Here, you’ll find community announcements, events, and other stuff we don’t want to get lost in the fast-churning news cycle!
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Announcement — 9/24/20: King County District Court Opens Virtual Resource Center
The King County District Court’s Virtual Resource Center (VRC) is operated as part of the court’s community court program and is open to anyone to access via Zoom or telephone. According to the court, the VRC services include access to education, work training, substance abuse treatment, transportation discounts, Public Health / DSHS, and dozens more. The VRC is intended to help community members connect with many of the resources available that were accessible in person prior to the pandemic. More info about the VRC, including how to access it, is available on KingCounty.gov.
Announcement — 9/24/20: Tabor 100 Launches Black Business Equity Fund to Fight “Twin Pandemics” — COVID and Racism
Tabor 100 has an over 20-year history of supporting and advocating for minority-owned businesses. Their Black Business Equity Fund (BBEF) will provide cash grants, training, technical assistance and other support for greater Seattle area Black-owned businesses. Half of the BBEF, they say, “will seed a new cash grant program to support Black-owned businesses during the pandemic” while the other half “will fund training, technical assistance, programming, and build organizational capacity for Tabor 100 and the Tabor Economic Development Hub. The fund, says Tabor 100 in a press release, has launched with just under $2M. Their goal is to raise at least an additional $4.5M over the next three years.
When I was 16 years old, I bought a fake Rolex. I remember the evening clearly: the gas station where I was, the man who approached, and the $50 I gave him in exchange for what I thought was a priceless timepiece. I also remember the shame I felt when I brought it to the jeweler, who, much to their credit, held back a smile as they saw the disappointment on my face when they told me it wasn’t real. I desperately wanted to believe that the watch was real and the story that man told me was true.
Brett Hamil is a writer, cartoonist and performer living on the South End of Seattle. He produces the weekly comedy show Joketellers Union and the political comedy talk show The Seattle Process. The Seattle Weekly (RIP) once called him “the city’s premier political comic.”
Since it first premiered in August, Lovecraft Country has incorporated itself into my sacred Sunday routine. From jump, the Black-centered fantasy horror adventure series has hit the ground, or the cosmos, running. Lovecraft Country is fun, sexy, scary, campy, tragic, terrifying, and wonderful, everything I want fantasy horror to be. To its credit, it manages to show some of the horrors faced by an ancestrally magical and nerdy Black family on the South Side of Chicago, and throughout the East Coast, in Jim Crow Era America. Namely, Atticus “Tic” Freeman (Jonathan Majors), a young veteran returned home from the Korean War to find his father has gone missing and was last seen somewhere around Salem, Massachusetts, and his close friend from high school Leticia “Leti” Lewis (Jurnee Smollett), a light-skinned, adventurous photographer and bohemian, and each of their immediate relatives. Naturally, the types of horror faced by this family are both related to anti-Black racism and racist white magic.
On September 25, two law firms representing protesters who participated in local Black Lives Matter marches and family members of Summer Taylor filed a major lawsuit against the City of Seattle and state of Washington for wrongful death, personal injuries, and civil rights violations. Cedar Law PLLC and Stritmatter Kessler Koehler Moore (SKKM) represent Taylor’s family and 10 protesters, as well as an additional 30–40 protesters once the 60–day waiting period for their claims is up. The suit, more than 100 pages long, alleges the City and State used unconstitutional excessive force, wrongful imprisonment, negligence, and discriminated against citizens based on race and political ideology among other violations.
“It should go without saying, you can’t shoot members of the media in the back,” said SKKM attorney Andrew Ackley. “You cannot choke peaceful protesters. You cannot use blast balls and explosives on people trying to disperse … People who came to protest excessive force were met with excessive force.”
At the beginning of Governor Jay Inslee’s stay-at-home orders to slow the spread of COVID-19, the King County Library System (KCLS) and the South Seattle Emerald teamed up to offer book recommendations to help readers get through the shutdown. While there may be more opportunities to get out and about now, many of us continue to spend more time at home, and could still use some great reading material to consume during the reopening process.
Twenty years ago, the Tacoma City Council unanimously approved the creation of a federal detention center on Tacoma’s tideflats without the slightest objection from community members. What nobody anticipated at the time was that this federal detention center would become a focal point for detention abolitionists and human rights activists across the nation. This facility is now known as the Northwest ICE Processing Center (NWIPC) and it is run by GEO Group, the largest private prison company in the country. Accusations of human rights violations, followed by countless lawsuits, have remained constant since the facility was built.
Women of the Diaspora (WOD) is a new collective working to empower individual and grassroots support of Black and Brown communities. The five women responsible for the formation of this collaborative came together during this summer’s protests in Seattle sparked by the death of George Floyd.
Note: In a Sept 25 story, Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office told The Seattle Times that $100 million for Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities would not come from new revenue and specifically not from a business tax recently passed by the City Council. Durkan’s office later retracted that to the Times, describing the mayor’s budget as too complicated to answer unequivocally whether new revenue would be used for the $100 million.
by Jenny A. Durkan
We are living in unprecedented times: a pandemic, an economic crisis, and a civil rights reckoning ignited by the murder of George Floyd. All have shown the undeniable and devastating impacts that systemic racial inequities have had on Black and Brown communities for generations. The disparities are reflected across all systems, including housing, access to wealth, education, policing, the criminal legal system and health care.
Seattle made national news Monday in a way nobody could have anticipated: A formal memo from U.S. Attorney General William Barr, the nation’s top law enforcement officer, purporting to lay out a legal rationale for withholding federal money from cities whose Black Lives Matter protests have grabbed Donald Trump’s attention — meaning they’ve been covered, luridly, on FOX News. Barr’s memo was a response to a memo early this month from Trump, who first used the “anarchist jurisdiction” terminology then, probably unaware that the phrase itself is an oxymoron. By definition, anarchists don’t have government jurisdictions.
Skyway, an unincorporated community sandwiched between Seattle and Renton, has few representatives. While other areas in King County have “essentially what amounts to lobbyists working for them and their interests,” as King County Councilmember Girmay Zahilay puts it, Skyway has no mayor or city council.