‘We all have a lot of work to do,’ says Seattle rally organizer
Leaders in Seattle’s black community spoke out Sunday, denouncing violence and looting that took place during protests across the region over the weekend, while calling for justice for the death of George Floyd.
“I heard the call for justice and unity with other communities of color, and the call for working collectively for dismantling racism,” Seattle Central College’s Dr. Sheila Edwards Lange said. “But I also saw groups of mostly white men, clearly not there for the message of hope and healing, and definitely not there for the memory of George Floyd.”
That message was echoed by both city and state leaders, as well as Andre Taylor with “Not This Time!,” who organized the peaceful rally in downtown Seattle Saturday.
“Out of those 10,000-plus people who came to the ‘Not This Time!’ rally … there was not one incident of violence,” he stated. “So whatever (looters) were doing, we were not deterred by it. We don’t allow lawlessness — we hate it just as much as any community. If there’s lawlessness going on, the SPD has a responsibility to ensure that it is quelled.”
“My message is for that demographic who Trump calls thugs, who I call family, to let them know that you have somebody on your side fighting for you,” he added. “… When I am here, you are here as well.”
Despite curfews in both Bellevue and Seattle, peaceful protesters moved through each city well into the night Sunday. However, just blocks over in Bellevue, looters broke into Lincoln Square, Bellevue Square, The Bravern, and into small shops.
That was part of tactics many viewed as a distraction from the core message of the weekend’s protests.
“We understand with COVID-19 as widespread as it is, there is another pandemic that we as a community must come to grips with — that pandemic is the pandemic of racism,” said First African Methodist Episcopal Church Pastor Carey Anderson.
Protests are expected to resume again across the Puget Sound region Monday afternoon.
“Don’t turn off your TVs — stay engaged, because we all have a lot of work to do,” Taylor said.