In June 2020, Hugo House, a Seattle nonprofit writing center, posted a brief message via email and on their website in an attempt to condemn racism and show solidarity and support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Below the statement, Hugo House promoted a short list of poems and essays by Black writers. But by July, over 200 writers of Color and allies had signed an open letter addressing the performative nature of the statement and the organization’s lack of real investment, advocacy, and endorsement of local Black writers and communities.
“Hugo House’s recent email professing solidarity with the Black community rings hollow,” the letter reads. “The new civil rights movement makes clear that breaking down systemic and structural racism is all of our work, and we demand that Hugo House move concretely and transparently to invest its resources and make that change happen.”
(This article is co-published with The Seattle Times.)
Listen to this column:
Americans are trauma-ridden people. The sooner we admit this, the sooner we can heal.
Our inherited legacy is threaded together from slaughter, slavery and brutalization, the humanity of millions of Black, brown, Indigenous, poor, trans and other people sacrificed for this country’s prosperity.
Over the span of a month we have seen white supremacists raid our nation’s Capitol trying to rip out the throat of our democracy.
On the afternoon of Thursday, January 28, two dozen doctors, nurses, and support staff walked out of Carolyn Downs Family Medical Center in protest of the announcement that the clinic’s white male executive director, Raleigh Watts, would be reinstated on February 1 after being on paid administrative leave since October 2020. Dating back to October 2020, Watts was under an ongoing internal investigation into allegations of microaggressions, workplace abuse, and preferential treatment based on race.
Since the death of George Floyd last spring, the term “Defund the Police” has jumped into the public conscientious, but not by some twist in fate or happenstance. The fight for police accountability and reform has been a generations-long battle, which has coalesced into what we see today with the Defund the Police movement.
In over 100 years of policing there has been repeated violence directed at Black and Brown communities at the hands of police, and little meaningful reform to stop or reduce it. White America may be just fine with doing the absolute bare minimum and maintaining the status quo, but marginalized communities may not be so willing to endure another century of violence directed at them.
The uncomfortable truth is that police forces were originally created in our nation for the purpose of upholding white supremacy. They were slave catchers, created for the explicit purpose of capturing runaway slaves.
(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)
On Wednesday afternoon, the Seattle Police Department confirmed that at least five of its officers were present at the rally held by former President Donald Trump in Washington, D.C. on January 6 that preceded the hours-long attack on the U.S. Capitol by Trump’s supporters. More than a week after an SPD officer reported two of his colleagues to his superiors for a Facebook photo of the pair at the rally, three more officers notified the department that they, too, had attended the event.
M. Anthony Davis (Mike Davis)is a local journalist covering arts, culture, and sports.
Featured Image: Inauguration Day Sunrise — attributed to Geoff Livingston under a Creative Commons 2.0 license (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).
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Blackbird singing in the dead of night Take these broken wings and learn to fly All your life You were only waiting for this moment to arise.
Blackbird singing in the dead of night Take these sunken eyes and learn to see All your life You were only waiting for this moment to be free.
Blackbird fly, blackbird fly Into the light of the dark black night.
These lyrics from the classic tribute to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s by the Beatles pop into my head every time I see a photo of Stacey Abrams. My throat gets dry, tears well up, and I get goose bumps. How prescient those words are.
Content Warning: This article contains strong language.
A few decades back, I was in the heart of Mitch McConnell country — aka Kentucky. Being a longtime basketball writer, I was fascinated with that region’s love affair with the sport. Everyone in that particular, depressed coal-mining region was white and seemed to have a hoop, built mostly on dirt patches.
My hoops background was urban, so very concrete. Seeing a wooden backboard, set on a wooden plank, stuck in a clutch of dried mud in Middle-of-Nowhere, USA, was a wonder. I got out of my car for a closer look.
Some movement in the corner of my eye made me spin toward an adjoining shotgun shack — to spy a literal shotgun pointed at me.
In the 2020 presidential election, Trump won the second-highest number of votes by any U.S. presidential candidate in history. Though he still ended up losing the race, this number is nothing to sneeze at. I heard a general outcry of surprise and shock at these statistics, at how close this country was to a second Trump term, particularly from my white progressive liberal peers here in Seattle.
It took several attempts before I could finally write this article. What do the 2020 election victories for Black women Democrats mean to me as a Black, mixed-race woman? Each time, I erupted in explosive grief. A complex grief that holds a thousand stories.