, then no amount of training will change that culture of impunity, which is why we need true civilian oversight of our police department.
Secrest: I get the training and teaching people about implicit bias and how to identify how that plays out. As an attorney, I teach the juries each time we go to trial that we all have biases and how to make sure that the way we feel doesn’t get in the way of what we’re supposed to do. I get that. I would like to take a different approach than just training though on bias. When it comes to being able to provide a person with a badge and a gun, let’s just start with the way that we select our officers. That’s not training. I canʼt train you to not be afraid of someone whoʼs got a wide nose, big lips, and a thick afro. I canʼt train you to not see a criminal by a young kid whoʼs wearing baggy pants. I canʼt train that. Thatʼs not training, thatʼs different. I would like to see us immediately take steps to identify before we hire them, those things of fear. A lot of the work weʼre trying to do with holding bad officers accountable for their actions, we get stuck on whether or not they were fearful of their life. That you canʼt train, that is simply, you donʼt need to hire. Thatʼs not necessarily a bad message, you can be a great a person who does not like black people and just has a different job. Donʼt have a badge and a gun right, no judgment, thatʼs fine, just donʼt serve on the Seattle Police Department.
Thatʼs a different approach that I would like to see, but weʼre talking about training. Yes, increase training. Making sure we do a better job of looking at the officer’s evaluations. Iʼd like to see a frequency Iʼm not. In the past, there were times when you and I could have a yearly evaluation of our job, we werenʼt doing that for the police department routinely. So Iʼd like to make sure that weʼre doing those small things.
Mosqueda: I think that we have to have true reform in our system that reflects community led and community-driven policing and has a system that pushes for greater trust and greater respect of our communities and having those communities really inform policing and police training. That means getting more of our folks to be sitting at the table. Our folks, means community folks sitting at the table. Talking about real life experiences of people being targeted unfairly and as we move forward, making sure we have folks who are on the frontline, both in terms of our community and folks who working on the front line, to say what theyʼd like to see change. I think that when we get people at the same table, we see we have similar goals in mind and Iʼd like to see that be led by both frontline communities and folks working on the front line so we can grow trust.
Justin Carder from CapitolHillSeattle.com asks “How can Seattle make sure that any construction wave likely to be started/re-started by upzoning and HALA creates an opportunity that is shared with developers and contractors from all of the city’s communities?”
Grant: One of the big problems with the way that up zones are structured is that there is a provision in there called an “in lieu fee” and what that means is that normally, when a city allows an up zone to occur, that requires affordable housing in that unit, the developer can instead pay into a fund and that fund can be used somewhere else in the city. I would like to see a requirement that those units be built onsite in those buildings, so that as development happens around the city, affordable housing is equitably spread across the city and not relocated to areas that lack opportunity, that maybe there arenʼt as good schools, maybe thereʼs no grocery store and itʼs a food desert.
I think that until we increase the amount of affordable housing thatʼs required to 25%, instead of the 3-7% thatʼs required under HALA, the mayor’s proposal. We are going to continue to see waves of displacement happen as these up zones occur. I think we need to allow for density, and we need to encourage growth, but the city should get something in return, and what that should be is affordable housing, distributed in an equitable way. If we donʼt get that, weʼre going to continue to see Seattle even more residentially segregated than ever before. I think that is the one real legacy of the civil rights movement that was never realized. Which is how do we tackle residential segregation in our major cities across the country. If we can put a mandate that affordable housing be built all over the city, that is how we do it. But if we continue to allow developers to upzone without high affordability requirements and then what we do demand of them be allocated someplace else in the city, then we are going to continue to see inequitable results and aggregated residential segregation.
Secrest: Iʼd like that conversation to be more inclusive to tenants and what affordability would realistically look like. I know before when we looked at what percentages or incentives for developers, I think it was slanted way too much in their benefit. Iʼd like to make sure weʼre taking a different approach. There has to be that happy, sweet spot in there, we have to have more conversation though. It was pro-development usually when the conversations were existing. Iʼd like to shift that more. Get more community tenants engaged in that conversation on is it realistic, can we reach the people weʼre trying to reach. It was too in favor of the developers.
Mosqueda: We have got to develop Seattle in a way that is inclusive so that we bring more opportunities for people to live in the city that they work. When we see the city moving forward on itʼs plans for up zones, we have got to make sure that weʼre holding ourselves accountable to make sure there are growing affordable housing options built there. Every time I see a crane go up right now and itʼs not including the affordable housing provisions, thatʼs a missed opportunity to get more folks living in the city that they work and create real affordable housing options.
Safe Injection Sites King County Board of Health have approved two safe injection sites and the idea also has the approval of King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg. They are joined by Ed Murray, Tim Burgess, Mike O’Brien, Kshama Sawant, Rob Johnson, Lisa Herbold, Lorena Gonzalez, Debora Juarez and Sally Bagshaw. Do you support Safe Injection sites and what role do you feel the city should play in these sites.”
Grant: I do support Safe Injection Sites, itʼs something we should have been doing decades ago. What other cities who have adopted it have shown is you dramatically reduce the number of opioid-related deaths and you dramatically reduce the number of overdoses. But, when they do occur, theresʼ actually someone on the scene who can provide medical attention to that person, resuscitate them, and save their life. I think thatʼs what this is about. Also, itʼs demonstrated that rates of HIV infection and diseases dramatically drop. Right now itʼs kind of a pilot project in the city, but I think when we talk about this and in conjunction with our homelessness crisis, I think we need to provide these resources to encampment dwellers too, who are also trying to kick a habit and could use access to the medical resources at these facilities that they otherwise wouldnʼt have access to. I would like to see the city rapidly expand it and marry it to the homeless prevention strategy as well.
Secrest: Yes. I support it. My mother was a drug user and I recall at that time, in the early 90ʼs, the frustration I had 1. Making sure she was safe and 2. Treatment opportunities that really addressed that problem. I like the direction the city is going with Safe Injection Sites and would like to see it extended into more areas. A lot of concern has been who gets to benefit, what communities? Why just heroin now that itʼs more white drug users on that drug. How about something for crack addicts or how about something for drugs that are being used by other people of color. Do we get the same kind of help and safety and opportunity of treatment? I like the LEAD program where officers are assisting them with alternatives to jail, but it stops.
Thereʼs a street in Capitol Hill where it stops and then in the Central Area that service is not being provided anymore. I understand budget restrictions, but can you imagine what it would feel like to a person who is in need of services, but they live on the wrong side of the road. Weʼve got to stop that in Seattle. Going forward, I would like to see more people being able to tap into this resource.
Mosqueda: I absolutely support safe injection sites. This is a public health response to another public health crisis. Safe injection sites give people a safe place to get stabilized so we can help address the substance abuse issues they may have, and do it in a way that is both respectful of the individual and is a good public safety measure for our community as well. We have a huge opportunity right now in our city to invest in these safe injection sites that bring more folks into safe places and gets them into a place where they can recover from the substance abuse they may be facing. Itʼs a smart and proven public health strategy that I want to see play out in the city of Seattle.
Why do you think Seattle spends copious amounts of money on transportation options like Pronto and the First Hill Street Car when it could do more to help with simple transit solutions in areas of growing density further from the city center.
Grant: I think itʼs a real point of frustration for a lot of Seattleites about the amount of money that gets spent in the downtown core. In particular the SLU streetcar, when if you live in the outlying neighborhoods in the city, itʼs hard for you to get to the existing light rail spine, that takes you from North to South. Traveling from East to West in the city is incredibly difficult and I think the city should do a number of things to address that.
One, is to have shuttles that go East to West, so that if you live in West Seattle or Seward Park, there’s a way for you to get to the light rail, so you can access that transit line and go North to South. I also think that until, itʼs going be another 20-25 years until we have light rail to places like Ballard and other parts of the city, that we should have Rapid bus lines going North to South until those lines are completed. I think that way we can have more transportation options that go throughout the city and not just these large streetcar investments that get stuck in traffic or arenʼt grade separated. If we arenʼt created grade separated options, options that actually take people north to South, east to West, weʼre going to have a lack of access for a lot of communities throughout the city for a lot of those transit options and for a lot of folks who canʼt afford to own cars.
Secrest: I donʼt know why they misdirect funding. Thatʼs a frustration that I share. As policy makers, everyone understands that the city is growing faster than what folks can drive their cars for. They understand the problem. The solutions are very clear. Common sense solutions. Letʼs make sure people can get to and from our city throughout all four corners of Seattle. Investing those dollars in real transportation thatʼs going to meet the need for all our residents is key, but the solution really is on our part in making sure that we are active in demanding that the city listens to us on this important issue. Itʼs having the effect of if I canʼt go to work, if I canʼt get my child to school, if I canʼt get them to and from daycare. Itʼs affecting our lives way too much to be quiet about it. Iʼd like to see us in the streets more on making sure we can meet our transportation needs. Making sure that as policy makers, thatʼs a priority for them.
Mosqueda: I think historically, Seattle has missed some opportunities to invest in public transportation grids that can help people get to their worksites and get to community centers to really create thriving communities. We have an opportunity now with the passage of ST3 and other investments locally to make sure that we are creating a true public network of transportation options so people can get around the city. Itʼs not only good to do for the local economy but itʼs good for public health. We ought to be investing in ways that we can make sure people and goods can move around efficiently in our city because itʼs bad for our public health as well when youʼve got people commuting hours to get into our city or waiting in long lines of traffic just to get on to the other side of the city. That causes additional stress for individuals, itʼs bad for our environment, and itʼs bad for our communities populations health. I think yeah, we should be investing in greater networks and grids so people can move around the city in an effective and efficient way.
Trump has signed executive orders threatening immigrants, refugees, and Muslims by denying entry and promising deportations. Seattle declared its resolution to remain a “Sanctuary City” regardless of possibly losing an estimated $85 million in Federal funds, slashed from Seattle’s $5 Billion budget. How will you ensure the protection of those threatened under these Federal executive orders with the budget reduced by $85 million?
Grant: The city of Seattle needs to safeguard the city by creating new revenue sources from the private sector. We have seen a lot of levies being passed in recent years, which are a regressive way to raise revenue. I would like to see the city to address that by raising corporate tax rates to pay for services and affordable housing. I think the city needs to dedicate a portion of its general fund to provide free legal representation to immigrants and refugees who are facing deportation. I think every immigrant or refugee who is facing deportation by the Trump administration, should be entitled to a free lawyer. They should also be entitled to a lawyer to assist them with naturalization services so they can become a citizen.
For most immigrants and refugees who are new to this country, thereʼs no way they could afford a lawyer to help them become a legal resident and legal citizen. The city should provide those resources, but furthermore, I think we have a very low bar for being called a “Sanctuary City”. The way that we define that, is that we simply prohibit city workers from inquiring into your immigration status or citizenship status. What I would like to see is that the city pass an ordinance that says “We will not uphold any ICE detainer orders. We will not collaborate with ICE or Homeland Security for their detainer actions.” I think until the city takes further steps to block the deportations from happening, the city will continue to be a funnel for immigrants and refugees into the deportation system. We need to close every single one of those funnels so that we are in no way collaborating with ICE. Furthermore, my understanding is that SPD meets with ICE and Homeland Security on a regular basis and shares municipal data with them. I think we should have that looked into, and if thereʼs anything outside of public safety, that information sharing should be prohibited.
Secrest: I believe we have to serve as a watchdog to human services. Normally when there is a crunch in the budget, human services are one of the first to get cut. We saw that in the recession, we see that every time money gets tight. I believe those who are activists, and knowing the needs of the community and knowing those who are serving it, weʼve got to make sure that yes weʼre protecting. No one should ever try to undo the great work thatʼs been done protecting our Muslim brothers and sisters. Weʼre committed to that. Seattle was one of the first cities that walked in that direction. We need to stay at the helm of making sure that weʼre sending a clear message that weʼre not deporting anyone, weʼre not making anyone feel like theyʼre not at home. Thatʼs what makes Seattle great. But, at the same time, when it comes to money, things get funny in Seattle. We have to make sure that we are protecting services that fit the needs of our community. Not thatʼs pro big business, not thatʼs pro-development, but really fitting the needs of those who need the safety net programs. Thatʼs my biggest concern.
Mosqueda: I was there in SeaTac and stood with the thousands who spontaneously turned out that day to chant “let them in” because immigrants and refugees are our communities, are our families, they are our residents who we will stand up and defend no matter what. I agree 100% with the city’s efforts to make Seattle a sanctuary city. That means we will never turn over individuals in exchange for federal dollars, we will not compromise on our values just because somebody is bullying us. We will stand strong, and I want to be there not only to stand with the community who is chanting “let them in” in defense of our immigrants and refugees, but also to stand firm on city council no matter the bullying tactics from the feds, no matter the threats of federal dollars being ripped away, we will not let our communities be ripped apart.
An ordinance drafted by Kshama Sawant and Matt Remle for city divestment from Wells Fargo has passed the city council. What is your opinion of the ordinance and what are other ways we can support indigenous resistance to fossil fuels in our area?
Grant: We were very vocal in supporting the divestment ordinance proposal by Kshama Sawant and I think it says a lot to see how much that ordinance was delayed by some other members on the city council. I think that the way we demonstrate that solidarity is not by tapping the brakes when we need to show that solidarity. We should have had that ordinance passed a long time ago and broken our relationship with Wells Fargo off far sooner. Now that weʼve done that, we need to go a step further. The city currently has itʼs pension fund invested in the fossil fuel industry, I think that the next step we take to show solidarity with indigenous rights movements is to fully divest. Not just from Wells Fargo, but divest our pension fund also, from the oil industry. If we can do that, I think it will send a very strong message and be a progressive example for other cities across the country. The more Seattle sets the progressive agenda for the rest of the country, the more we can continue to lead.
Secrest: Put your money where your mouth is, is the short answer. Iʼm really excited about the new ordinance. Thatʼs a huge way to make a statement. We know from the civil rights movement when African Americans stopped putting their money in public transportation or spending their money deliberately, the message that it sent. Itʼs one thing to say I stand with NoDAPL and write a beautiful memo sharing that, thatʼs one thing. But if youʼre really going to walk it like you talk it, you need to send a clear message saying we want everyone to divest. Solidarity is more than just a statement of kind words. Thereʼs nothing that can get better attention than with your dollar and how itʼs spent or in this case how itʼs not spent.
Mosqueda: Iʼm proud of our city for divesting. We have tools in our tool belt that we must deploy sometimes to make a financial statement and take a political stand to stand in opposition to something that fundamentally goes counter to our values. I support the divestment that the city council voted for and I think we must continue to stand up and call out that an injury to one is an injury to all and that we all have a responsibility to stand up and resist any attacks on our communities, including indigenous communities, communities of color, immigrants and refugees, women and our health, we will stand up, and stand strong. If there is a corporation that is capitalizing on injuring or insulting any of our communities, no matter if itʼs not in our state, weʼre going to stand up and take responsibility so that our money, our public dollar, has a higher value on it, and weʼre not going to invest in these corporations who are turning their back on our communities.
Alex Garland is a Beacon Hill based photojournalist and the founder of the Dignity Virus. He can be followed on Twitter @AGarlandPhoto
Featured image is courtesy of Seattle.gov