An 18-year-old white male drove two hours to shoot African Americans shopping in a neighborhood grocery store. Of course, this has not been the first time African Americans have died at the hands of white men, and I wish to God I could say it would be the last. What we have failed to call out in this tragedy and other forms of racism over the past 400 years is the role of white supremacy.
Former Gov. Gary Locke was the keynote speaker at the October 18, 2021, Eradicate Hate Conference, which gathered hundreds of attendees at the Pittsburgh Convention Center. The event, held on a date close to the anniversary of the Tree of Life synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh on October 27, 2018, brought together people and organizations from around the world that were having the most significant impact in combating hate, preventing hate crimes, and providing justice for the victims of such crimes. The following is Locke’s speech, printed in the International Examiner with permission.
There are so many stories about Norm Mineta, 90, who passed away Tuesday, May 3. He was a soft-spoken gentleman who was a part of making U.S. history at multiple junctures. Mineta was “the first” many times over: the first Asian American mayor of a major city, San Jose, California, where he was born and raised. Twenty years ago, the San Jose Airport was named for him. He was the first Asian American cabinet secretary and first and only Democrat in the George W. Bush administration.
Christina Reed began her art journey in the 1960s when she started weaving and making textural pieces of art. After having children, she attended the University of Washington School of Art and earned a B.F.A. in painting. There she studied alongside artists Jacob Lawrence and Michael Spafford, who significantly impacted her understanding of art and activism. Decades later, those themes are deeply present in her current exhibit at Seattle Central College. “Reckoning” dives into the interconnection of racism and whiteness and calls for audience members to undermine it.
When I was 13, some teenage boys left me a racist, sexist voicemail saying they wanted to know what it was like to have sex with an Asian girl. “Are you submissive?” they asked in the recording. “Can we fuck you with a shoe? Will you love us long time? Ching chong, ching chong.” The muffled laughter of pubescent boys rang in the background.
It’s okay for two things to be true at the same time. We don’t have to conflate topics. We can recognize nuances within conversations, and even split topics and have multiple discussions simultaneously. Seattle mayoral candidate M. Lorena González has every right to question Bruce Harrell’s stance on sexual abuse, which she has done in debates.
She has the right to question statements Harrell made in support of former Seattle Mayor Ed Murray who had been accused of sexual abuse by multiple victims. While these statements are true, they do not excuse the use of racially charged tropes in a campaign ad. And while it is our duty to stand up for victims of sexual abuse, it is also our duty to take a hard stand against racism.
I’m going to skip right to the punchline here: The King County Council failed last week when it asked Kathy Lambert to apologize for what six of them termed her “racist piece of political mail.” It also acted insufficiently on Tuesday when it voted to strip Lambert of her committee leadership positions. Nothing short of her resignation or removal is enough of a reckoning for what even in today’s divisive climate were absurdly blatant, public, and undeniably racist actions.
With a super-majority endorsing her opponent, Sarah Perry, the Council has only partly done a deed that they should have finished.
That is, unless they all can rationalize that, by following the research and advice of her political consultant, Lambert simply was representing her constituency. Even that is more problematic than it sounds.
I will never forget having been in Manhattan that fateful day twenty years ago. The billowing smoke. The disappearing traffic. Thousands running for their lives. Instinctively, I fell into the crowd and ran, too. Remembering, my heart swells, recalling my own fear and the best of humanity I saw that day.
Upon this 20th Anniversary of September 11, 2001, these memories are triggered again. And they are reminding me to also reflect on my hope for unity and peace.
On Wednesday, Aug. 18, at 10 a.m., King County Equity Now (KCEN) hosted a community conference with speakers from a variety of local and state-wide Black-led organizations to make public their demands as an organizing coalition calling for Seattle Children’s Hospital (SCH) to compensate for harm done to Black people.
KCEN along with the Tubman Center for Health and Freedom, Black Community Impact Alliance, the African American Health Board (AAHB), and Surge Reproductive Justice are joining the growing demands for CEO Jeff Sperring and board of trustees chair Susan Betcher to resign from their posts as senior SCH leadership. Carolyn Downs Family Medical Center, the last Black Panther clinic in the nation, also expressed a desire to join the budding coalition during the call.
“I think you are going to begin to see Black folks from across the state getting to come together in alignment around this issue,” Candace Jackson from the AAHB said on the community conference call.
After six months of investigation into systemic and interpersonal racism at Seattle Children’s Hospital (SCH), followed by considerable community backlash when findings from the assessment weren’t originally released, SCH’s board of trustees has now unanimously voted to publicly disclose Covington & Burling’s 11 finding statements as well as more detailed recommendations made in the report.
The Covington & Burling law firm and former Attorney General Eric Holder were hired by SCH to do an independent assessment on the hospital after racial allegations were publicly raised by Dr. Ben Danielson’s resignation last November. An assessment committee, composed of three members of SCH’s board and four community members, were also brought in to oversee the independent investigation. The assessment committee read the entire report but signed nondisclosure agreements (NDA) which prevented them from divulging any information on its contents.
Last week, CEO Jeff Sperring and board chair Susan Betcher furnished only a summary of recommendations made by Covington’s report and declared an action plan to be delivered by Sept. 1. Details of the recommendations were omitted as well as the findings from the report.
But SCH employees posted a petition demanding for the findings to be released in full, public apologies to Dr. Danielson and the patients, families, workforce, and SCH community for harm done, and resignations of the CEO and board chair.