Editor’s note: The following list of demands by Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County, which has been widely published, was read aloud at a Vashon march held on June 12 and attended by 1,100 islanders. For email addresses and suggested content to urge elected and other officials to meet these demands, and for more information, visit blacklivesseattle.org.
We demand that racism be declared a public health crisis in Washington state.
We demand this crisis be addressed through a seismic change in policing, community wellness, justice, youth justice, and education. Specifically, we demand:
Defund the police now.
The city must divest at least $100 million from the police budget, with an emphasis on divesting from militarization. We call for:
- A renegotiated police union contract with a focus on community oversight and accountability for officers regardless of seniority.
- A community-selected director of the Office of Police Accountability by 2021.
- De-escalation training for individual officers and specialized teams—de-escalation should be the default for every police interaction.
- An independent body to investigate all allegations of misconduct and police brutality, not only those that result in death.
- Mental health care for officers.
- Demilitarization of the Seattle Police Department; SPD must relieve itself of the military surplus and refuse to purchase or accept additional military equipment.
- A shift of funding from police budgets into community services and community capital, resulting in a smaller force and more civilian jobs.
Send an email to Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and the Seattle City Council demanding to defund the police.
Community wellness now.
Black people thrive when Black people are well. We call for budget formerly devoted to policing be shifted to:
- Culturally responsive, community-centric mental health and wellness services.
- Street outreach for social services, informed by de-escalation, to build not only community health but community trust.
- More housing with affordable rents to end the homelessness crisis, along with an end to encampment sweeps.
Send an email to Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and the Seattle City Council demanding community wellness.
A justice system that works for us.
A legal system grounded in racism will never deliver equal treatment under the law. We call for:
- Dedicated city, county, and state resources to address hate and bias crimes, especially against LGBTQ+ and BIPOC residents.
- Ending cash bail.
- Release of those in Seattle and Washington incarcerated for marijuana-related offenses, with related convictions expunged.
- Legislation that restores the right to vote for felons as well as those currently incarcerated.
Send an email to Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson and others demanding a justice system that works for us.
No new youth jail.
We do not serve our children, especially Black, Indigenous and other children of color by focusing our energy and resources on their serving time. We call for:
- Closing the incarceration unit at the Patricia Hall Clark Children and Family Justice Center’s incarceration unit.
- Transformation of that facility into a community resource.
- Reallocation of budget for jailing youth to education, housing, mental health, and arts programming.
Send an email demanding no new youth jail to County Executive Dow Constantine.
Dismantling the school to prison pipeline and fully funding education by a capital gains tax by 2021.
We must erase the educational inequities that harm Black youth from Day One. In Seattle, we demand:
- Permanent dismantling of the school-to-prison pipeline.
- Removal of police from school campuses, including student resource officers.
- An end to Behavioral Modification classification for Black and Brown children.
- Student-led creation of a Student’s Bill of Rights that centers the needs of Black, Brown, Indigenous, and ESL students and students experiencing homelessness, as well as students with special needs.
Equitable and full funding for districts across Washington state to provide:
- Free full-time preschool and kindergarten for all Washington children;
- Recess, PE, and music instruction;
- Technology access for all students, including one-to-one laptops for middle school and high school students by 2025;
- A full-time nurse in every school.
- Improved graduation rates for all children, including and especially BIPOC students.
Send an email demanding that we dismantle the school to prison pipeline and fully fund education to Chris Reykdal, Washington Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Do you have similar demands? Here are the most important things you can do:
- Complete the census at 2020census.gov.
- Completing the census brings resources and political power to our communities. We must all be counted and show who we are, and where we are.
- Register to vote — and vote on Nov. 3. We determine who represents us. You can ensure it’s someone who understands and implements our demands.
Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County is a grassroots, volunteer-run, social-justice nonprofit organization focused on the empowerment and liberation of Blacks and other people of color through advocacy and direct action. BLM Seattle centers leadership on Black femmes, women, and queer people organizing and taking direct action to dismantle anti-Black systems and policies of oppression. Visit blacklivesseattle.org for more information.