Tag Archives: Defunding Police

Youth Shall Lead: Youth Activists for Systemic Change Livestream Demands Action on Racial Equity

by Mike Davis


The brilliant council members of the Youth Activists for Systemic Change (YASC) organized a livestream event on Sat. January 23 in partnership with Town Hall Seattle to present a panel discussion on their thoughts and demands for creating a better future.

In June, these youth organized the Seattle Children’s March that was inspired by the Birmingham Children’s Crusade March of 1963. The members of YASC hosted a rally at Garfield Community Center, before leading a crowd of about 3,000 people on a march through the Central District. I, along with my daughter, attended that march and rally, and I remember being impressed by the passion and creativity of these youth who not only verbalized their demands, but performed music, dance, and poetry for the large crowd that included many youth like my daughter — who was inspired by these young activists.

Continue reading Youth Shall Lead: Youth Activists for Systemic Change Livestream Demands Action on Racial Equity

Q&A: Mayoral Candidate Andrew Grant Houston Shares His Vision for Seattle, Starting With Housing and Climate Justice

by Mark Van Streefkerk


Andrew Grant Houston, AIA, Founder and Design Head of House Cosmopolitan and Board Member of Futurewise, officially announced his run for Mayor on Jan. 12, and he is clear about the cornerstone of his campaign: housing. The queer, Black, and Latino architect and small business owner has a vision for meeting the demand for affordable housing in Seattle, and is eager to share just how housing is directly linked to climate justice and defunding the police by 50%. Houston serves as Interim Policy Manager for Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, and is a member of AIA Seattle, Share The Cities, The Pike/Pine Urban Neighborhood Council, The Sunrise Movement, and the 43rd Democrats. He plans on contributing a portion of the campaign funds he receives to mutual aid groups he has worked with over the last year. 

Houston, also known as “Ace,” recently spoke with the  Emerald, telling us about his background, and the immediate actions Seattle needs to take in the next eight years to curb climate change. Check out his website at agh4sea.com.

Continue reading Q&A: Mayoral Candidate Andrew Grant Houston Shares His Vision for Seattle, Starting With Housing and Climate Justice

More Details Emerge About Black Brilliance Project’s Research Plan

by Paul Kiefer

(This article previously appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)


PubliCola has obtained a copy of the King County Equity Now (KCEN) work plan for their public safety research project that’s intended to lay the groundwork for a participatory budgeting process next year. About $30 million of the $1.5 billion general fund budget is supposed to be allocated using participatory budgeting — a process that enables the public to vote on which projects and priorities they want to fund — next year.

The Seattle City Council finalized a $3 million contract with Freedom Project Washington, a nonprofit that offers programs inside and outside prisons to help with reentry and prevent re-incarceration, to fiscally sponsor and oversee KCEN’s research last week. With the contract finalized and the work plan submitted, Freedom Project Washington now has access to the first $1,250,000 of that total. Freedom Project Washington is allowed to subcontract with other groups to conduct parallel research. Currently, though, KCEN is the group’s only subcontractor.

Continue reading More Details Emerge About Black Brilliance Project’s Research Plan

After Council Vote, Solidarity Budget Celebrates Victories but Battle Against SPD’s “Hugely Bloated Budget” Continues

by Jack Russillo


After Seattle City Council voted yesterday on the 2021 City budget, partners in the Solidarity Budget coalition hosted a live Facebook-streamed teach-in event to share perspectives and analyses of the close-to-official City budget. Mayor Jenny Durkan has said she will sign the budget into law next week.

Solidarity Budget is a platform endorsed by more than 200 community organizations who have been calling for a 2021 City budget that is anti-racist, pro-Black, and that works toward a healthy future for all. Among representatives from King County Equity Now (KCEN), Decriminalize Seattle, Transit Riders Union, Got Green, Puget Sound Sage, and other Solidarity-Budget-supporting organizations, political activist Nikkita Oliver helped facilitate the 77 minutes of virtual conversations

Continue reading After Council Vote, Solidarity Budget Celebrates Victories but Battle Against SPD’s “Hugely Bloated Budget” Continues

Celebrations on Capitol Hill and Continued BLM Protests After Election Results

by Elizabeth Turnbull


Dancing, forceful chants, and a plethora of honking cars marked the morning of Saturday, Nov. 7 as Seattleites on Capitol Hill celebrated the start of a new American era following the announcement of a Biden victory and the election of the first Woman of Color as vice president. The monumental day was also an occasion for continued protests for BLM marchers across town. The day’s combination of revelry and activism took a dark turn in the evening, however, with a fatal shooting in the early hours on Sunday.

Continue reading Celebrations on Capitol Hill and Continued BLM Protests After Election Results

Seattle Protests Stand at 150 Days and Counting

by Elizabeth Turnbull 


On Monday night, the cold streets surrounding Westlake Park transformed into an echo chamber of drum beats, footsteps, and chants of “No good cops in a racist system! No bad protesters in a revolution!” as roughly 500 protesters marched to where the protests began in Seattle roughly 150 days before. 

After an anticipatory drumroll, several protesters stood up on the park’s stage and unfurled a banner that read, “You Can’t Stop This Revolution” on one side and “Montgomery Bus Boycott: 381 Days, Seattle BLM Protests: 150 Days” on the other.

Continue reading Seattle Protests Stand at 150 Days and Counting

Council Staff: Mayor’s Proposals Could Promote “Racism Cloaked in the Language of Anti-Racism and Equity”

by Erica C. Barnett 

(This article was originally published by PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.) 


Foreshadowing what will likely be a heated debate over Mayor Jenny Durkan’s plan to wall off $100 million in the city budget for future “investments in BIPOC communities” that will be decided by an Equitable Investment Task Force appointed by the mayor, Seattle City Council central staff released an unusually blunt memo last week cataloguing potential issues with the mayor’s plan.

The memo raises two high-level issues with Durkan’s proposal. First, according to the staffers, it duplicates work that the City has already done, perpetuating the City’s practice of asking members of marginalized communities to provide recommendations again and again without ever taking action on those recommendations.

Continue reading Council Staff: Mayor’s Proposals Could Promote “Racism Cloaked in the Language of Anti-Racism and Equity”

A Precarious Compromise on Homeless Outreach Inches Forward

by Erica C. Barnett

(This article was originally published on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.) 


On Monday, Seattle City Council homelessness committee chair Andrew Lewis introduced a proposal that would restore funding for outreach to homeless encampments and lay the groundwork for what Lewis described as a new City “unsheltered outreach and response team” that would replace the controversial Navigation Team.

The surprising part is that the council and mayor’s office worked together on the legislation. 

Continue reading A Precarious Compromise on Homeless Outreach Inches Forward

King County Equity Now Announces Community-Based Research Team

by Elizabeth Turnbull


On Monday, the King County Equity Now (KCEN) Coalition unveiled the Black Brilliance Project, a Black-led, community-based research team set to investigate health, public safety and racial equity solutions, with the goal of providing direction and authority on how City funds should be applied toward meeting these needs in 2021. 

The Black Brilliance Project’s first 50 members were on-boarded last week, and the project will ultimately consist of over 100 paid research positions, occupied by various members of the city’s Black community, some of whom spoke at a press conference on Monday. 

Overall, the project will survey the needs of the Black community and provide a potential avenue for community members to be involved in budgeting decisions as an alternative to City-formed task forces that usually decide how money for the Black community is allocated. 

“When we say community voice we don’t mean some task force that is cherry-picked by white wealthy people who already have access to political power,” said KCEN research director Shaun Glaze during a press conference Monday. “Instead of having pre-set priorities, instead of having hand-selected task forces, we are pushing for a community voice and community power to be at the center.”

Continue reading King County Equity Now Announces Community-Based Research Team

OPINION: Mayor Durkan’s Austerity Budget Fails Working People and Black and Brown Communities, Fails to Defund Police

by Kshama Sawant


“It should surprise no one that the Mayor who has overseen police indiscriminately tear gas protest movements is now trying to gaslight an entire city into thinking she believes that Black Lives Matter.”

Democratic Mayor Jenny Durkan, who has given us torrents of tear gas, blast balls, and pepper spray, who has staunchly defended Amazon and billionaires from even minimal taxation, and who has presided over brutal austerity budgets, is now offering a 2021 budget that will only double down on hard times for Seattle’s working people and marginalized communities.

Behind her gauzy rhetoric about “reimagining policing” and the “largest-ever investment in racial equity and justice,” Mayor Durkan is proposing a business-as-usual budget that fundamentally fails working people, especially in Black and Brown communities. 

Continue reading OPINION: Mayor Durkan’s Austerity Budget Fails Working People and Black and Brown Communities, Fails to Defund Police