The Washington Bus joins with many across our state and country in calling for justice in response to the centuries of white supremacy and systemic violence against Black people in America. Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and George Floyd are the most recent names added to a shamefully long list of Black people and other people of color who have been murdered by police. Over the weekend in Seattle, we saw young people leading the disruption of police racism through protest — a physical manifestation of the collective grief, anger, and loss built up over generations of violence against Black and Brown people. These young Washingtonians risked their physical safety in putting their bodies on the line post-curfew; a curfew that was announced only 10 minutes prior to its enforcement.
In response to young people’s outcries for justice and physical witness demanding swift institutional transformation, city, county, and state executive leadership chose to escalate by meeting protestors with police in riot gear and chose to militarize by bringing in the National Guard. Local and national news coverage focuses on the destruction of property and violent protests as the narrative worth highlighting; this is woefully inaccurate. Protecting property should never be the priority over the protection of human life and dignity. Systemic state violence against Black and Brown bodies is the true narrative. Racism kills. Sanctioned police violence must end.
Any statement from elected leaders who are not calling for divestment from the police and military are perpetuating white supremacy. As a non-Black led organization, we stand with our Black community saying that enough is enough. We demand change.
As we commit to this change through a shift in our programs and strategies, we are calling on Governor Inslee, State Legislators, County Executives, Mayors, and City officials across the state to dismantle racist practices in all our institutions that they have authority over by following the demands of our Black communities:
- Remove policing from our schools and shift that funding to hire more counselors and mental health professionals for Black and Brown students.
- Prohibit any use of police funds for militarizing the police force.
- Shift funds from city police departments, county sheriffs, and state patrol to public health, housing, education, and economic efforts focused on Black and Brown communities.
- End detentions and deportations that impact Black immigrants.
- Have City Attorneys stop the prosecution of protesters.
In Seattle, to promote accountability and transparency:
- Cut the Seattle Police Department budget by 50%, and reallocate those funds to support Black and Brown led community police efforts.
- Withdraw the motion to terminate the sustainment plan of the consent decree from federal county.
- Abide by the City of Seattle Policy accountability legislation as was unanimously passed by the Seattle City Council.
- Stop fighting against the formed inquest process of King County
- Require officers to show up to testify when summoned as a part of inquiries when an officer involved killing occurs.
We are at a crossroads as a city and nation. We have the chance to be on the right side of history. We have seen in other cities that a world without police is possible, it’s already here, and it’s already working. Our work is to make it permanent.
Where to donate (if you are able):
Northwest Community Bail Fund https://www.nwcombailfund.org/
Black Lives Matter Seattle/King County https://blacklivesseattle.org/bail-fund/
Not This Time https://www.notthistime.global/donate-today/