NEWS GLEAMS | CAIR-WA Lawsuit Against Alaska Airlines, Reproductive Rights Legislation Signed Into Law

A round-up of news and announcements we don’t want to get lost in the fast-churning news cycle!

curated by Vee Hua 華婷婷

🖋️Letter From the Editor🖋️

CAIR Washington has filed a lawsuit against Alaska Airlines alleging discrimination against two Black male Muslim passengers from Sudan. Meanwhile, in ongoing attempts to pass reproductive rights legislation in the aftermath of the overturning of Roe v. Wade, Mayor Bruce Harrell signed into law four bills passed by Seattle City Council; a fifth is in committee.

New Holly residents looking to spend more time in the library will be delighted to hear that its local Seattle Public Library branch will now be reopening on Sundays, plus King County Elections is hiring outreach coordinators for those who are fluent in Russian and Somali!

—Vee Hua 華婷婷, interim managing editor for the South Seattle Emerald

✨Gleaming This Week✨

Photo depicting an Alaska Airlines plane taking off into an evening sky.
An Alaska Airlines jet flying over Federal Way, Washington, having departed Sea-Tac Airport. Photo is attributed to Ron Clausen (under a Creative Commons, CC0 1.0 license).

CAIR-WA Filed a Lawsuit Against Alaska Airlines for ‘Flying While Muslim’

by Nura Ahmed

On Aug. 8, 2022, CAIR Washington, a chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, along with the CAIR National Legal Defense Fund filed a lawsuit against Alaska Airlines. The suit alleges discrimination against two Black male passengers — both bearded, Sudanese, and Muslim — based on a discredited complaint of a fellow passenger.

“Abobakkr was texting in Arabic with a friend who was not on the flight. Another passenger, who did not speak or read Arabic, was snooping as Abobakkr texted. Seeing the Arabic language made this passenger upset, and they complained to Alaska Airlines personnel,” writes CAIR-WA’s press release. In response, CAIR-WA asserts that Alaska Airlines removed them from the flight, “subjecting the men to additional security measures after having already reviewed Abobakkr’s phone and confirm[ing] to police that the text messages were innocuous and that the men posed no threat, and explicitly prohibiting them from traveling together on re-booked later flights.”

The case that CAIR-WA filed requests that Alaska Airlines pay for damages and demands a jury trial, claiming federal and state violations of the two passengers’ civil rights. To prevent similar situations from happening again, CAIR-WA also asks for an injunction to order Alaska Airlines to provide cultural and racial sensitivity training for their employees, as well as establish culturally sensitive protocols and procedures in handling passenger complaints.

Mayor Bruce Harrell signs legislation supporting reproductive rights in Seattle. (Video: Seattle Channel)

Mayor Signs Bills Passed by Council to Protect Reproductive Rights

On Aug. 15, Mayor Bruce Harrell signed four bills into law, all passed by the Council, to safeguard reproductive rights for people in Seattle, both residents and visitors. The following bills were signed into law: 

  • CB 120374 adds people who have received or are seeking abortions as a protected class, ensuring their civil rights protections. (Sponsors: Herbold, Morales, Strauss)
  • CB 120376 creates a misdemeanor charge for people who encroach on individuals seeking abortions or gender-affirming care. (Sponsors: Herbold, Morales, Strauss)
  • CB 120375 establishes Seattle as a sanctuary city for those seeking abortion care and prevents pursuit of out-of-state warrants related to abortions by Seattle Police. (Sponsor: Sawant)
  • CB 120366 appropriates $250,000 of City funds to fund expanded access to reproductive health care by making an investment in Northwest Abortion Access Fund. (Sponsor: Mosqueda)

Visit the Seattle City Council’s website to track the status of related legislation and find other reproductive health resources. Also in committee right now is CB 120399, sponsored by Councilmembers Tammy Morales and Lisa Herbold, which prohibits false and misleading advertising by limited services pregnancy centers, also known as crisis pregnancy centers.

Photo depicting the interior of SPL's NewHolly Branch.
NewHolly Branch of The Seattle Public Library. Photo courtesy of SPL.

NewHolly Branch of Seattle Public Library Adds Sunday Hours

The NewHolly Branch of The Seattle Public Library will expand open hours by opening on Sundays from noon to 5 p.m., beginning Sunday, Aug. 21. This change restores Sunday hours at the branch after the Library implemented a temporary reduction of summer hours at some branches. The Library plans to restore hours to more locations this fall. The new schedule for the branch will be as follows:

  • Monday and Tuesdays: 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Wednesdays and Thursdays: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Fridays and Saturdays: Closed
  • Sundays: Noon to 5 p.m.

For a list of locations and current open hours, visit SPL’s Hours & Locations webpage. For daily service updates, including alerts about unexpected closures or delayed openings, visit SPL’s Daily Schedule Update webpage.

Image depicting white speech bubbles with green text that reads, "Vote!" in various different languages. The King County Elections logo sits at the bottom righthand corner.
Image courtesy of King County Elections.

King County Elections Hires for Outreach Coordinators With Russian and Somali Language Skills

King County Elections is looking to hire two full-time language access and outreach coordinators. These positions will make Elections more accessible to Russian- and Somali-speaking communities through translation of voter material, voter education, and community engagement. They will join a collaborative language access team which serves Chinese, Korean, Spanish, and Vietnamese speaking communities; because serving these languages is new for King County Elections, hired employees will get the chance to create processes that will work best for their communities.

Visit the King County Careers website to apply.

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