Mutual Aid Groups Try To Keep Unhoused Neighbors Alive In The Snow

While the City of Seattle swept her home at Ballard Commons, an unhoused woman cried out to the city workers, mutual aid groups, and other community members packing up the park.

“Why don’t they come up with a solution that actually makes sense?” she said of the city. “Put people indoors. Do they think we want to be out here in the middle of winter? No! We’re not crazy.”

That was three weeks ago. It was 40 degrees that day.

Monday, Dec. 27, the city shivered under a high of 23 degrees, the coldest day in 31 years. The risk associated with hypothermia in the cold weather was greater than the risk of contracting COVID-19, according to Public Health – Seattle & King County. That afternoon, Dr. Stephen Morris, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at UW Medicine, told the Seattle Times that Harborview Medical Center saw one cold weather-related death, two “critically ill” patients, and approximately six people admitted for hypothermia.

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Seattle Vigil Against Racist Medical Negligence

Hundreds of protesters gathered at Westlake Park in Seattle on the afternoon of July 24 for the Healthcare Equity March. This was the most recent of a series of protests centered around Kaloni Bolton, a 12-year-old Black girl who died tragically at the beginning of this year as a result of medical negligence.

The protests have been organized by Kaloni’s family and local organization Decolonizing Science, who Kaloni’s mother and aunt Kristina Williams and Francis Bowman say have been very helpful in bringing people out. Williams and Bowman spoke with Liberation News to bring attention to Kaloni’s story.

On December 29, 2020, Kaloni’s older sister brought her to the Renton Landing Urgent Care clinic in Renton, Washington, run by Valley Medical Center of University of Washington Medicine.

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Seattle Votes To Guarantee Lawyers For Renters Facing Eviction

The Seattle City Council unanimously voted Monday to guarantee free legal counsel to poor tenants facing eviction, a system similar to the right to representation already enshrined in the country’s criminal courts.

In passing the measure, members of the council hope to keep as many people in their current homes as possible and avoid the devastating and expensive downstream consequences — including homelessness — that often follow when someone is forcibly removed from where they live.

“This legislation will not enough be itself and we know that we need a lot more,” said Councilmember Kshama Sawant, who originally proposed the legislation. “We know that eviction destroys communities, wrecks households and even kills.”

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Seattle Police And Protesters Locked In Stalemate

December 16, 2020 – Seattle Police appeared to be a no-show for a planned homeless encampment sweep at Cal Anderson Park, as the rain started to fall on a cold December afternoon. Activists built an elaborate series of barricades around the central part of Cal Anderson Park, encompassing the Shelter House and blocking sections of 11th Ave and Nagle Place. Protesters took inspiration from Red House on Mississippi in Portland with their ongoing action to prevent the homeless sweep.

As dawn rose over Seattle, spirits were high as mutual aid fed the unhomed and activists. Someone set off a firework in the early morning hours, creating tension in the encampment.

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Investments Should Be ‘Determined By The Community’

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan is pledging $100 million from the city’s general fund to invest in communities of color. But where is that money going to go? And who is going to advise the mayor’s office on how it should be spent?

Sean Goode, the executive director of Choose 180, a local organization that provides alternatives to incarceration for young people, was asked to be part of the task force that will look into how this money should be spent. He has since declined the invitation.

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Seattle Just Defunded Its Police — Sort Of

After a summer of explosive demonstrations that saw protesters take over several city blocks for weeks, the Seattle City Council approved a budget “revision” package on Monday that will cut $3 million from the police budget and eliminate up to 100 positions from the department. The move both fell far short of the demands of activists, and was so forcefully opposed by the city’s establishment that the police chief resigned almost immediately.

Seattle police chief Carmen Best wrote a letter to members of the department announcing her retirement late Monday, effective September 2.

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Judge Blocks Seattle’s Ban On Crowd Control Weapons

A federal judge late Friday halted the implementation of a Seattle ban on police use of tear gas, pepper spray and other so-called less lethal weapons used for crowd control. His decision gives more latitude to law enforcement to use the tools ahead of what could be a weekend of protests, as federal agents arrive in Seattle with the stated orders of protecting federal property.  

A separate court injunction against use of the crowd control weapons remains in place, although that order allows for their targeted and limited deployment in certain circumstances. 

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Amazon Taxed! Lessons Of The Tax Amazon Victory In Seattle

The Tax Amazon movement and Seattle’s working class won a historic victory on Monday, July 6. Following a three year struggle against the richest man in the world – Jeff Bezos – and his political establishment, we’ve won a tax on big business in the Seattle City Council that will raise an estimated $210-240 million a year, creating tens of thousands of green union jobs by building permanently affordable social housing.

This victory was entirely due to the power of our movement and our threat to take the Amazon Tax to the ballot if the City Council failed to act. This offensive win is a historic example of the power of class struggle, and it could not come at a better time. Cities and states across the country are pushing extreme austerity budgets in response to the pandemic-triggered budget shortfalls as we enter into another deep crisis of capitalism.

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How Protester Occupations Can Succeed

There are examples of where occupying a piece of land has resulted in success. It involves taking control of real property and that property is not critical to the needs of another community. It literally moves a protesting groups’ objective from being against a number of social and political existing conditions to wanting a real physical object in order to better mobilize a community to change those conditions. It moves from controlling an open public space, which may have little or no connection to directly addressing their grievances, to controlling a particular building to help them pursue those grievances. By making that change, leadership and an organization are required to focus on a finite, measurable, and achievable goal.

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Seattle: Get Police Out Of Handling Homeless

The National Coalition to End Urban Indigenous Homelessness wrote to the mayor of Seattle this week demanding the removal of the Seattle police department from a team handling homelessness.

It recommended that the $2.6 million that goes to police to address the issue instead go to organizations that specialize in serving Indigenous people experiencing homelessness.

Coalition partners Chief Seattle Club, Mother Nation, Seattle Indian Health Board and United Indians of All Tribes Foundations signed the Wednesday letter.

“Police officers are not the best-suited to respond to our homeless community’s needs,” Mike Tulee, Yakama, executive director of United Indians of All Tribes Foundation, said in a statement.

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Seattle Activists Share Their Vision For Black Trans Pride

In recent years, trans issues have broken into the mainstream. It didn’t happen overnight; it’s been a long time coming. Trans activists have been at the center of the fight for LGBTQ rights since before Stonewall, decrying discrimination and violence against their peers for decades.

Now, between Pride Month and protests centering on Black lives, these issues are in the spotlight again. Black trans activists have taken to social media and the streets, bringing attention in particular to the growing number of murdered Black trans women within their community.

For many who’ve criticized the commodification of Pride, it’s been a welcome shakeup. Crosscut spoke to four Black trans organizers who’ve witnessed and been part of this evolution.

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Seattle Mayor Orders Police Clearing Of Capitol Hill Occupy Protest

Seattle, WA – The Seattle Police Department (SPD) moved into the “Capitol Hill Organized Protest” (CHOP) zone and returned to the department’s East Precinct early Wednesday morning after abandoning the building three weeks ago.

Officers arrested at least 31 people by 9:25 a.m. for failure to disperse, obstruction, resisting arrest, and assault.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan issued a 48-hour executive order for protesters to vacate the area due to the ongoing violence and public safety issues in the area of the East Precinct and Cal Anderson Park. Mayor Durkan’s order declared the gathering as an “unlawful assembly” that required immediate action.

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Life And Times At The Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone

Over the past few weeks we have witnessed one of the largest uprisings in recent US history. The police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, brought millions of people in the US and around the world out into the streets in aggressive demonstrations. In cities across the country, police precincts were set on fire, corporate stores looted, and as the police turned their sights on the protests, the numbers only grew.

In Seattle, Washington, confrontations with protesters in a gentrified part of the city known as Capitol Hill led to law enforcement’s retreat from their office. Organizers and community members advanced on the area and transformed this eight-block segment of the neighborhood into a collective space, which they soon called the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ). nI spoke with two organizers of the CHAZ about what drew them there, how it has been working, and where they hope to go with the project. Both are using pseudonyms, one going by Officer CHAZ (OCHAZ) and the other going by Frank Ascaso (FA).

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Nightly Rally To Seattle’s West Precinct Takes Detour, Shuts Down I-5

Every night around 7 pm, demonstrators now march from the Capitol Hill Organized Protest to the Seattle Police Department’s West Precinct. The downhill rally culminates with a handful of speakers who speak out against police brutality. Tonight, the rally ended with an unexpected detour—onto I-5. Speakers spoke on the steps of the West Precinct on Virginia Street for around 30 minutes. There were no police in sight, only a barricade set up in anticipation of the rally.

Demonstrators spoke on a bullhorn about SPD’s use of tear gas, calling it a war crime and demanding justice. Organizer David Lewis talked about being “pepper-sprayed and gassed for two weeks for this change with you.”

“It is your voice, it is your feat, it is your bodies that has earned us an audience with the mayor on a weekly basis,” he continued. “A lot of the voices here are demanding for change and we will have it.”

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