by NaKeesa Frazier-Jennings
Early on the morning of Monday, May 25, my husband and I got out of bed while the sky was still dark and drove to the beach. We are both fans of a good day trip, but due to the recent recommendations for the people in our state to stay in and stay safe from the coronavirus, we had not taken one in quite a while. My favorite form of exercise is walking, and I prefer to do it outside while enjoying fresh air and the many beautiful sights to see and experience throughout the area that I call home: the Pacific Northwest. I have countless pictures of the beautiful scenery and look at them repeatedly because they bring me so much joy. However, with so many parks and trails being closed as of late, exercising for the most part has had to be done inside of my house. So, sensing that I needed an outing of some kind, my husband asked: “Do you want to get up at 2 a.m. one day during the Memorial Day weekend and drive to the beach to watch the sunrise?” He was not even finished with his sentence before I yelled out a resounding “Yes!”
Continue reading The Never-Ending Resilience Required to Be Black in America
by Ari Robin McKenna
This is the second in a series of articles featuring the words of local ethnic studies educators who are doing work to address systemic racism in our classrooms. To read the first, click here. To read the series intro, click here.
When Bruce Jackson was a child, his household was swept up into a greater story that still reverberates across the world today. His uncle, Zayd, was killed defending writer and civil rights activist Assata Shakur during a confrontation with police on the New Jersey Turnpike. A documentary about Shakur’s life ends with the following words regarding her chosen surname:
“It is a name that I took to carry on the name of Zayd Malik Shakur in honor of his family, and in honor of the forces of beauty and good on this earth which I’m grateful for. That is my name.”
Continue reading Ethnic Studies Educator Bruce Jackson and the Beautiful American Story Never Told
by Roy Fisher
I am a cop’s kid. My father was the first African American to retire from the Washington State Patrol. Knowing what my father had to endure to reach that milestone, it is with a sense of pride that I write those words. Twenty-five years, I can only imagine what he went through. My father started a Black Law Enforcement group to support the many African Americans to wear the badge. I grew up with a profound love and respect for officers. My godfather, also a police officer, was shot during what he thought would be a routine traffic stop. The story goes that if the gun had been a larger caliber or he had been a little closer he would have died. While my father was never shot, he did total his patrol car during a chase. I have an intimate understanding of the risks associated with being a police officer.
Continue reading Reflections From a Cop’s Kid
by Racial Equity Education
A cultural revolution is happening in Seattle and around the country as we experience a collective awakening of individuals and institutions to the damages caused by centuries of White supremacy and systemic racism. It is becoming more apparent that K–12 schools continue to contribute to racial injustice, even in some of the most progressive districts.
Seattle Public Schools, despite passing a resolution in 2017, has yet to mandate, implement, and fully fund ethnic studies curriculum districtwide. While the Seattle district office claims to be committed to centering youth voices and serving students furthest from educational justice, they continue to merely pay lip service to the demands that have been clearly voiced by Garfield students for years. Yet the district’s recent decision to remove Tracy Castro-Gill as Head of Ethnic Studies for Seattle Public Schools has set back years of work by discrediting their own Ethnic Studies program and the many dedicated educators who have built it.
Continue reading OPINION: Racial Equity Education Launches National Crowd-Sourced Public Education Campaign
by Reagan Jackson
Let me preface this with one important point of clarity: Mary and I don’t owe anyone an explanation about what we chose to do. We are accountable solely to and for our community and to the call for Black healing to which we are responding. However, as a commitment to my greater calling as a healer, I have decided I will gift you with the additional emotional labor required to provide folks with more context. This is so people can educate themselves about the necessity of Black healing spaces and possibly expand their understanding of this work and our framing of it. You’re welcome.
On Monday, June 15, 2020, Mary Williams posted an Open Letter to the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP) on Facebook. In it she expressed her longing to take what started out as a powerful protest in services of defunding SPD and protecting Black lives — and has since devolved into a tent city encampment co-located with a quasi-political street fair — and make it a space of healing for Black folks.
Continue reading The Tea on Our Juneteenth Black Out and the Necessity of Black Healing Spaces
by Jasmine M. Pulido
I should be out there.
But I can’t.
When I read about protests in the 1960s in my history class, I always imagined that I would’ve been out there if I had been alive then. My values were clear, and I would fight for them alongside my peers. Chained to something, chanting loudly or getting arrested. No hesitation, no question, no fear.
I didn’t think that there would be a moment 60 years later, when we would need to fight for these same rights. Again. Nor did I think it would happen in the middle of a pandemic with two young kids and an immunocompromised husband. As a result, we’ve been in pretty intense quarantine and will continue to be until the end of Phase 4.
Continue reading Know Your Role
by Marilyn Watkins
As tax revenues fall with people out of work and whole industries shuttered, Washington’s state and local governments are laying off staff, reducing pay, and slashing services that are helping people weather the COVID storm. Cutting important services now will cause immediate suffering, prolong the recession, and deepen racial and economic inequity.
We need our state legislators and other elected officials to have the courage to raise new taxes on wealthy individuals and corporations, then reinvest that money in health care, secure housing, child care, educational opportunity, and income support for people and small businesses who are struggling for survival.
Continue reading Washington Can’t Afford Austerity
by Bri Little
In this moment of uprising, people are eager to learn about the history of anti-Black violence, particularly in the United States. Many essential reading lists highlight academic and sociological texts as a means of understanding the lives of Black people. Those books are important, absolutely, but to acknowledge Black people as fully human and not merely a cause to fight for, antiracist accomplices should read from the full spectrum of our diasporic experiences. Black stories in themselves are a tool for becoming less racist, as they prove we are not a monolith. Here is a list of books from all genres that illuminates both the history of White violence against Black people and our continued tradition of knowing our worth and celebrating ourselves despite it.
Continue reading Black Stories Matter Too: Five Books to Bolster Your Understanding of Blackness in America
by Pastor Gail Song Bantum
Like so many children of immigrants, like so many spouses with Black partners, like so many parents with Black/mixed children, I have seen throughout my life the ways White supremacy is upheld to keep me, my family, and my community from thriving. As a child, I was the support system to my parents that the government failed to be.
Continue reading OPINION: Gov. Jay Inslee — Enact Antiracist Policies Against Police Brutality, Xenophobia, and Displacement
by Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County
Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County (BLMSKC) today announced the launch of the Black-Led Community Investment Fund with nearly a quarter-million dollars in grants to seven organizations. Additionally, it endorsed a slate of demands made by the King County Equity Now Coalition for re-purposing underused public lands. Continue reading Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County Launches Black-Led Community Investment Fund, Endorses King County Equity Now Coalition Demands