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.
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 she’s 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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