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 digital book recommendations to help readers get through the pandemic shutdown. While there may be more opportunities to get out and about now, many of us continue to spend time at home and could still use some great reading material to consume during the reopening process. Continue reading Stay-at-Home, Read-at-Home With KCLS: Black Lives Matter→
A man had been murdered by the police. A heartbreaking video of the killing had made it to the internet. Thousands watched as a policeman kneeled on George Floyd’s neck, while Mr. Floyd begged for his life in vain.
Like protesters across the country, Seattle took a stand against police brutality only to experience more police brutality firsthand. Even non-protesters were harmed by the Seattle Police Department’s (SPD) negligence. On Capitol Hill, tear gas entered people’s homes and businesses, and the police did not care.
SPD voluntarily abandoned Capitol Hill’s East Precinct, and the neighborhood tone changed to one of collaboration. In a city physically divided by wealth and class, people came together around a common goal: ending police violence against the Black community.
A few days ago, while walking home from the “CHOP” (also known as the Capitol Hill Organized Protest) I stopped to talk to a neighbor, who in turn introduced me to her Boomer-age mom, who was visiting Seattle from a rural area of Washington State.
“You all gardening?” I asked, sucking air through the thick fabric of my face mask. “Actually … we just got back from the … CHOP. My mom wanted to see it,” my neighbor answered with the halting uncertainty many Seattleites use to describe this anarchic organism of a protest that has drawn fire — literally and figuratively — from everywhere.
I turned to the White, gray-haired woman in her plum-colored fleece and Costco sneakers — looking all the world like the star of the next “Karen” video on Twitter. I braced myself for what I assumed would be her pinched disdain for the grime, the chaos — the unfocused, raw wildness of these four blocks that just a few months ago symbolized ground zero for a gentrifying “new Seattle.” A neighborhood where million-dollar condos and cavernous breweries battled it out with the “old Seattle” of non-profit art spaces, low-lit gay bars, and church-basement AA meetings.
I was glad the lower half of my face was covered when I asked her politely, “What did you think of it?”
When Elijah L. Lewis was born in Skyway Park two decades ago, he carried his mother’s grief over his father’s death inside himself.
“My father had been walking my little sister down the stairs when he had collapsed. At the time, we did not have a phone, because of the inequities we were suffering because of the poverty mindset … and the reality that we have to face,” Lewis said, describing how difficult it was for his family to summon medical aid. “My six-year-old [sibling], my nine-year-old sister, and my 10-year-old brother and mother, witnessed my father, who was a Black man, turn purple and die in front of their face. … We did not have any financial stability left when he passed, so we had to struggle.”
There’s reason for thousands of LGBTQIA and ally communities dancing in the street, but everything is different in the age of COVID-19, and protests in support of Black Lives Matter and an end to police brutality. Like elsewhere, Seattle Pride activities this month are largely virtual. This is a community that understands only too well how the ravages of a disease can destroy it.
(This article was originally published by Real Change News and has been reprinted with permission.)
Three years ago, two Seattle police officers arrived at the home of Charleena Lyles, a 30-year-old pregnant mother of four. Lyles had called them — she was afraid that there was a burglary in progress at her housing complex in Sand Point.
The Seattle Police Department would later report that Lyles — a 100-pound woman, potentially experiencing a mental health crisis — was armed with a knife. Both officers shot, killing her in front of three of her children.
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.
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.
The Emerald rounded up local Juneteenth events so you and yours can easily find ways to participate both in person and virtually in celebrations, marches, live streams, talks, activities for children, and more!
“We’re blacking out CHOP … the viral death of black bodies was the catalyst for this current movement and we need to make sure we remain focused. This means both policy and systemic change to our systems and healing space for black people.
“So that’s exactly what we’re creating. A series of events in which we center black healing and community.
“What we need from our non-black allies are donations of money and supplies and the willingness to support by quietly protecting sacred space for black healing. We need allies on the outskirts who are willing to be a physical barrier of protection and to peacefully deter potential interruptions.” Read full schedule of events in Facebook event details.
Donations of supplies, funds, and volunteer bodies on the ground at the event are requested from the organizers. Read event details for more on this and donate funds here.
Time: 8 a.m.–8 p.m. Where: CHOP — 1635 11th Ave (Cal Anderson Park) Cost: Free to attend