West Seattle, Washington
5:58 PM: Protesters upset about today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade are marching in the heart of The Junction right now. Several people asked us throughout the day if a protest was planned in West Seattle; we didn’t get advance word of this but a participant sent word a short time ago so we went over to The Junction to verify. There’s a protest happening downtown right now too.
7:30 PM: Just went back through The Junction a few minutes ago; the demonstrators have dispersed.
On Saturday, as thousands rallied across the country against gun violence, the March For Our Lives events were originally supposed to include a West Seattle Junction demonstration too, but it was canceled earlier in the week. However, Anni and friends showed up anyway. She sent the photo and report today:
Our small group showed up at the WS Junction for a gun-reform rally that we didn’t know had been canceled. From 1-2 PM we crossed during the walk lights, carrying signs and chanting slogans, such as “Keep Our Children Safe”. We had a good response based on friendly thumbs-ups and horn-honking. This felt like a purposeful hour to our group, which included 5 teachers.
Students across the country continued demonstrations today to plead for an end to gun violence, three days after the massacre in Uvalde, Texas. Among today’s protests was a walkout this morning organized by the Student Council at Holy Family Bilingual Catholic School. Participating students left their classrooms at 9 am to demonstrate outside the school at 20th and Roxbury.
They began with a prayer, followed by a student-written poem:
Walker Mae read the poem, “How Many More?” (the author wished to be anonymous), after Rianna led the prayer. Then the students stood in silence for 10 minutes.
Rianna is the Student Council president and invited us to cover the demonstration, explaining, “We are demonstrating that we are against school shootings, gun violence, and to show support to all the lives lost due to this tragedy.”
Thanks to the parents who let us know about Pathfinder K-8 students’ walkout/demonstration today. Students left the Pigeon Point campus around 11:30 am and walked to the pedestrian/bicycle overpass at Delridge/Oregon for sign-waving.
The banner in the foreground was the work of someone else (we saw it there a few hours earlier) but gun violence is one of the two issues about which the Pathfinder students were demonstrating, along with reproductive rights:
This was one of many walkouts across the country today.
A week and a half after the report of a draft US Supreme Court opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade, demonstrations continue. Today a group of West Seattle High School students left the school in the 11 am hour, marching to The Junction and back to Admiral. We didn’t get word of it in time to send our photographer but one of the organizers, Claire, sent photos.
Abortion-rights supporters plan demonstrations across the country tomorrow; none here in West Seattle that we’ve heard, but we received a media advisory for one on Capitol Hill.
3:11 PM: Received this afternoon from Julia: “I am writing with the info that there will be a demonstration in support of RESPECT ROE V. WADE, starting at 5 pm in the West Seattle Junction; meeting at Easy Street Records. I’m sewing a nice big banner that says, ‘RESPECT ROE V. WADE,’ and hope others will be there to help hold it up!” This is in the wake of a nationwide call to action following Monday night’s news of a draft U.S. Supreme Court opinion to overturn the 49-year-old landmark ruling.
5:12 PM: We just went through The Junction; the demonstrators are on the KeyBank corner.
6:07 PM: Thanks to the texters who have since sent photos, including the one above.
6:30 PM: Same texter emailed to say, “We’ve dispersed to rise up and raise hell elsewhere.”
7:16 PM: Speaking of “elsewhere,” if you’re headed toward downtown or Capitol Hill, the march under way there currently was just described on police radio as numbering about 2,000.
Thanks for the rainbow photos! The sightings happened during an afternoon of unsettled weather – rainshowers mixing with sun at least twice.
Again tomorrow, we might see some sun, might see some rain. The forecast for the days ahead appears to be spanning all possibilities, typical for Seattle springtime.
(WSB photo, substituted for original phone photo)
6:50 PM: For the past two hours we’ve been just outside Terminal 18 on Harbor Island, where protesters and police have been in a standoff since mid-afternoon. It’s a replication of the current Middle East flashpoint, the Israel/Palestine conflict. An Israeli-owned ship, the Zim San Diego, docked at Terminal 18 on Saturday after a week at anchor in Elliott Bay. The protesters, supporters of Palestine, want to prevent the ship from being unloaded. They’ve been marching and chanting in intersections at/near 13th SW/SW Florida just west of T-18.
(WSB photo, substituted for original phone photo)
A sizable deployment of Seattle and Port police warned them repeatedly to get out of the road or face arrest. As of our departure about 15 minutes ago, they had yet to arrest anyone, but as we wrote this, SPD tweeted that they’ve just made 10 arrests. Several vehicles turned around just short of the protest after protesters approached the drivers to talk to them, although police warned the demonstrators not to do that. There were roughly 100 demonstrators when we arrived; the number fluctuated as they switched intersections and at one point sat in the street. Police used the LRAD speaker to warn them; adding to the clamor are several evangelical Christian counter-demonstrators with a loudspeaker. (Added: You can hear them in the background of this short clip when bicycle officers moved in at one point; no arrests resulted that time.)
Other groups of protesters have led similar demonstrations at other West Coast ports including Oakland and Prince Rupert, B.C.
9:39 PM: The Northwest Seaport Alliance has published a statement saying port and city police are “are providing a safe zone for protesters to ensure individual expression is protected and port operations are not impeded.” There’s been no word of further arrests, nor whether the ship is being unloaded.
7:43 PM: Just happened onto a traffic-stopping protest at California/Fauntleroy. Protesters have circled cars to block the intersection. Police are here telling them to move. The protesters are yelling about housing affordability. (Added) Looking at their signage, it’s a police-defunding demonstration.
7:50 PM: They’ve moved on and the intersection is open again.
8:02 PM: This is the City Council legislation the protest was about. It’s a police-funding bill that’s been debated for months; it’s due for a vote at the Tuesday afternoon council meeting (here’s the agenda). It basically would cut $5 million from SPD’s budget though in numerous discussions there has been some contention SPD doesn’t need the money anyway because it’s spending less on salaries after so many departures, but SPD contends it needs the money for other things.
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.”
2:57 PM: Less than an hour ago, a Minneapolis jury delivered its verdict in the trial of the former police officer who killed George Floyd last May: Guilty on all counts. Here in Seattle, this is just in from the city:
Following the guilty verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial in Minneapolis, the City of Seattle is providing an update for residents. City of Seattle department leaders have been preparing to allow residents to have the space to grieve and honor the life of George Floyd.
While the City expects community members to grieve and remember the life of Mr. Floyd, the City is also reminding businesses and residents of appropriate steps to take should demonstrations occur. The Seattle Police Department, which has made significant changes over the last year, will be on standby for any peaceful, first-amendment gatherings.
Below please find an update on City departments:
Citywide Prayer and Moment of Silence: The City of Seattle – in coordination with faith leaders – will be hosting a citywide prayer and moment of silence at 7 pm.
Seattle Parks and Recreation Department: Understanding the City is still in a pandemic and there are no permitted gatherings or events, Seattle Parks and Recreation is highlighting the City’s largest parks to grieve and remember George Floyd at the City’s largest parks including: Judkins Park, Pratt Park, Powell Barnett Park, Crown Hill Park, Maple Leaf Reservoir, Othello Park, John C. Little Park, Sam Smith Park, Jimi Hendrix Park, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park, Jefferson Park, Genesee Park, Hubbard Homestead Park, Green Lake Park, Lincoln Park, and Westcrest Park. SPR crews will ensure that parks that historically have seen gatherings will be accessible and open.
Other city departments’ preparations are listed in the full news release.
4:41 PM: Among those whose comments we’ve received, Seattle-King County NAACP president Carolyn Riley-Payne, whose statement includes;
“… this is just one verdict, and it came only after a summer of nearly non-stop mass protest, with echoes of Mr. Floyd’s last words, ‘I can’t breathe,’ filling streets from Seattle to Washington, D.C. It should not take a national movement to secure justice for a single Black man killed by a police officer. But it did, and it will.
“Because we know that our work is not done, that Black and brown people continue to be targeted, assaulted and killed by police every day, and that they rarely see justice. We see it in our backyard, in King County, where Black and Indigenous people are killed at a vastly disproportionate rate. We live in an America where white people can storm the U.S. Capitol and go home safe and unarmed, while Black and brown people are effectively sentenced to death for counterfeit dollar bills and loose cigarettes.
“It has to stop. We cannot accept the status quo. It is time to end policing in Seattle and King County as we know it and build a new system that honors Black and brown lives. As our community celebrates this rare victory tonight, we must channel our emotion into sustained action. …”
Many politicians have sent statements. This one is from the State Senate Members of Color Caucus (which includes 34th District State Sen. Joe Nguyen):
““Words cannot undo the deep wound that George Floyd’s murder left in his family, in his community, in Black communities here in our state and across the nation. They cannot undo the actions of the man who ended his life. They cannot erase the history of racism and racial violence that blinded that man to George Floyd’s humanity, and gave him such a sense of impunity that he believed he could snuff out another person’s life without consequences.
“But today: George Floyd’s killer did face consequences. We use our words now to commend this outcome – a just verdict and rare accountability, for George Floyd’s loved ones and Black Americans in our state and country – but also to reiterate our commitment to making sure that justice is not rare. That accountability is not uncertain. That another father, friend, or neighbor is not another victim. That Black Lives Matter.
“Words cannot undo what went wrong – but they can set us on the path to what is right. As the Senate Members of Color Caucus, we use our words to advocate for sustained, systemic change – for Black and brown communities, for historically marginalized communities, for every single Washingtonian. …”
4:49 PM: City and community leaders are having a media briefing right now; Seattle Channel is streaming it here.
5:53 PM: The city event is over. The first West Seattle gathering that we heard of was the regular twice-weekly BLM-supporter sign-waving at 16th/Holden, which has continued for months; a WSB crew talked with participants about today’s verdict and we’ll have that story later this evening. Meantime, a commenter says there’s a candlelight vigil happening on Alki.
Alicia reports that more than 50 students, family members, and staff participated. Delridge is torn up in front of their school, so they gathered along Sylvan Way, outside High Point Neighborhood House.
Alicia adds, “We enjoyed the honking horns and waves from passing cars!”
PTA-sponsored Black Lives Matter Demonstration
The STEM PTA is excited to sponsor a Black Lives Matter demonstration organized by the Black Student Union. STEM BSU would love for families to join us in the conclusion of our BLM week of action. We will be meeting at the High Point Neighborhood House between 2:30-4:00 Friday to lift an affirmative voice for Black lives. Come with uplifting signs or posters and join us as we celebrate the Black Lives Matter movement. Be sure to wear a mask and socially distance during this event. Parents are to remain with their children for the whole of the demonstration.
High Point Neighborhood House is at 6400 Sylvan Way SW [map].
Any other Black Lives Matter At School events in West Seattle? email@example.com – thank you!
If you were in The Junction early this afternoon, you might have seen members of West Seattle Neighbors for Peace and Justice at multiple corners of California/Alaska (including the two in our photo). They say not enough people know about the international nuclear-weapons ban that has just taken effect. They were handing out this explanation of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The United Nations initiated the treaty in 2017, to take effect on January 22, 2021 – this past Friday – if more than 50 countries ratified it. So far, more than 80 countries have signed on, with 52 ratifying the treaty – but the U.S. and other nuclear-armed nations are not among them … so far.
9:57 PM: Thanks for the tips. What was described as a parade of honking cars and yelling people is in North Delridge. According to scanner traffic, they’ve arrived in City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda‘s neighborhood. She chairs the council’s Budget Committee, and tomorrow the council is scheduled to finalize a budget. Advocates of police “defunding” are not pleased because the proposed cuts/changes aren’t anywhere near the 50 percent they want to see.
10:22 PM: Police are monitoring this and have just radioed that the group has since headed up Genesee to SB Avalon.
10:34 PM: Now they’re in Council President Lorena González‘s Junction neighborhood.
11:11 PM: A neighbor says they’ve moved on.
11:23 PM: Scanner confirms what a commenter said – they’re now in Highland Park, Councilmember Lisa Herbold‘s neighborhood. (All three of the West Seattle-residing councilmembers had been visited by protesters earlier this year, when the focus was on “rebalancing” the budget.)
12:20 AM: Per SPD on Twitter, they’ve moved on. Police also tweeted this video from the earlier Junction arrival
Now northbound on 44th Ave SW from SW Oregon St. pic.twitter.com/aUdEaKHM9N
— Seattle Police Dept. (@SeattlePD) November 23, 2020
First, thanks for the tips on this:
PROTEST TONIGHT: “Override/for Black lives’ was the chant of that group outside City Councilmember Lisa Herbold‘s house in Highland Park this evening. That’s a reference to a decision the council has to make soon – whether to override Mayor Jenny Durkan‘s veto of three recent bills, including the budget-rebalancing bill with Seattle Police budget cuts. Council President Lorena González noted earlier this month that the law requires the council to reconsider vetoed legislation, while saying that wouldn’t happen sooner than next Monday (September 21st). About a dozen people were gathered when we stopped by after reader tips.
The group sponsoring this, the Coalition of Anti-Racist Whites, is not the same group that visited Herbold’s house twice before as well as other elected officials in West Seattle and elsewhere in the city; that’s the Every Day March. That group does have a West Seattle event coming up this weekend:
PROTEST SATURDAY: If you haven’t seen this in our calendar (which we’re slowly reviving) – the Every Day March group has announced a Youth March on Alki this Saturday (September 19th), gathering at Alki Playfield/Whale Tail Park at 1 pm. From the announcement:
“We fight every single day for a better future for our youth. Which is why we’ve decided to do a kid-friendly march to get our youth involved! … We have planned the safest march down the Alki strip for the youth to lead.”
Just outside Westwood Village this afternoon, QFC workers who are members of UFCW Local 21 demonstrated in support of “hazard pay” for themselves and other “essential workers.” It’s a national week of action on that topic, according to the union, which says QFC’s parent corporation Kroger “cut hazard pay” by mid-May. They are also advocating for the right to wear Black Lives Matter buttons on the job:
The union says stores have an inconsistent policy on the buttons and that some workers have been told not to wear them. Community members who heard about this came to this afternoon’s protest to show support:
We’re checking with the company on both issues.
8:46 PM: For the eighth time in about a month, the Seattle Evening March protesters are in West Seattle. Last time their daily march was here, they walked from Westwood Village to the Southwest Precinct. Before that, they visited city and county elected officials. Tonight, the group gathered at 44th and Oregon and just headed out of the lot yet. Here’s a stream.
9:04 PM: They are currently on Genesee Hill.
9:20 PM: The march has reached its destination, which they say is the home of Seattle Police Officers Guild president Mike Solan.
9;50 PM: If he’s home, he hasn’t come out to speak with the group (in their previous WS marches, they have talked to three city councilmembers – two of them twice – and the county executive).
9:55 PM: The group has left, headed back toward The Junction.
9:58 AM: That’s one of the signs Ruth says you’ll see at the Westwood Village Post Office (2721 SW Trenton) at 11 am today. She just sent word of a protest planned there as part of the nationwide “day of action,” with USPS supporters rallying outside post offices at 11 am local time. (The nationwide lookup doesn’t [yet] show any planned events in West Seattle.)
12:10 PM: We went to WWV about half an hour ago to see how it turned out:
In the other Washington today, the U.S. House is considering a bill that would reverse some recent USPS changes.
2:12 PM: Just learned that a group gathered at the Post Office in The Junction, too.
Thanks to Alison for sending the photo!
8:53 PM: The protest group that’s been in West Seattle multiple recent nights, taking the Evening March to elected officials’ homes, is in the area again tonight, this time gathering at and heading out from Westwood Village. They have at least one streamer with them, so you should be able to watch the Seattle Protest Network stream.
9:16 PM: The group is now northbound on Delridge Way.
9:37 PM: The group is approaching the Southwest Precinct. In the nearby residential neighborhoods, their chanting focused on gentrification.
9:50 PM: They’ve gathered outside the precinct, in the plaza … writing on the pavement. The leaders told supporters not to damage anything. You’ll recall the precinct’s windows were boarded up weeks ago; the boards have since been painted black.
10:30 PM: Chalked messages cover the window boards by the precinct’s public entrance; streamers are showing some of them, including the names of people killed by police. They’re also spelling SUMMER in flower petals and tealight candles, after Summer Taylor, a group member killed during a protest earlier this summer. (added) The previous stream link has moved on to Portland, so if you’re interested in the Southwest Precinct demonstration, it’s still on ConcreteReporting.com.
11:15 PM: The group is leaving the precinct.
(Aerial photo courtesy Paul Weatherman)
It’s been 2 1/2 months since West Seattle photographer Paul Weatherman took that aerial photo of the June 6th Black Lives Matter protest in The Junction; we featured it in our coverage. But today, it’s turning up on some social-media feeds, mislabeled and uncredited. This first came to our attention last night when a reader pointed out that President Trump had retweeted someone’s tweet claiming the photo was from a protest about mail-in voting:
Though the original tweet was apparently meant as a joke – for one, our state has had mail-in voting for years, and for two, the tweeting account describes itself as humorous – the presidential retweet drew corrections, pointing out the photo had appeared in our June story.
We mentioned all this on the WSB Twitter account last night and were just going to leave it at that until we got an inquiry this morning from an organization identifying itself as a “Facebook fact-checking partner.” The email noted that the tweet has been reposted on THAT platform, and they wanted to verify the actual source/truth of the photo. So we thought we had better make a note here too.
9:07 PM: The Everyday March activist group’s Evening March is back in West Seattle tonight, sixth time in a little more than two weeks. On July 24th and August 3rd, they went to City Councilmember Lisa Herbold‘s home in Highland Park; July 27th, to Council President Lorena González‘s home in The Junction; July 30th, to County Executive Dow Constantine‘s home in west Admiral; August 2nd, to City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda‘s home in North Delridge. Each of those nights, the elected officials came outside and spent up to an hour talking with the march’s leaders, mostly about police “defunding.” Tonight is the eve of the City Council’s final vote on initial cuts to the SPD budget (nowhere near the 50 percent this group and others want). We don’t yet know tonight’s destination, but the Evening March asked participants – including the car and bike brigade that block traffic as they march – to meet at West Seattle High School, which they just left. Updates to come; if livestreamers are with them tonight, a stream is likely t turn up here.
9:17 PM: Chanting and drumming, the marchers and their car/bike escorts are southbound on California, inviting spectators ‘march with us.’
(Video courtesy John Bennett)
9:45 PM: Still southbound, approaching The Junction.
10 PM: They’re arriving in CM Gonzalez’s neighborhood now. (And yes, there’s a stream – follow the link above.)
10:08 PM: She has come out to speak with them, while cautioning that she’s feeling “a little under the weather.”
10:46 PM: They’re still talking, with the group seated on the ground and González on the stairs (for audio, you’ll have to switch over to the Evening March’s Instagram live feed), but it’s focused more on technicalities, from “out-of-order” layoffs to the consent decree to future SPD contract negotiators. …. A few minutes, it grows emotional as they berate her for not listening years earlier.
11:14 PM: After more than an hour, and other topics including education funding, the conversation has concluded. Organizers have told marchers they’ll caravan back in cars, rather than walking back to WSHS. (Added: One of tonight’s streamers, PCOMG, has the march video archived here – the conversation begins 1 hour in.)
8:53 PM: For the fifth time in 11 nights, the Evening March protest group is in West Seattle again tonight. Last night, they were in North Delridge, outside City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda‘s home; before that, dating back to Friday, July 24th, they’ve been to the homes of City Councilmembers Lisa Herbold in Highland Park and Lorena González in The Junction, as well as County Executive Dow Constantine in west Admiral. Each of those elected officials came out to talk with them. Tonight, they gathered at and just left from Highland Park Elementary, which might mean a return to Herbold’s home. A livestreamer with them is being featured here. Updates to come.
9:22 PM: They are at Herbold’s house and she is coming out to talk with them – for the second time in a week and a half.
9:42 PM: She’s seated on the pavement talking with the group’s leaders. Main topic is what happened when armed neighbors blocked them from going to SPD Chief Carmen Best‘s house in Snohomish
last Saturday night. (added) Herbold noted that in her work as a community organizer in other states many years ago, she had organized protests at the homes of “people in power.”
10:03 PM: The conversation turned to the council’s proposed SPD cuts/changes and Herbold is explaining why they can’t cut as drastically and quickly as activists want. (added) As other councilmembers have told the group, the process of determining next year’s budget starts in six weeks, and that’s where they might be able to do more.
10:24 PM: The conversation has wrapped up.
10:55 PM: They’re now marching back to the school, where they started the evening. (Cars and bikes caravan with them.)
ADDED: Here’s the video that Malcontentment Tango streamed, including the conversation with Herbold.