Tag Archives: Councilmember Girmay Zahilay

Forum To Address Air and Noise Pollution in Beacon Hill, South King County

by Chetanya Robinson


Community advocates are fighting on multiple fronts to diminish the harms caused by air and noise pollution in Beacon Hill and South King County.

An upcoming online forum from 1:30 – 4:30 p.m. Saturday, April 10, Earth Day Aviation & Health Zoom Rally, will give those interested a chance to learn about how local politicians are addressing the problem.

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Councilmember Zahilay’s Workshop Encourages BIPOC Youth to Run for Office

by Chamidae Ford


On Feb. 20, Girmay Zahilay, the King County Councilmember for District 2, hosted the first installment of his new online series: Build the Bench. The monthly workshop is focused on providing a space for marginalized and underrepresented students and supporting them in eventually running for political office. 

“We will show you the roadmap for getting from where you are today to pursuing a career in policy or politics,” Zahilay said. 

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Black History Today: Girmay Zahilay, a Dream Manifested

by Marcus Harden

(Black History Today is published in collaboration with Rise up for Students.)


“One voice can change a room, and if one voice can change a room, then it can change a city, and if it can change a city, it can change a state, and if it change a state, it can change a nation, and if it can change a nation, it can change the world. Your voice can change the world.”

—Barack Obama 

As I’ve grown older, I’ve become more and more fascinated by the African Diaspora and the connection to the African American experience. I’ve especially been fascinated with learning more about the countries in Africa such as Ethiopia, as it stands as one of the only countries to not be colonized by European “settlers.” It’s begged the question: What lay in the culture of those people? What portions of that culture permeate from generation to generation and how do they show up today?

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Chris Franco, Veteran and County Office of Equity & Social Justice Leader, Is Running for King County Council

by Chetanya Robinson


While he was in Afghanistan as an executive officer during the Obama-era “surge,” Chris Franco’s life gave him a shove that would eventually inspire him to work in public service for the King County government and, in January this year, to run for a seat on the Metropolitan King County Council in Position 9 as a first-time candidate.

“Unfortunately I had a very toxic and self-serving leader that was responsible for helping us out and getting us what we needed during our deployment,” Franco recalled in an interview with the South Seattle Emerald. This leader, Franco said, withheld engineering support for barriers to protect people from attacks. “Unfortunately because of that negligence, one of our interpreters was killed.” 

Franco’s disdain for the poor leadership he experienced in Afghanistan grew over the years. “That was a wakeup call to what happens when you have leaders who don’t give a damn, that are vindictive or complacent or just apathetic,” he said.

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Rainier Beach Eyes Multifaceted Solutions to Ending Violence in the Safeway Parking Lot

by Ari Robin McKenna


After a late-January in which three, high-volume shooting incidents in or near the Rainier Beach Safeway parking lot left almost 100 bullet casings scattered about — and fortunately no one injured or killed — there appears to be a broader sense of community purpose around preventing further gun violence. 

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No Records Exist of the Review Board Interviews Conducted With the Deputies Involved in Tommy Le’s Shooting

by Carolyn Bick


When they read the OIR Group report commissioned by King County’s Office of Law Enforcement Oversight that looked into how the King County Sheriff’s Office handled the investigation into Tommy Le’s death, the Le family was surprised to read how much appeared to be working in favor of the sheriff’s department and the involved deputies, Tommy Le’s aunt Uyen Le said.

“When we received the report and the findings, it’s very obvious to us — I feel like it’s common sense that a lot of these things should be in place … but they obviously were not. And it just didn’t create a fair and just situation for Tommy. I think everything seemed to be working more in the favor of the sheriff’s department,” Uyen Le told the Emerald in an interview, referencing the report’s recommendations based on its findings.

The findings — compiled into a comprehensive, 42-page-long report that was released in early September — appeared to have a similar effect on at least one King County lawmaker, when report authors Michael Gennaco and Stephen Connolly presented it at the Sept. 2 meeting of the King County Council’s Law and Justice Committee. Upon learning of the findings, Committee Chair and District 2 Councilmember Girmay Zahilay — himself an attorney — said the way in which the King County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) handled the investigation into Tommy Le’s shooting would appear to be “a clear obstruction of justice.”

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