Ashley Paynter, @Decolonizingsci, helps lead a march through downtown Seattle following the #BreatheforKaloni rally on Saturday, July 24, 2021, at Westlake Park.

PHOTO ESSAY: Family and Community Remember 12-Year-Old Kaloni Bolton, Demand Justice

by Susan Fried & Emerald Staff


Around 100 people turned out for a rally, march, and vigil for Kaloni Bolton on Saturday at Westlake Park. The 12-year-old died after suffering an asthma attack at Valley Medical Center (VMC) Urgent Care in December and being forced to wait an extended period of time after being turned away from the first clinic before receiving treatment. Bolton went into cardiac arrest and passed away after two days on life support. Bolton’s family alleges her death was due to anti-Blackness, medical racism, and negligence.

Since Bolton’s passing, there have been consistent community demands for justice. Black Nurses Matter held a Renton march in Bolton‘s honor this spring. This past Saturday, July 24, the Westlake Black Health Equity Rally was hosted by The Breathe for Kaloni Foundation and Decolonizing Science, a podcast run by Ashley Paynter, a Black scientist currently obtaining their Ph.D. in the field of biological sciences. It was attended by many members of Bolton’s large extended family with one message: #BreatheForKaloni. Speakers included her cousin Zipporah White, her mother Kristina Williams’ attorney James Bible, and Claude Burfect, a vice president of the Seattle- King County Branch of the NAACP. After a rally, protestors marched through downtown Seattle to Capitol Hill. The march was followed by a vigil for Bolton back at Westlake Park.

To learn more, listen to Bolton’s family tell her story on podcast Episode #6 of Decolonizing Science and follow @breatheforkaloni on Instagram.

Ashley Paynter, @Decolonizingsci, comforts Kaloni Bolton’s mother Kristina Williams while attorney James Bible, who represents Williams, talks about what happened to Kaloni and why the family wants accountability during the #BreatheforKaloni rally
Ashley Paynter, @Decolonizingsci, comforts Kaloni Bolton’s mother Kristina Williams while attorney James Bible, who represents Williams, talks about what happened to Kaloni and why the family wants accountability during the #BreatheforKaloni rally on Saturday, July 24, 2021, at Westlake Park. (Photo: Susan Fried)
Individuals sit and listen to speakers beside a purple sign that reads in white text "Justice for Kaloni Bolton" at the #BreatheforKaloni rally.
Around 100 people gathered at Westlake Park on Saturday, July 24, 2021, for the #BreatheforKaloni rally in honor of Kaloni Bolton, a 12-year-old girl who died of medical negligence after experiencing an asthma attack. (Photo: Susan Fried)
Zipporah, Kaloni’s cousin, talks about losing Bolton, how it has affected the family, and how they want to understand why this happened to a 12-year-old child, during the #BreatheforKaloni rally
Zipporah White, Kaloni’s cousin, talks about losing Bolton, how it has affected the family, and how they want to understand why this happened to a 12-year-old child, during the #BreatheforKaloni rally Saturday, July 24, 2021, at Westlake Park. The rally was followed by a march and vigil. (Photo: Susan Fried)
A family member cries during the #Breathe for Kaloni rally on Saturday, July 24, 2021, at Westlake Park.
Thomas Brown, Kaloni’s brother, cries during the #BreatheforKaloni rally on Saturday, July 24, 2021, at Westlake Park. The rally was followed by a march and vigil. (Photo: Susan Fried)
Claude Burfect, a vice president of the Seattle-King County Branch of the NAACP, speaks during the #BreatheforKaloni rally on Saturday, July 24, 2021, at Westlake Park.
Claude Burfect (right), a vice president of the Seattle-King County Branch of the NAACP, and Ashley Paynter (left) with Decolonizing Science speak during the #BreatheforKaloni rally on Saturday, July 24, 2021, at Westlake Park. The rally was followed by a march and vigil. (Photo: Susan Fried)
Around a 100 people gathered at Westlake Park on Saturday, July 24, 2021, for the #BreatheforKaloni rally
Around a 100 people gathered at Westlake Park on Saturday, July 24, 2021, for the #BreatheforKaloni rally in honor of Kaloni Bolton, a 12-year-old girl who died of medical negligence after experiencing an asthma attack. (Photo: Susan Fried)
Two of Kaloni Bolton’s younger family members get ready to march
Amia and Neimea, Kaloni Bolton’s nieces, get ready to march on Saturday, July 24, 2021. About 100 people gathered at Westlake Park for the #BreatheforKaloni rally in honor of Kaloni Bolton, a 12-year-old girl who died because of medical negligence. (Photo: Susan Fried)
A crowd led by Kaloni Bolton’s extended family marches through downtown Seattle following the #BreatheforKaloni rally Saturday, July 24, 2021, at Westlake Park.
A crowd led by Kaloni Bolton’s extended family marches through downtown Seattle following the #BreatheforKaloni rally Saturday, July 24, 2021, at Westlake Park. The rally and march were followed by a vigil. (Photo: Susan Fried)
Photo of a male-presenting individual holding up a pink sign that reads in purple text "Breathe for Kaloni."
Rayvaughn Bolton, Kaloni’s brother, holds up a sign that reads, “Breathe for Kaloni.” About 100 people marched from Westlake Park to Capitol Hill after the #BreatheforKaloni rally on Saturday, July 24, 2021, at Westlake Park. The rally was followed by a vigil back at Westlake. (Photo: Susan Fried)
A member of Kaloni Bolton’s family listens to a speaker during the #BreatheforKaloni rally on Saturday, July 24, 2021, at Westlake Park.
Victoria Williams, Kaloni’s sister, listens to a speaker during the #BreatheforKaloni rally on Saturday, July 24, 2021, at Westlake Park. The rally was followed by a march and vigil. (Photo: Susan Fried)
A female-presenting individual plays the saxophone as they march at the #BreatheforKaloni rally.
About 100 people marched from Westlake Park to Capitol Hill after the #BreatheforKaloni rally on Saturday, July 24, 2021, at Westlake Park. The rally was followed by a vigil back at Westlake. (Photo: Susan Fried)
Kaloni Bolton’s father, Kevin Bolton, wears a hat emblazoned with his daughter’s name.
Kaloni Bolton’s father, Kevin Bolton, wears a hat emblazoned with his daughter’s name during the #BreatheforKaloni rally Saturday, July 24, 2021, at Westlake Park. The rally was followed by a march and vigil. (Photo: Susan Fried)

Editors’ Note: A previous version of this article stated that Kaloni Bolton “died after suffering an asthma attack at Valley Medical Center (VMC) Urgent Care in January and being forced to wait 30 minutes before receiving treatment” and did not include the names of many family members who attended the rally as well as the organizations who hosted it. This article was updated on 08/27/2021 to clarify that Kaloni Bolton “died after suffering an asthma attack at Valley Medical Center (VMC) Urgent Care in December and being forced to wait an extended period of time after being turned away from the first clinic before receiving treatment” and to include the names of the organizations who hosted the rally, The Breathe for Kaloni Foundation and Decolonizing Science, and Kaloni’s family members Zipporah White, Thomas Brown, Rayvaughn Bolton, and Victoria Williams.


Susan Fried is a 40-year veteran photographer. Her early career included weddings, portraits, commercial work — plus shes been The Skanner’s Seattle photographer for 25 years. Her images have appeared in the University of Washington Daily, the Seattle Globalist, Crosscut, and many more. She’s been an Emerald contributor since 2015. Follow her on Instagram @fried.susan.

📸 Featured Image: Ashley Paynter, @Decolonizingsci, helps lead a march through downtown Seattle following the #BreatheforKaloni rally on Saturday, July 24, 2021, at Westlake Park. The rally and march were followed by a vigil. (Photo: Susan Fried)

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