Thousands march and rally in Black Lives Matter protest

by: Deborah Horne Updated:

Black Lives Matter activists gathered on the steps of the federal courthouse, several rows deep to raise their voices in protest over the way people of color are treated around the country.  Some let their signs speak for them. 

"Hear, us, fight for us," Khadija Hassan exhorted the crowd.  "Step up!"

This immigrant from Somalia said she was here speaking for the first time, driven by what she sees happening in her adopted country.

"State violence is not just the police," Hassan, a Somali immigrant, told KIRO 7. "It's also the military.  It is also ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement). Because ICE agents are going into people's neighborhoods.  They are intimidating folks."

"I mean no offense," Michael Wansley told the crowd. "But most white people don't understand what its like to have to walk around wondering if this is the last time you're going to walk out your door."

Also making his Black Lives Matter rally debut was Wansley, a Seattle musician known as "Wanz."

"Next time you go to YouTube, and you find that Macklemore video," Wanz said, "I'm the guy who (says) 'I'm gonna pop some tags. Only got $20 in my pocket.'  That's me."

He brushed aside his own fears of a protest that could turn violent, he said, to speak to the couple of thousand people assembled here.

"And so I had to come out here, and reluctantly was asked to say my piece," he said.

"What do you think of what you heard and what you said and how the audience reacted?"  he was asked.

"I think," he said, pausing for a moment. "We have a lot more in common than we do not have in common."

The abrupt end to the rally -- it was advertised as lasting until 6 Saturday night --  caught even some of the protesters by surprise.   A couple arrived an hour ago, wondering where everyone was.

KIRO 7 doesn't know where the protesters went, but before the organizers said good night, they promised to be back May 1 for what has become a day of protest in the Emerald City.

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