PHOTOS: Valentine’s Day Rally Loves the Youth and Hates the Jail

photos by Naomi Ishisaka, report by Emerald Staff

Standing under a banner that read “Love the youth, hate the jail,” activists called for continued resistance to King County’s existing youth criminal justice strategies, including the construction of a new youth jail at 12th Avenue and Alder Street.

Activist Nikkita Oliver highlighted the county’s proposal of $2.7 million in additional funding to end youth detention while also requesting $23 million more to invest in the new justice center, a move she described as funding the wrong end of the school-to-prison pipeline.

While standing at the jail, the protest focused on the larger issues of the school-to-prison pipeline, including how schools, police, courts, and jails work in consort to disproportionately target youth of color.

“We actually have to transform what justice looks like and how we do justice,” Oliver said.

Burien activist Roxanna Garcia noted that the jail costs a total of $230 million and questioned what the world would look like if that money went elsewhere.

“I’m going to let you use your radical imaginations to envision that world,” she said.

Participants in the rally decorated paper hearts, Valentines that would be delivered to King County judges that day.

Community members met underneath a banner that read “Love the youth, hate the jail” at a rally at 12th and Alder Feb. 14. (Photo: Naomi Ishisaka)
Federal Way City Councilmember Jesse Johnson discusses youth justice reform at the rally Feb. 14. (Photo: Naomi Ishisaka)
Participants in the rally wrote Valentine’s Day cards to King County Judges at the rally Feb. 14. (Photo: Naomi Ishisaka)
Jerrell Davis speaks at a Valentine’s Day Rally under a banner that reads “Love the youth, hate the jail.”
The rally featured speakers and a number of visually creative ways for people to express their views on the Youth Jail and the youth justice system. (Photo: Naomi Ishisaka)
Nikkita Oliver speaks at the Feb. 14 rally on the Youth Jail and justice reform. (Photo: Naomi Ishisaka)