SEATTLE — Thousands of protesters marched silently through the streets of South Seattle on Friday. The crowd stretched on for miles –— marching for racial equality, against police brutality, and in memory of black lives.
Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County organized the march and the organization estimated that 60,000 people participated, with tens of thousands more across the state.
“This (silence) is a way to honor those who’ve lost their lives to police brutality and institutional racism,” said Ebony Miranda, chair of BLM Seattle-King County.
But the afternoon started at Judkins Park with voices loud, passionate, and strong.
“We’re here to fix a broken system,” the first speaker said. “Politicians’ backs are against the wall all over the nation. People have to listen to us. They have to make change. We have found there is power in the community,” he said.
Dozens of businesses also shut down Friday across the Seattle area to support black lives and let their employees join the movement, and to honor Black Lives Matter’s call for a strike.
The march lasted for hours, as protesters made their way to Jefferson Park on 23rd Ave. S. –— a forceful show of how many people believe in the cause.
“I would’ve traveled to the mountains to get here. This was something so important,” said Amanda Scott, one of the marchers.
Plans for the march and the statewide strike were announced last weekend after officials met with Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan to present a list of demands.
Here are the demands they presented:
“We demand that all law enforcement at demonstrations turn on their bodycams and leave them on throughout the entirety of their shift. With that, we understand that this is only the beginning of this conversation. Per the ACLU, we want the access and use of the recorded data from bodycams to be taken out of the hands of the police. Furthermore, more regulations must be put in place into how this data is distributed.”
Mayor Durkan agreed to this demand.
"We demand the city divest $100 million in the police budget that would be used for militarized weapons and equipment and reinvest those funds in de-escalation teams, street outreach, crisis intervention teams, mental health diversion teams, housing, and PPE - Mayor Durkan agrees to a divestment that is reinvested in our community needs. It was also agreed that $100 million may not be enough to meet the needs.
"We demand the end of sweeping homeless encampments, as it violates CDC guidelines in treating and supporting people and families experiencing homelessness - Mayor has a tentative plan that includes housing/shelter options. ULMS would be interested in continuing the discussion with the Mayor’s office as they have more data to share on the matter.
“We demand that the City of Seattle drop the Inquest Lawsuit with King County - The Mayor will be speaking with the City Attorney about this matter.
”We demand that Community Oversight be a part of the police contract bargaining process - The Mayor mentioned the CPC expressed this also. We shared that the community will need a better relationship with the CPC and that we, BLM, are willing to assist with.
“We demand the city of Seattle to develop a fully funded and staffed Black Commission to address these and further issues in the future - Mayor Durkan agrees to its formation, staffing and funding support of the commission.”
Watch a replay of Saturday’s news conference: