Mass Incarceration

Seattle’s MLK march includes calls for racial equity and social reform

Maintain shifting ahead.

That was the theme Monday as 1000’s gathered at Garfield Excessive College earlier than marching by means of the Central District to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day — 40 years after the federal vacation was signed into legislation and 55 years after the civil rights chief was assassinated.

All through the group, tons of held indicators and wore buttons emblazoned with these three phrases: “Maintain shifting ahead.”

Requires equity in housing and employment, an finish to mass incarceration and — above all — an finish to racial discrimination propelled the day’s speeches and one-on-one conversations.

By late Monday morning, a thick crowd had gathered exterior Garfield whereas, contained in the packed highschool gymnasium, practically 2,000 individuals listened to audio system, together with members of the Black Prisoners’ Caucus — a help group based by incarcerated males in Washington state — and the Rev. Dr. Kelle Brown, senior pastor at Plymouth Church in downtown Seattle, who roused the group with forceful requires financial justice.

“We’ve acquired to help individuals residing paycheck to paycheck, individuals residing in automobiles, individuals residing in locations that aren’t imagined to be liveable,” she thundered. “Let freedom ring from the RVs and tents! From the Black Prisoners’ Caucus! From the place the elders stay! Let freedom ring! Ahead collectively, not one step again!”

The gang roared again — “ahead collectively, not one step again!” — with loud applause and stomping toes. The march started.

Many on the rally mentioned they’d been marching yearly for 10, 20, even 40 years.

Fai Matthews, who lives in Rainier Seaside, mentioned for 40 years she’s by no means missed a neighborhood King celebration.

Now 70, Matthews was in fifth grade when King was killed. “It was devastating — there have been solely 5 Black college students in the entire college,” she mentioned. “It brings tears to my eyes even now to consider what occurred. He was a person that labored so arduous … he needed equal rights for everyone. That’s why it’s necessary for me to march yearly and proceed on that legacy.”

Marchers carried indicators calling for local weather justice, reform of juvenile-detention legal guidelines, the abolition of nuclear weapons — and the ever present “Maintain Transferring Ahead.”

What did that imply to individuals on the march?

“To me, it’s about extra Black individuals being handled equally to white individuals,” mentioned 13-year-old Rosie Sims, who attends Meany Center College. For her father Milton Johnson, who works as a flagger on road-construction tasks, it’s a name for financial alternative. “You’ve acquired to present homeless individuals a spot, and get individuals higher jobs,” he mentioned. “I stay in a studio for $1,200 a month — we want higher alternatives to maintain up with the lease, sustain with the economic system.”

For 30-year-old Alicia Rodriguez, shifting ahead means recognizing the entire of King’s legacy. “Lots of people suppose Martin Luther King was only for Black individuals,” she mentioned. “However he was for all of the oppressed teams: individuals with disabilities, low-income individuals, Hispanic individuals. He was very supportive of Cesar Chavez.”

Andrew James, 62, mentioned he was significantly involved about training, and introduced his teen daughters to study extra about civil rights — previous and current.

“Our college system shouldn’t be instructing them something about our Black historical past,” he mentioned. “I made a decision to deliver my kids with me to point out them that we’re nonetheless combating the struggle.”

The march paused in entrance of the King County Juvenile Detention Heart the place Blaze Vincent — who’d entered the jail system at 17 and served 18 years, ultimately becoming a member of the Black Prisoners’ Caucus — took the microphone.

“All this wants to alter,” he informed the group. “Our children don’t must be caged, they must be cared for. We protest — however we now have to push for coverage adjustments. We’ve acquired to get engaged. We’re in a legislative session proper now! Discover out what district you’re in, determine what y’all need our metropolis to be, our county to be. After which make us do it.”

A number of steps away, towards the sting of the group, Tlingit elder Frieda Eide leaned on a cane, singing together with her drum and dance group, which had accompanied the march from Garfield. For her, “maintain shifting ahead” means doing what she’s been doing for years.

“We’re going to maintain being Indigenous,” she mentioned. “We’re going to help individuals who want it, and maintain doing our factor — being collectively like that is good for us.”

She paused and appeared round on the plenty of individuals gathered for the march. “It’s good for all of us.”

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Tha Bosslady

CREEDD (Creative Resilient Empowered Entrepreneurs and Diversified Dreamers) is a dynamic and purpose-driven platform that I founded with a deep commitment to empowering individuals facing adversity. It serves as a sanctuary where people can find solace, support, and valuable resources to navigate life's challenges while uncovering their true potential. My personal journey of enduring loss, tragedy, and life's complexities propelled me to establish CREEDD with a profound understanding of the human spirit's resilience. Having faced the heart-wrenching loss of my daughter to gun violence, my stepdaughter's survival after losing an eye to domestic violence, and witnessing my only biological son receiving a life sentence for a nonviolent drug crime, I am no stranger to life's darkest moments. In addition to my own struggles, I experienced health challenges that led me to undergo a tracheotomy. The most devastating blow came when my stepdaughter and granddaughter tragically lost their lives in a horrific car accident. Yet, it is precisely through these trials that I gained invaluable insights and unwavering determination to inspire others. CREEDD is more than a community; it's a lifeline for those seeking hope, inspiration, and empowerment. By sharing my personal story and the lessons learned, I aspire to ignite a spark of resilience within every member, encouraging them to rise above their challenges and embrace their unique journeys. At CREEDD, we believe in the transformative power of storytelling. It is through these stories that we connect with others who have endured similar struggles, creating an unbreakable bond of understanding and support. Our platform fosters an environment of empowerment, providing resources, educational content, and opportunities for personal growth. Our ultimate goal is to leave a lasting and positive impact on the lives of those who join CREEDD. We envision a ripple effect of change, where individuals find the courage to rewrite their narratives, rediscover their purpose, and lead lives filled with resilience and fulfillment. Together, we form a community of diverse dreamers, each on their unique path of transformation. At CREEDD, we embrace growth, uplift one another, and become beacons of hope. Join us on this transformative journey and witness the power of unity, compassion, and the unwavering pursuit of living life on purpose, no matter the adversities we face.

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