by Grace Frunk – Ad Manager
Thousands of people came together to march in support of the Black Lives Matter movement On March 4th, at Seattle Central College. Immigration, Juvenile justice, President Trump, White privilege, white supremacy and several other topics were talked about. All ages, all races, anyone who was willing to support the cause, joined together and marched. People saw the march pass by their homes, and shuffled in to join while others just walked outside their doors to show support towards the movement.
Marching and chanting through the streets, constantly sitting down in the roads to explain in details the topics people marched for, this protest remained peaceful and lawful as it traveled through the city of Seattle. Police followed alongside the whole march with bikes, blocking off streets and remaining calm as marchers chanted against the police system.
An important topic that people marched for was to oppose the new youth jail in Seattle. In 2012, voters approved the plan to replace an already existing youth courthouse and detention center. “The design calls for more courtrooms (10, up from seven) and fewer detention beds (112, down from 212) than the existing complex,” said Daniel Beekman, The Seattle Times. The major issue revolved around the youth jail is the concept that black are the most likely to be incarcerated. The idea of a youth jail, through the eyes of an activist, it is negative because youth should be more involved in the arts, sports and education rather than locked away.
As the crowd passed through historic black areas of the City, it lead to the Umojafest Peace center. Omari Tahir-Gerrett spoke to the crowd a little about his life being a civil rights activist and mainly revolved around gentrification (he process of improving an areas so that fits the new middle-class residents’ taste) in Seattle. He elaborated on his belief that Seattle is pricing out long-term residents becoming a form ethnic cleansing. Gerrett talked about his years of work to reverse this “ethnic cleasing.” For example, he is going through the process of establishing an Africatown Seattle Cultural Center.
Uncle Ike’s marijuana dispensary is located behind Mt. Calvary Christian Center. Protestors seek the closure of this shop. Uncle Ike’s shows the injustice that the black community grieves within the criminal justice system. “Millions of Black men and women have been arrested and imprisoned for marijuana related crimes as a part of the war of drugs. Now that legalization is spreading throughout the nation, white owned dispensaries are profiting off business that imprisoned Blacks. Uncle Ike’s location adds insult to injury, nestled right next to Mt. Calvary Church, the shop is in violation of the law which forbids dispensaries to be within a thousand feet of a school, playground, library or church.” Said Amani Seawari from Sawarimi.org. “Take a hike, Uncle Ike” Chanted hundreds as this BLM march brought this is important issue to life.
This march was one big step in the movement of BLM in Washington State. This event was educational to those who watched at home and those who experienced it. This movement was supportive to those who witnessed it and heard about it. This march, might not have comparable to the previous Womxn’s march, though it was just as meaningful and crucial. This movement happened to show the redeveloping USA that Black lives matter.