In a press conference Saturday, board members with Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County (BLMSKC) called for a statewide general strike and silent protest march on Friday, June 12.
BLMSKC has made it very clear that it’s had no part in organizing any of the demonstrations against police brutality that have taken place across Washington over the last eight days, and BLMSKC board member Ebony Miranda said they have not taken this decision lightly.
“We know people will claim our efforts will increase the risks of harm on our community and allies by doing such an action during this time, but I feel that we’re not taking risk,” they said. “We’ve been put at risk. Anti-blackness is a greater threat to our survival. Racism in itself is its own pandemic. It’s killing us. And we are fighting to survive and thrive.”
The organization also announced an updated list of demands they say they delivered to Mayor Jenny Durkan earlier in the day, and they relayed her responses.
Here are the demands and Durkan’s responses, according to BLMSKC board member Marlon Brown:
• Police at demonstrations must turn on body cams and more tightly regulate the data they collect. Durkan agreed.
• Seattle must divest $100 million from the police budget used for “militarized weapons and equipment,” and to reinvest that money into social services. Durkan agreed “to a divestment that is reinvested in our community needs,” and “it was also agreed that $100 million may not be enough to meet the needs,” Brown said. I asked the Mayor’s office for clarity on whether “a divestment” means $100 million, and will update when I hear back.
• Stop the sweeps of homeless people from encampments. Durkan has “a tentative plan that includes housing/shelter options,” Brown said.
• Drop Seattle’s lawsuit against King County over the inquest process. Durkan “will be speaking with the City Attorney about this matter,” Brown said.
• Require that “Community Oversight be a part of the police contract bargaining process.” Durkan “mentioned the Community Police Commission expressed this also,” Brown said.
• Develop and fund a Black Commission in Seattle “to address these and further issues in the future.” Durkan agreed.
Miranda described these demands as a “shortened list,” added there was more work to be done, but credited the Mayor and Seattle Police Department Chief Carmen Best for canceling the curfew, restricting the use of tear gas for the next 30 days, and directing officers to keep their badge numbers visible. They also commended Governor Inslee for initiating an independent review of Pierce County Sheriff’s investigation of the killing of Manuel Ellis.