At 16th/Holden, West Seattle’s longest-running demonstration continues, post-verdict

Last year, after the murder of George Floyd, thousands of West Seattleites demonstrated for racial justice.

But after a few big events – and the Everyday March visits to local elected officials – the peninsula protests ebbed.

Except for the corner of 16th and Holden:

That’s where Scott (below left) has led twice-weekly BLM-supporting sign-waving for most of the past year, on through fall, winter, and now another spring.

Even before the verdict was announced, he and others were planning to be there this afternoon/evening as usual – Tuesdays (and Thursdays), 4-6 pm. So we stopped by. “This is a long-term struggle,” Scott said. Some days he’s had just a few join him; today, about a dozen. He said the Minneapolis verdict brought “a huge sense of relief (but) still a lot of pain … it’s all we can hope for, but it’s not really justice.”

We talked with some of those who also were at 16th/Holden today, a few hours after the verdict. Ed said the case left him disgusted “at the callous disregard for human life.” Adrian was “relieved to the point of tears” when the verdict was read.

Lisa, who says she did cry, also observed, “the fact that we could have believed it might have gone either way says more about racism than that Chauvin got convicted, that you could watch the video and have doubts that he would be found guilty.”

They all agreed there’s a lot of work to do. Rob said, “Awareness needs to continue – people are still dying.” And they saw the need for that awareness even on the street as they stood on the corners with their signs. “Still got a thumbs down today – someone still committed to hatred … we just hope they don’t pass it on to their children.”

The verdict itself was a teachable moment. At the time, Dani was teaching her elementary-school class, “and talking to the kids in class about it as it happened.”

What now? Adrian suggests that “police need some tool to weed out racism and white supremacy.” Scott envisions “relying less on policing” and points to the “participatory budgeting” process going on at the city (which was in fact on the agenda for a council committee this afternoon).

From Dani, an invitation: “Come out and stand with us – the work is ongoing.”

6 Replies to "At 16th/Holden, West Seattle's longest-running demonstration continues, post-verdict"

  • Relieved April 21, 2021 (8:48 am)

    With a sigh of relief at the verdict, The sign in the middle WSB file photo feels like it raises the question that will continue, did our system deliver “Justice for George Floyd?”

  • Derek April 21, 2021 (3:39 pm)

    This is a small amount of accountability. NOT justice. Justice would be George being alive. 

    • Lisa April 21, 2021 (5:58 pm)

      Yes, exactly. George Floyd and literally hundreds of others…

    • Relieved April 23, 2021 (10:36 am)

      Derek,This “justice” you write about is purely, impossibly aspirational  when you re- define the word “justice” to mean restoring lives lost.    Justice was  served in the arrest, prosecution and  conviction of Officer Chauvin.     And to be accurate, this was full accountability (not a small amount)  with all three charges facing Chauvin are Guilty.   What more do you want?   

  • Lisa April 21, 2021 (5:55 pm)

    WSB: Thanks for stopping by our little demo! For folks who care about racial justice but aren’t into standing out on street corners, you might consider learning about and supporting these POC led orgs:Decriminalize Seattle, Got Green, Creative Justice, King County Equity Now,  Community Passageways, Feed the People, Front and Centered, and many others. Talk with your neighbors, read BIPOC writers, learn about alternatives to calling 911, follow and comment on the city budget.Thanks for giving us a supportive wave or beep.

  • miws April 23, 2021 (10:07 am)

    Watching the prosecution’s argument to the jury, one thing stood out; “Please, Mr. Officer…please Mr.Officer…”.George Floyd, in what would be the last 9 minutes, 29 seconds of his life, felt compelled to beg, using the words that black folks have either been forced or compelled into saying to white males for hundreds of years; “Please, Mister…” —Mike

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