On June 12th, our silence was louder than ever.
More than 85,000 of us gathered at Judkins Park for the March of Silence to honor Black Lives lost. Black youth in the front. Allies bringing up the back. Whether you joined us in person, online, or in the months since, you’ve helped us carry the fight, demanding accountability and change.
Black people in our city and county, across the country, and around the world are not waiting. We are seizing this moment in history, in our country’s consciousness. We are renewing our demands for protection and liberation.
In the months leading up to and since that moment of coming together, we struck, sued, and won. With you, we are creating seismic change for the whole of Black Life at the City, County, and State levels.
BLMSKC has been working, with our community, for seismic change since 2017.
In the City of Seattle
We partnered with the ACLU and protestors who suffered from callous and excessive force by the Seattle Police Department to file a suit against the SPD and Mayor Jenny Durkan that secured a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO). It halted the use of chemical and projectile weapons against peaceful protesters in the city.
We held SPD and the Office of Police Accountability (OPA) accountable for the alleged use of chemical weapons after implementation of the TRO—as well as for additional alleged abuses of power that put our community at risk during last summer’s protests—by filing for an investigation into SPD and OPA by the Office of the Inspector General.
And, we filed for an investigation into Seattle City Council through the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission. We’ve demanded a probe into issues involving potential pressure on City employees and members of the public during recent protests; into whether the Council was informed about safety issues around those protests; and into how Council was influenced in recent budget and policing proposals.
Systemic racism has long kept Black and other communities of color from exercising the oversight that is our right. Not everyone has the time or resources or experience to demand an investigation when one is needed. Holding police and elected officials accountable is part of how we show them that we’re paying attention. Public oversight is how we back up our demands for answers and information.
And yet, filing for investigations doesn’t necessarily mean we have faith that the system will ultimately do the right thing. It means we have faith in our community to point out where the system is failing, and to demand better.
In King County
We worked with King County Executive Constantine and Public Health to, finally, secure the declaration that racism is a public health crisis in King County.
We cannot have healthy Black communities in King County without a healthy Black community in Seattle. Our lives are intertwined. And so we also brought Seattle City Councilmember Debora Juarez, Mayor Jenny Durkan, Executive Dow Constantine, and community leaders working across King County together to commit to collaboration in investing in Black-led wellness.
Alongside Black activists, we worked with King County Executive Constantine and Public Health to secure a long-fought commitment to end youth incarceration by 2025.
By continuing to work with Executive Constantine, Public Health, and community partners, we aim to ensure a successful closure of the youth jail and ensure that budget formerly allocated to jailing youth is successfully reinvested in education, housing, mental health, and arts programming.
Finally, we know we cannot serve our young people by introducing them to the criminal justice system on their first day of School. We are working with the City and County to pull police out of schools and end the school-to-prison pipeline.
In Washington State
Our leadership served alongside others to pass I-940, and worked with Governor Jay Inslee to institute state control and oversight of police conduct, force, and homicide.
We organized the largest state-wide general strike in Seattle and in Washington state since 1919 as part of the March of Silence in June— focusing the nation on the value and urgent necessity of Black-led movements.
And in solidarity with our partners in labor and people across the state, we mobilized Washingtonians to #StrikeforBlackLives in July and demanded our elected and appointed leaders take action for our families and communities.
Finally, our supporters have raised and reinvested $639,580 in Black-led organizations and efforts in our community.
Together, we will continue to fight for Black Lives. Read our Demands for more on our focus in the months to come.
With Your Help
With your help, in the City of Seattle we:
- Forced the City of Seattle to withdraw its legal obstruction of efforts by community to hold the City accountable for the killings of Charleena Lyles and Damarius Butts;
- Forced the City to withdraw its legal obstruction of continued oversight of the Seattle Police Department, under Consent decree for racist, excessive use of force;
- Forced the Office of the Mayor to formally recognize that a civil emergency exists due to protests in support of saving Black lives, and the Black lives movement;
- Filed suit against the City of Seattle and police department for violations against protester rights through a TRO to halt the use of chemical and projectile weapons against obviously peaceful protesters;
- Organized an historic, silent march of more than 85,000 people who demanded accountability for, and solidarity with Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County and the Black Lives Movement;
- Instigated an investigation into the Office of Police Accountability by the Office of the Inspector General;
- Instigated an investigation into a rogue faction of officers in the Seattle Police Department by the Office of the Inspector General;
- And instigated an investigation by the SEEC into the actions of City Council.
- We baked-in community oversight and input in the SPD bargaining agreement;
- Forced the city to reclaim nearly $7M in property in historic Black Seattle (known as the Central District) and return it to Black folks for wellness, care, and housing;
- Instigated a $100m City-wide BIPOC taskforce for BIPOC health and human services;
- Secured the first ever funded and staffed City of Seattle African American Commission;
- And removed Police from Seattle schools.
With your help, in King County we:
- Ended cash bail in King County;
- Expunged marijuana convictions, fines and fees;
- Defunded King County Sheriff, moving Marijuanna tax to a community run investment fund;
- Secured new resources for comprehensive and uniform tracking of hate and bias crimes, incidents, and complaints in King County;
- Overhauled the inquest process for police deadly force in King County;
- Had racism declared a public health crisis at the County level;
- Ended youth incarceration in King County;
- Closed the adult detention center in Seattle due to ongoing and suspicious deaths of Black men and trans people;
- And defunded police from several school districts.
With your help, in Washington State we:
- Helped pass I-940, working with Governor Inslee to institute state control and oversight of police conduct, force, and homicide;
- Served on a statewide task force for police oversight;
- Organized the largest state-wide general strike in Seattle and in Washington state since 1919;
- Organized the largest single day statewide day of action and advocacy for Black lives, ever;
- Ended punitive public transportation fare enforcement, shifting dollars from private security to “everyone gets a pass” [bus] pass program;
- And successfully advocated for State Patrol to take over specific inquests from local law enforcement in specific jurisdictions.