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!”
Ronnie Estoque is a freelance journalist currently working with the International Examiner and the South Seattle Emerald. He is driven to uplift marginalized voices in the South Seattle community through his writing, photography, and videography. You can keep up with his work by following his Twitter account @RonnieEstoque.
Seattle’s protests against police brutality, which began after the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, continued into a sixth night on Wednesday as crowds moved throughout the day from City Hall in downtown Seattle to the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct on Capitol Hill. And while it might seem as though little had changed since the night before, when police officers released tear gas and unloaded pepper spray, rubber bullets, and flash grenades on a crowd of hundreds of peaceful protesters, several things were materially different.
What we are seeing today is not just about George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade and the horrific, continuous list of our murdered brothers and sisters — may they rest in power. This is about systemic injustice and systemic racism that has plagued this continent and our neighborhoods for 400 years.
These tragedies are constant reminders of the hate crimes, police brutality and systematic injustice the Black community faces far too frequently.
In Olympia, we’re thinking about our neighbors who have faced police brutality, negligence, and lost their lives due to an over-militarized and over-funded force: Yvonne McDonald, who died in mysterious circumstances; Andre Thompson and Bryson Chaplin, who were shot at by Olympia police and then each sentenced to prison terms; and Jackie Salyers, a Puyallup tribal member fatally shot by police in 2016.
Last week we cautioned our communities to not participate in protests due to COVID-19; which Black and other people of color are disproportionately impacted by. However, while we didn’t want to encourage people to risk their health protesting, we understood the need and demand for direct community support. This is why our organization has donated to bail funds across the country, and soon after created our own bail fund to provide local support. Members of our board have been at county jails every day, supporting those who have been arrested at these protests. We have also created a protestor safety guide to encourage further community safety while demonstrating. Continue reading OPINION: Black Lives Matter Seattle/King County Responds to Recent Protests and Actions by the City of Seattle & Mayor Durkan→
When lawyer Courtney Hudak walked up to the King County Correctional Facility on Seattle’s 5th Avenue just before 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 31 to make a professional visit to protestors who had been detained, following Saturday’s protests against systemic racism and police brutality, the last thing she expected was for the doors to be locked. But they were.
Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA 9th Congressional District, including South Seattle), chair of the House Armed Services Committee, answered questions from journalists at a press conference on Tuesday about President Trump’s call to utilize the U.S. military to intervene to stop the “insurrection” of demonstrators protesting the murder of George Floyd by four Minneapolis police officers. According to Trump, states have been weak in handling demonstrators and he said he would call in the military if states don’t bring order to their cities soon. Many legal experts and communities are concerned about the constitutionality of Trump’s proposal to use the military in a domestic situation.
Police officers are allowed to cover their badge numbers, when in mourning, because they are required to wear their names on the left side of their uniforms, Mayor Jenny Durkan said in a press conference on June 1.
The Emerald wanted to show the community taking care of each other the day after a peaceful demonstration against systemic racism in the nation’s police force was hijacked by, from many accounts of protestors on the ground, white people who attended with the aim of causing destruction. Mayor Jenny Durkan also acknowledged in a statement on Twitter that “much of the violence and destruction, both here and across the country, has been instigated and perpetuated by white men.”
Not all the people interviewed here were at the protests, but all came out specifically to help their community. The Emerald wanted to capture the range of thoughts and feelings among these people. They are couples with children and without; community organizers and everyday citizens trying to do their part; demonstrators who said they watched up close as police officers incited violence at the previous day’s protest; and people who did not attend the protest, but felt they had to come down, because doing something was better than sitting with their anxiety at home.