We asked two community members to weigh in on Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best announcing her retirement from SPD. Their two viewpoints follow.
by George Griffin III
Carmen Best is a friend. Good people. Classy, strong. She deserved better.
After everyone gets through scapegoating the Seattle City Council and Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests for her resignation, maybe we should take a good hard look at Seattle’s years of inactivity when People of Color and other people said the department needed some serious reform and restructuring. This lack of attention to the concerns of People of Color and allies contributed to the Seattle Police Department ultimately being placed under the current consent decree after an investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in 2012. Do we need to be reminded how, when Best was interim chief in 2018, she was disrespected and passed over by the current mayor in the initial interview process and how she only got the job after communities of color and allies spoke up? Many prominent people were quiet at that time because they didn’t want to criticize their friend, the new mayor.
Continue reading OPINION: The Importance of Nuance in Confronting Racism
by Erin Okuno
With COVID-19 surging, a recession, unemployment in King County at 14%, and the renewed call for justice and equity for BIPOC lives, it’s an important year to pay attention to local as well as national elections. While the country is focused on the November presidential election, Washingtonians would do well to focus on some very consequential local elections coming much sooner.
Washington State’s 2020 primary election is on August 4. Citizens should focus their efforts on exercising the power of the ballot locally and vote in the primary. Those who are not able to vote can still participate in voter education, support candidates, and help get out the vote.
Continue reading OPINION: Vote for Kids August 4
by Mark Van Streefkerk
On July 6, a POC-led group of over 50 community members published An Open Letter to Artist Trust, a nonprofit arts organization that provides funding and resources for artists in Washington. Each year, Artist Trust offers annual Fellowship Awards of $10,000 to eight artists, and two $25,000 Artist Innovator Awards, but this year the longstanding organization abruptly cancelled the Fellowship Awards without any community consultation. The cancellation included a unilateral dismissal of a majority Women of Color jury panel and rejection of that panel’s selected award nominees. The open letter demands accountability for these actions and calls to center Black and Indigenous leaders and artists within the mostly white Artist Trust leadership. Those in agreement with the letter’s demands are able to endorse it by electronically signing their name or the name of the organization they represent. Since the open letter was published, half a dozen women have also come forward calling out the sexism, vulgarity, and rape culture perpetuated by Program Director Brian McGuigan, behavior they say is ignored and protected at Artist Trust.
Continue reading Artist Distrust: Open Letter to Artist Trust Demands Accountability for Sudden Dismissal of Majority POC Jury