PHOTOS/VIDEO: West Seattle Junction fills with sea of protesters affirming ‘Black Lives Matter!’

Story by Tracy Record
Photos/video by Patrick Sand
West Seattle Blog co-publishers

One of the students who organized this afternoon’s massive protest in the West Seattle Junction told the crowd they weren’t sure anyone would show up.

Someone did. Four digits worth of someones.

(Aerial photo courtesy Paul Weatherman)
And they showed up early. Groups marched from Admiral and Morgan Junction, and by the time they arrived, a crowd was already filling Walk-All-Ways at California/Alaska, chanting and cheering. A cheer went up as the Admiral marchers arrived, hundreds strong:

Though there were speakers and even live music – with the roof of Easy Street Records proprietor Matt Vaughan‘s iconic black van turned into a stage – some of the most powerful moments were in the early going, as the crowd chanted – and filled the street with their prone bodies.

The most powerful speaker was the youngest – Louisa Boren STEM K-8 student Erica – with an impassioned poetry reading:

Earlier, the first speaker was entrepreneur Donald Watts, who spoke of family members – including his dad, Seattle SuperSonics legend Slick Watts, and his grandma in Mississippi, who he said would not believe today’s amazing turnout, so he took a photo to show her. He said it’s time for change, and he vowed that he would too, saying he had failed to speak out in the past when he was a target of racism, but would never let it go unchallenged again. “Figure out where your role is, to make a difference, put it in your heart, put it in action.”

Rain fell as Watts spoke; then the sun returned as he concluded, and the weather remained favorable for the rest of the event. Other speakers included Chris Porter, a longtime local activist and health-care professional. His theme: “Enough is enough,” as he called out a list of inequities.

He said he wants a world where “when my son leaves the house, I don’t have to hold my breath.” But, to remind everyone of what happened as George Floyd died in Minneapolis less than 2 weeks ago, he asked protesters to be silent and try holding their breath for 2 minutes – just a quarter of the time Mr. Floyd spent held down by a police officer. After half a minute or so, from scattered pockets of the crowd, people called out: “I can’t breathe … I can’t breathe.”

Another speaker drew some chants of dissent from around the crowd – King County Executive Dow Constantine, the only elected official to take the mic:

He spoke of reform, and led a round of “Say Their Names,” but voices could be heard yelling “No Youth Jail” – Constantine has been long criticized by activists opposed to the county’s new $200+ million juvenile-justice facility, which includes detention.

Another rebuke to the system: A short time later, as Ayron Jones played the Star-Spangled Banner on his guitar, the thousand-plus protesters dropped to their knees:

Before long, after more than two hours had elapsed since the early start, the protest ended – still peaceful, no confrontations (police were present at the perimeters, mostly to keep traffic away from the people-filled streets), as had been the case with the half-dozen smaller West Seattle demonstrations we have covered this past week.

So – what now?

Everyone will have to answer that in their own way, to back up their words with deeds. As for protests – so far we’ve heard of one more in West Seattle, a student-organized protest at WSHS at noon Monday.

P.S. Words of thanks from today’s organizers are here.

(This was our third and final report on today’s event. Earlier, we published as-it-happened notes and a look at some of the signs.)

73 Replies to "PHOTOS/VIDEO: West Seattle Junction fills with sea of protesters affirming 'Black Lives Matter!'"

  • LyndaB June 6, 2020 (10:10 pm)

    Sea of change.  Ready set go!  Black lives matter.  ❤❤❤

  • Chris dyer June 6, 2020 (10:36 pm)

    Only one response to this so far? This is an amazing show of support for such an important issue. Thanks to everyone who showed up! 

  • Erin T June 6, 2020 (10:43 pm)

    Thank you for your service WSB. Great day ❤️

  • Jennifer June 6, 2020 (10:46 pm)

    This is AMAZING! #BlackLivesMatter

  • Beekery June 6, 2020 (10:47 pm)

    I am so impressed with our loving community. Sending much love to participants and supporters of this movement. Love you, West Seattle. Black lives matter. xxxx

  • Christie June 6, 2020 (10:53 pm)

    Thank you to everyone that showed up today. As I have a compromised immune system and cannot join in, I have to say I love West Seattle.

  • brian June 6, 2020 (10:55 pm)


    I gotta say, the social distance respect going on even in that huge crowd is super encouraging.

    And again, to stress the point: All lives do not matter until Black Lives Matter

  • Andros June 6, 2020 (10:55 pm)

    History people…have we ever had a protest in W. Seattle, especially this size before?Go!

  • HowDoYouSpellThat? June 6, 2020 (11:07 pm)

    I wondered if my neighbors would show up for me. For people like me. For people who look like me. In a quietish, mostly white, familyish neighborhood of Seattle. More than I expected. But still, not enough. Thank you to those who showed. God bless you.

  • D-Mom June 6, 2020 (11:24 pm)

    Hey West Seattleites, let’s show how much we support black lives by attending the protest/march in Rainier Beach tomorrow.2pm, Sunday June 7 at Othello Park

  • Paul Barclay June 6, 2020 (11:24 pm)

    Let’s get a real crowd size count here. Based on the drone photo here, there’s ~60 people standing on the crosswalk at the north end of the walk all ways. That crosswalk is 10’ wide and 60’ long. That gives roughly 1 person per 10sqft as the crowd density. The walk all ways area is about ~80’x80’, or 6400 sqft, putting 640 people in that area.

    The crowd reached most of the way to Oregon, though it started thinning out a little mid-block. Alaska>Oregon is 600ft x80ft, or around 48,000sqft. At an average of half the crosswalk density, that’s another 2,400 people. So that’s 3,000 people. Not counting the people who lined the route and didn’t go to the junction, or the people who were still walking in between 1:30 and 3:00. Likely 3,500-4,000 was the total attendance.

    If there’s a higher-resolution version of that aerial photo, we could get a more accurate count. 

    • jonni June 7, 2020 (12:09 pm)

      Interesting calculation!  Just note that for every person who did show up there are another hundred+ who feel the same way!

  • Mandy June 6, 2020 (11:45 pm)

    So proud to be a part of this today. Love this community. Love our readiness for change. ♥️

  • Jaynslee hides June 6, 2020 (11:52 pm)

    Sit down Constantine, let the ppl speak. You had your chance. 

    • Elle Nell June 7, 2020 (7:53 am)

      Oh Constantine spoke! He spoke TRUTH to the people … and while he’s not perfect, he’s gotten my vote EVERy time!! 

  • Kelly Schneider June 6, 2020 (11:56 pm)

    • Beekery June 7, 2020 (12:40 am)

      Beautiful photo. Thank you for sharing. xx

    • SL June 7, 2020 (4:09 pm)

      This photo is beautiful and so encouraging.

    • Bex June 7, 2020 (7:24 pm)

      Hey I was trying to get a photo of the crowd and got one of you from behind! 

  • No Justice, No Peace! June 7, 2020 (12:07 am)

    At the protest today, one thing that profoundly disturbed me was on the way in and the way out, white folks *thanking* the police as they passed. (I observed this each time I passed the police.) Fellow white folks, I know it’s hard to get past our own interactions with the police over our lifetimes, but they are part of the same police force that inflicted flash bangs and CS gas on an innocent crowd on Capital Hill this evening. Part of the same system that murders black people and fails to bring justice for black people murdered by police and non-police alike. We have to do better.

    • Anne June 7, 2020 (7:32 am)

      Sorry-but while I agree in every way that the system must change-I don’t think every protestor is violent & I don’t think every police officer is bad. Reaching out to each other can only help to make the changes we  want & must have. We will do better.

    • Hammer in Hand June 7, 2020 (7:42 am)

      I will always thank every officer I encounter no matter their skin color for the work they do to keep all peoples safe. Please remember that as you or a friend or family member is having harm done to them they are the ones you will be calling to help you and you will expect them to do their relentless job to the fullest thanks SPD don’t let a few bad apples spoil the good works you do  

      • ally cat June 7, 2020 (4:34 pm)

        “I will always thank every officer I encounter no matter their skin color for the work they do to keep all people safe… Please remember that as you or a friend or family member is having harm done to them they are the ones you will be calling to help…”

        You might be missing another perspective here.

        What you describe is our experience as white people. The police in many instances are not keeping all people safe, not keeping black people safe. In fact, there are black people dying at the hands of officers. It doesn’t sound like all black people would feel safe calling the police in their times of need.

        I heard a man share yesterday that recently after driving a friend home outside of Seattle, and driving past a large police presence, he was afraid to drive back to Seattle alone, so he asked if he could stay the night at his friends house. Not because he was doing anything wrong, simply because he is black, and was afraid of the police.

        For us to see a police officer and want to acknowledge them in a positive way is perhaps because our white experience allows us to feel that way. 

        I think what the commenter above is pointing to, is that if we want to be an ally for black lives and change, maybe that doesn’t look like one moment protesting for racial justice and the next moment smiling and waving and thanking officers, perhaps turning a blind eye in those moments to the reality of the issues within the system, for our own needs to show appreciation for our white experience. 

        I am thankful as a white person to feel safe reaching out to police in a time of need. I certainly do appreciate this and all the good they do, and will express that when appropriate. But, to feel the need to show general appreciation to them at this time, at a racial justice protest, is perhaps something we should think about.

        I get the commenters concern. I’m not saying it was wrong of those individuals, or that it came from a bad place, but I do see this as an opportunity to be contemplative, and to listen more.

      • Lynn June 7, 2020 (7:55 pm)

        Keep all people safe you say? Ask your friends who are POC if they feel the same way. I have several friends who are Latinos, Asians, born and bred here, who say they’d rather not call the cops for help as they know what calling the cops entails. So, maybe easy for you to say that, as a white person. That sentiment is not shared by POC though.

    • Elle Nell June 7, 2020 (8:03 am)

      And also, No Justice…as I was walking in with my BLM sign, a cowardly white couple rolls down the window and in a completely racist tone yelled, “All Lives Matter”. All I could do was flip them off as they scurried away like little rats…wake up white folks – Educate your self with the movement and realize we have the power to make one of the biggest changes in history. And WE are doing it!!

    • Foop June 7, 2020 (8:39 am)

      I encourage you to thank the cops that act admirably during peaceful protests. This hate mongering needs to stop against your fellow human. Acab is an institution, not an individual. Grow up. Change the system, thank the individuals who support you and your rights because its a nice thing to do among your community.

    • SM June 7, 2020 (9:16 am)

      Non white folk here. I personally dont want to see hate based on skin color replaced by hate based on uniform. We’re all people, that’s the point right? Why be disturbed by people thanking cops when you, I presume, wouldn’t have. These were people who were protesting for change so I don’t think they were thanking them for police brutality. 

    • Brian June 7, 2020 (9:47 am)

      That is upsetting and concerning. The police are not your friends. A simple “we can see you” would suffice rather than a thank you. 

      • dftl June 7, 2020 (1:47 pm)

        I can see you.

    • K. Davis June 7, 2020 (11:04 am)

      One can fully support BLM (as I do) and still know that not all police are bad – in fact, most are good people doing an incredibly hard job.  So there is no incongruity in marching against police abuse while still acknowledging the good work that police do.  If that truth is so disturbing to you, then I respectfully suggest that you reexamine your own views.  The world is not, as it turns out, black and white.  The shades of gray are profound.  

      • Anne June 7, 2020 (11:36 am)


      • AdmiralBridge June 7, 2020 (11:40 am)

        I agree K – the vast majority of police remain solid citizens and put their life on the line every day in a job I would never dream of doing, often at a salary that does not let them live in the city they protect.  Some of the use last week was warranted against rioters and looters in order to – amongst other things – protect the protesters.  Thankfully the looters have spent their energy (or depleted the Cheesecake Factory’s inventory) and such conflicts will be minimal.  Police accountability, standards, and Federal investigations need to be paramount in order to preclude the George Floyds and Breonna Taylors, but I shudder at the notion of a defunded world where there are no police.  Will that mean we have no more car prowls, snatch and grabs, late night assaults and ATM destruction?  The treatment the mayor of Minneapolis received – someone who is trying to do better and took immediate action – suggests we still have a long way to go.

    • River June 7, 2020 (11:43 am)

      The police are our friends and neighbors, just like everyone else. Obviously there are a few bad apples in any profession.  

      • Audrey June 7, 2020 (12:35 pm)

        In essence what you say is true about “a few bad apples” and all. But respectfully I take issue with how the phrase plays down (downsizes) the magnitude of the all the murders of unarmed blacks in these last “few” years at the hands of policeman. There have been DOZENS, too many to list here. And a closer look often reveals not only a history of misconduct from the accused officer, but misconduct within the Dept. Bad apples are a reflection of a bigger problem, a bad Tree, that’s needs attention. Namely, leadership. And this epidemic HAS BEEN  sweeping our nation in almost EVERY CITY. So respectfully, in the case of this particular protest, the onus must be turned to emphasize that it is THE MAJORITY of police departments that need an overhaul, so the killing of black people without consequence CEASE. These marches are more than indicative of a few bad apples. Regards, 🙏🏽

      • Lagartija Nick June 7, 2020 (9:25 pm)

        River, over 80% of SPD officers live outside of Seattle. They are not our neighbors. In fact, that’s a big part of the problem. How can you build community if you’re not part of the community? 

        • sgs June 8, 2020 (11:31 am)

          What do you think are the reasons most SPD live outside the city of Seattle? 

    • aa June 7, 2020 (5:51 pm)

      I don’t believe discounting the whole police force makes any sense.  It is no different than those who lump people of any group racial, religious, political, the actions of a few do not define a group. I will never forget the story of the Lakewood police officers who died years ago.  Specifically one officer who shielded an employee and died as a result of his courage and commitment to his job to protect. There is always room for change and gratitude for so many who put their lives in danger to save ours.  

    • Proud of Seattle June 9, 2020 (8:19 pm)

      I have always thought of myself as unbiased when it comes to race. But these protests have made me realized it’s not enough to be unbiased, you have to NOT accept a system that is unequal when you have influence.Most police officers, black and white, do a very important job, sometimes at their own risk.  It seems every officer in the West Seattle protest did nothing but serve and protect your right to make your voice heard.s

    • No Justice, No Peace! June 10, 2020 (2:37 pm)

      If you feel that you support Black Lives Matter, but  you’re moved to try to make police officers comfortable because the ones you see right now are not currently committing violent acts, I respectfully suggest that you do more research. I don’t think every police officer is a bad person, and I wasn’t saying that. I DO think that all of them participate in a harmful system. Consider reading up on how our local police union treated the CPC in the meeting last week. And, why do some of you seem to perceive that the officers were “protecting” protesters? What I saw was them initially trying to clear us out of the intersection, then keeping an eye on us as though we were a problem.

      Regarding the “few bad apples” theory…that’s just manifestly untrue (and as many people have been pointing out, the saying is “a few bad apples spoil the barrel,” not “a few bad apples aren’t a problem whatsoever”). Police unions, police leadership, and officers on the ground are typically united in protecting “their own” from the consequences of violent and illegal activity, which spoils the barrel. It’s true that many departments around the country have started agreeing that specific acts caught on video were reprehensible, but it’s still wildly difficult everywhere to fire racist police officers (due to union contract demands), hold police officers accountable for violent or illegal activity (qualified immunity), etc.

      If you think it’s probably not that bad, I encourage you to do a little more research on your own. Here are a couple stories of cops who tried to do the right thing:

      Or, you could start with a couple of opinions of white people who changed their minds about incremental reform (I’m not advocating completely getting rid of the police, to be clear, though I think dissolving the current power structure and re-creating a different vision of what “policing” is may be needed):

  • Cait June 7, 2020 (12:43 am)

    HUGE thanks to the students who organized this today; at least one of them said she spoke in public for the first time today. What a way to enter the arena! They did such a great job and I’m so proud they’re a part of our community. 

  • Stacy June 7, 2020 (6:11 am)

    Thanks for sharing this!! Many of us couldn’t hear what was being said, but stayed quite just in case we could. It was a great event and a great turnout!

  • Chris June 7, 2020 (7:25 am)

    Just another reason why I’ll never leave West Seattle (I’ve lived here for 60 years). And as for the comment from No Justice No Peace above, what are we to do? Lump all police into one basket? Spit on them? Or can we realize that just one sincere thankyou could help change a cop’s attitude? Of course we have to do better, but there is the idea of “see something, say something” — it doesn’t always have to expose only negative behavior, it can also be used for positive change.

  • Let's keep marching for justice! June 7, 2020 (8:31 am)

    Are there any protests today or this week in our area? 

    • ally cat June 7, 2020 (2:00 pm)

      There is a march being planned by Black Lives Matter, for next Friday. I expect this will be huge.

      Some thoughts regarding covid-19 concerns…

      Obviously wear a mask, try to keep a bubble of distance, and maybe keep moving around so you aren’t close to the same people at length. You could also limit how long you participate. Be safe!

  • miws June 7, 2020 (8:34 am)

    What an Amazing and Awesome turnout!  Wish I could have been there, but my health does not allow it. Huge Kudos to the young people that organized it. Black Lives Matter… —Mike 

  • Just a dude June 7, 2020 (8:55 am)

    I sincerely LOVE seeing such a huge turnout in my beloved west Seattle!!!My COVID fears kept me from accepting an invitation to join this march and the “Peace Peloton” bike ride that started on Alki, and after seeing the crowds and how packed together they were, I’m fearful of a spike in positive individuals in the coming weeks.I pray that God laid down a blanket of immunity for all in attendance, but my science mind outweighs my faith…sadly.Should everyone in attendance self-quarantine for two weeks?!!BLM!!

  • Friend O'Dinghus June 7, 2020 (8:57 am)

    Incredible poem Erica. Thank you for sharing it with all of us! Your reading for the crowd was exceptional; your passion was simultaneously both evoking and provoking. You did a fantastic job of holding the crowd and delivering your powerful message. Keep it up. Our community needs your voice.

  • Chris Porter June 7, 2020 (9:20 am)

    About four years ago BLM had a rally in West Seattle during the summer street fair; this in response to unarmed black males killed by police.  I was asked to participate and there were around 40 people who marched through the street fair.  We were greeted with head nods, clapping, thanks, and a few “yes”, and “good job”. We were proud of the response and I think the blog may have captured a picture.  Yesterday was complexity amazing and the show of support seemed to indicate that the community is truly onboard.  The hardest part about this is what we, as a community and individually, decide to do after the protesting is over. #Enoughisenough. 

    • nonni June 8, 2020 (9:09 am)

      Chris, when you run for Mayor, you have my vote!

  • Carol Wagener June 7, 2020 (9:29 am)

    This is so heartwarming…. if I was 20 years younger I’dda been out there too!

  • Sarah June 7, 2020 (9:37 am)

    West Seattle has never looked so good.  Proud for the neighborhood to come together and take a stand. Nice crowd!

  • Really June 7, 2020 (10:07 am)

    WSB comments one month ago: Seattle politicians let criminals walk the streets! They are terrible!WSB this week: All cops are fascists! Defund the SPD! WSB next month: ???

  • J June 7, 2020 (10:30 am)

    To No Justice No Peace: It’s wrong to think of the policing system and individual officers as the same thing. We MUST be more nuanced in this fight. There are good cops who want to change the system from the inside while we, others, fight from the outside. We MUST encourage and champion the officers that are doing the right things,  work to rid the police  around America from all the officers not fit to serve, and work to change laws and systems. Where would we be if the good officers all quit because we can’t tell the difference between those working to support our communities versus those who want to divide it, tear it down, etc.  Not all cops are bad AND Black Lives Matter!

    • Anne June 7, 2020 (11:38 am)

      Thank you -you & K Davis said this much better than I.

    • Chris June 7, 2020 (5:32 pm)

      What good officers?I’ve only seen two kinds of cops recently: bad cops, and cops who stand by and do nothing while bad cops do bad things.  Neither category includes good cops.Fixing racist and violent policing is going to require radical changes to police departments and unions, to eliminate the structures they have built to avoid holding bad cops accountable.  We absolutely cannot wait around for “good” cops to show up.

    • ally cat June 8, 2020 (1:36 pm)

      No, not all cops are bad.

      But maybe it would be more helpful right now if we can keep the focus on the issues, and by doing so apply pressure to help push for change?

      Continually shifting the conversation away from the issues to a conversation about ‘but some cops are good and deserve our appreciation!’, is taking away focus and energy from the issues that need to change.

      I don’t hear anyone saying all officers are bad, that is not the conversation, so I’m not sure the good officers need this defense. I expect too, that the good ones know they are not the problem and can take pride in that, and hopefully support things changing for the better.

  • JeffK June 7, 2020 (11:00 am)

    Note to person setting up sound system for next time:  We were just at the far edge of the AK/CA intersection (~75′) and couldn’t hardly hear anything the whole time.  Need elevated speakers or more powerful PA setup.

  • TM June 7, 2020 (12:37 pm)

    One of my favorite memories from 25 years in WS. 

  • Cherie June 7, 2020 (1:28 pm)

    • ally cat June 7, 2020 (2:48 pm)

      👍 Thanks for sharing this!

  • dsa June 7, 2020 (1:59 pm)

    I could not attend, but reading here I see thousands of people gathered and no cops.  Tracy said the cops were directing traffic away.  That is what I call supporting a peaceful protest.  Compare that to what we see *everywhere* else, downtown and in every other city.  Cops always get aggressive and form human barricade lines, which in turn cause trouble.  Our West Seattle precinct commander deserves a thank you.  The rest of them need to take a clue.

    • Chris June 7, 2020 (5:30 pm)

      I disagree that any thank you is in order.  West Seattle police behaved themselves because West Seattle is predominately wealthy and white.  It takes nothing away from the well-supported thesis that policing in Seattle is racist.

  • Mark R-W June 7, 2020 (3:28 pm)

    For people who were surprised or confused by the No New Youth Jail chants and boos for Dow Constantine, here is really useful FAQ about the NNYJ movement.I find it inspiring and energizing to think about a world where our tax dollars go toward healing and empowerment rather than incarceration and derailing futures.

  • Medium June 7, 2020 (3:41 pm)

    Captain Davis and the officers of the Southwest Precinct are the best. We will miss them.

  • MM June 7, 2020 (9:39 pm)

    So proud of our West Seattle community coming together in peaceful protest! Inspired by the young people who organized this and spoke. Keep it going!!!! 

  • ScubaFrog June 8, 2020 (7:54 am)

    There appears to be a lot of white fragility.  “Leave my police alone, they don’t hurt me!”.  ” What Privilege!”  Moreover, the “few bad apples” argument holds no water anymore.  We’re dealing with  systemic racism.  We’re dealing with systemic police brutality, and that can’t be trained away.  4 police officers lynch a black man, not 1 tried to stop it.  How many times have black men been murdered by groups of white men on camera, and which officer intercedes?  No one.  Just some cursory research/reading into Black Lives Matter, Civil Rights and where we’re at with Police Brutality, Mass Incarceration and the tremendous failure of the ‘justice system’ 2020 breathe life into the facts.  The tried-and-failed system that’s let generations of Americans down, killed innocent men and women via the Death Penalty (specifically black and minority) has to go.  How long has SPD been “reforming”?  Laughable it if weren’t so sad.  NYPD and LAPD could be labeled terror organizations with the crimes they’ve committed The People, en masse. Most people know that blacks, specifically, are targeted, and brutalized at a rate superceding any other group in America.  Knowing that, and knowing there’s no consistent accountability in the US for law enforcement, something has to change.  Whites are so comfortable with the status quo, because they’re safe.  They don’t get followed by the police, pulled over ultra-frequently for “looking suspicious”.  Whites have an innate privilege, and their kids aren’t looked at suspiciously by law enforcement, and by ignorant, suspicious people in society.  And don’t make any quick movements, God forbid you have cell phone in your hand as a black man or woman:  An overzealous police officer will gun you down, and go on paid leave — and come right back to work after the police “investigate” itself .  So yes, Black Lives Matter, and until America gets that, No Lives Matter:  We’re not Whole without the Sum of Our Parts.  Take a Knee for the Cause, this is centuries coming.

  • Dawn June 9, 2020 (10:29 am)

    So proud of West Seattle. Way to show up and stand up! A Big Thank You to the organizers. Call me naive, but seeing so many young people has given me more hope for our world than I’ve felt for a long time. I was a little too far away from the speakers/stage to hear the entirety of the poem read by Erica(?). Is it posted anywhere so we can read it?

    • WSB June 9, 2020 (10:48 am)

      That’s a great question. I will ask around. I apologize that we were short on video – didn’t know there would be speakers/performers and we came underequipped, bad move.

  • Toby June 9, 2020 (3:01 pm)

    re. Thanking Cops A reader was troubled by demonstrators in the Junction on Saturday thanking cops for being there.  Thanking the police for being at demonstrations is a rich tradition in Seattle.  I can remember demonstrations around the U-District post office in the turbulent sixties and seventies that were as confrontational and disruptive as any in the country.  But at the end of every one an organizer would always ask the crowd to thank the police. From a bullhorn, “Let’s thank the police!  One, two, three…” From the demonstrators, “Thaaaank Yooouu!”Often feigned, sometimes sarcastic, it was still a gesture.  And although lots of those U-District confrontations were angry and adversarial, they seldom generated any serious casualties.  I think the idea was that thanking people for good work encourages good work the next time.  Maybe I’m naive or just nostalgic for a less-embittered time, but I have some reason to believe in the power of simple civility.  I’m a retired Metro driver, and in my day riders usually thanked the driver as they exited.  I’ve only seen one other city where that’s common, Honolulu. In a survey reported by Business Insider last September, both systems were in the top ten nationwide, both famous for their service. Seattle was in fact ranked #1. Some say it’s the cops who should reach out.  Cops, and all uniformed civil servants for that matter, fulfill job descriptions drawn up by desk-bound bureaucrats directed by election-driven politicians who seem mostly informed by ad-driven news, so a cop’s ability to interact, empathize and use independent judgment becomes highly constrained. Demonstrators not so much.So maybe we could each just give it a shot.  A friendly nod or even just non-hostile eye contact might do.  Civility changes nothing itself, but not much changes without it.  To paraphrase the chant, “No civility – no dialogue.”

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