Vigil for Dolal Idd in Tukwila Shows Solidarity for Somali-Muslim Community and Demands Change

by Elizabeth Turnbull

Over a week after Dolal Idd was fatally shot by police in Minneapolis, roughly 150 people gathered in front of the Tukwila Library on Sunday, Jan. 10, to honor the Somali American man’s life and to call for systemic change. 

Many speakers mourned the loss of another Black life and spoke to the need for nationwide action on policing. Shukri Olow, a candidate for King County Council District 5, which encompasses some of South Seattle, spoke as a member of the Somali-Muslim community and as a mother herself.

“When I heard about what happened to Dolal, I couldn’t help but feel the pain of his mother, who ran away from the civil war to find a safe environment for her children,” Olow said. “I want you to think about fleeing a conflict … coming to safe shores only to have your child killed by a system that you do not understand, a system that does not see our humanity.”

Candidate for King County Council District 5 Shukri Olow speaks at the rally for Dolal Idd outside the Tukwila Library. (Photo: Chloe Collyer)

Organized by Youth Voices for Justice — a group created in the spring of 2020 and made up of young activists and young people from the Tukwila area — the vigil was planned after Dolal Idd was shot by Minneapolis police less than a mile away from where George Floyd was murdered by police in the spring of 2020.

Idd was shot and killed on Dec. 30 by police after law enforcement blocked his car into a parking lot as part of an attempted gun sting. In 2019, Idd was convicted of illegally possessing and firing a gun. In 2018, he had fired a weapon in his parent’s basement shower with two children sleeping nearby, according to reporting from The Star Tribune

From body camera footage released from the night Idd was fatally shot, it is difficult to see if Idd fired at law enforcement before being shot by police multiple times. However, the Minneapolis Police Department’s account maintains that Idd fired first.

After police fatally shot Idd, Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension agents went to Idd’s parent’s house the same night, handcuffed Idd’s parents with plastic ties in the presence of children, and searched their home. Ultimately, law enforcement found no firearms in the house, and the family was only informed that their son had been killed after the search.

Imam Abdullahi Jaranow leads a midday (Asr) prayer outside the Tukwilia Library before a rally for Dolal Idd. (Photo: Chloe Collyer)

As part of Sunday’s vigil in Tukwila, attendees used chalk, among other things, to protest Idd’s death, writing “Justice for Dolal,” “Protect Black criminals,” and “Protect Black men,” on the pavement in front of the Tukwila library. 

Organizers of the event emphasized solidarity with members of Somali and Muslim American communities, both of which Idd came from, as well as protecting community members locally.

Before the march/rally began, attendees held a Muslim prayer. (Photo: Maile Anderson)

“This rally is just for us Tukwila community coming together,” one youth activist organizer, who preferred to remain anonymous, told the Emerald. “I grew up in this neighborhood, and I care about this neighborhood, and I don’t want this stuff to happen here.”

At the Tukwila Justice Center, photos of other young individuals who have died by the police were laid out. Flowers were also put on a concrete wall. (Photo: Maile Anderson)

At 3:30 p.m. the group of roughly 150 attendees marched to the Tukwila Justice Center on South 144th Street, chanting, “No Justice! No Peace! Prosecute the Police!” and waving signs reading, “Is it a crime to be a Black Muslim in the U.S.?” and “Why do white people get a chance to breathe and we can’t?”

Mohamed Abdi (left) and an unnamed protester (right) lead a crowd in a chant outside the new Tukwila Justice Center. (Photo: Chloe Collyer)

Similar to the demands that activists are demanding from the Seattle Police Department, the Youth Voices for Justice group is demanding that the Tukwila Police Department be defunded by at least 50%, that funds be put toward BIPOC communities, and that the Tukwila Justice Center be replaced by a youth center for BIPOC youths. 

“We want our city to invest in the BIPOC communities, we want them to invest in the youth, we want them to invest in a youth center, and we don’t want a justice center,” the youth activist said. “We are here to stay, this is our city, this is our community.” 

Elizabeth Turnbull is a Seattle-based journalist.

Featured Image: A group of women participate in midday (Asr) prayers outside the Tukwila Library before a rally for Dolal Idd. (Photo: Chloe Collyer)

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