7:27 PM: For the second consecutive Friday night, Garfield High School is the visiting opponent at Southwest Athletic Complex in West Seattle. And again before the game, its team and cheerleaders (in foreground of second photo below) knelt during the pre-game anthem:
No players from this week’s home team, Chief Sealth International High School, players joined in tonight (last week, seven West Seattle HS players did), though one person on the sidelines with them knelt:
Garfield’s team issued a statement this week to clarify the intent of its protest, which the team says it will continue at each game this season. We obtained the statement through GHS:
Recently Garfield High School’s football team took a knee at an evening game. In an effort to clarify their position and better articulate the thought behind it, Garfield’s Football Team held an inclusive meeting … to put the team’s position into writing.
Garfield Football Team – We have increasingly heavy hearts over various issues that have been escalating in the media.
Many of us have been touched in some way in our own personal lives by racism, segregation and bias.
Through a series of open, honest and supportive conversations we have reached a team consensus and understanding.
We have unanimously decided to take a position as a team and work towards a better future together. We are going to demonstrate this decision through taking a knee at our games.
We are asking for the community and our leaders to step forward to meet with us and engage in honest dialogue. It is our hope that out of these potentially uncomfortable conversations positive, impactful change will be created.
At this time, the Garfield High School Football Team is especially concerned with the following:
1. Equality for all regardless of race, gender, class, social standing and/or sexual orientation – both in and out of the classroom as well as the community.
2. Increase of unity within the community. Changing the way the media portrays crime. White people are typically given justification while other minorities are seen as thugs, etc.
3. Academic equality for students. Certain schools offer programs/tracks that are not available at all schools or to all students within that school. Better opportunities for students who don’t have parental or financial support is needed. For example, not everyone can afford Advanced Placement (AP) testing fees and those who are unable to pay those fees, are often not encouraged to enroll into those programs. Additionally, the academic investment doesn’t always stay within the community.
4. Lack of adequate training for teachers to interact effectively with all students. Example, “Why is my passion mistaken for aggression?” “Why when I get an A on a test, does the teacher tell me, ‘Wow, I didn’t know you could pull that off.’”
5. Segregation through classism.
6. Getting others to see that institutional racism does exist in our community, city, state, etc.
In an effort to find solutions and create impactful change, Garfield Football is stepping forward as leaders within the Garfield Community and Seattle. As a first step towards finding solutions, Garfield Football will be pursuing the following:
1. Meetings with the local police leaders to share personal experiences and hear from officers and leaders on what their experience is and what changes we might be able to work together on.
2. Meetings with students in classes where diversity is lacking. Speaking at assemblies and with local youth groups and/or programs.
3. Meetings with school staff to include teachers and administration. Embarking on open dialogue about what triggers the negative experiences and interactions.
Garfield Football has set a course of action and we will see it through. Together United and Garfield Strong. Our Garfield Football mandate is TOP. Totally Optimizing Potential and we will demonstrate TOP both on the field and off.
The game is under way now at SWAC and we will report on it separately after it’s over.