President Trump: The specter hanging over Seattle’s MLK rally

Jan 15, 2018, 4:14 PM

Hundreds gathered in a jam-packed gymnasium at Garfield High School for the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day rally on Monday. The theme of the event: Take A Knee For Justice.

The event was organized by the MLK Celebration Committee, but the tone of the speakers, while regularly passionate, was rarely celebratory.

RELATED: Watch thousands march in Seattle on MLK Day 2018

“We are tired of police killing our people in the streets,” said Gerald Hankerson, the president of the Seattle King County chapter of the NAACP.

There were about a dozen speakers at the rally that preceded the march through the Capitol Hill neighborhood and into downtown Seattle. Several of the speakers brought up President Donald Trump during their remarks, including Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan.

“How we went from the president of hope to this president, I will never understand,” Durkan said.

Other speakers levied criticism clearly intended for President Trump, but instead of using his name they referred to him only as “number 45.”

“There is one thing that number 45 did do that I appreciate,” Hankerson said. “He brought us together and he filled up this room.”

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal wasn’t scheduled to speak, but still got a chance to grab the mic and announce her boycott of an upcoming Trump speech.

“I am not going to the State of the Union,” Jayapal said. “We are going to have our own State of the Union.”

The theme of the rally was inspired by the national anthem protest of former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Although the protest inspired widespread accusations that Kaepernick was disrespectful to the flag and veterans, King County Councilmember Larry Gossett said that was never the intention.

In reality, Gossett said, Kaepernick knelt precisely because he took the meaning of the flag and the anthem so seriously.

“What we want to do is get America closer to its true creed,” Gossett said, “It’s true meaning.”

Nikkita Oliver, the former People’s Party candidate for Seattle Mayor, was one of the final speakers of the rally. Even though nearly half the crowd had already filtered out before she started her speech, she still garnered some of the event’s loudest applause.

“I do not hold you or me responsible for the history we were given, but I do believe we are 100 percent culpable for what we do with that history,” Oliver said. “Whether we choose to pursue justice, or choose willful ignorance and give into a sugar-coated image, a sugar-coated dream, of who Dr. King was.”

Mayor Durkan spoke at length about the adversity facing people of color in Seattle and highlighted policy she planned to put forth to enact change.

“We are going to double the number of black men mentoring black boys so we can close the education gap,” Mayor Durkan said. “It’s unacceptable.”

This didn’t stop other speakers at the event from directing barbs her way. Hankerson delivered his remarks immediately after Durkan finished hers, and he referenced the “beautiful speeches” he often hears from people in power, but rarely sees them on the ground, helping.

When Oliver’s allotted speaking time began to expire she didn’t show signs of stopping and offered this explanation as to why.

“They tell me I’ve got one minute left, but Mayor Durkan took more,” Oliver said. “So, I’m going to keep going.”

Oliver competed against Durkan in the last mayoral election, but was knocked out in the primary.

Jason Rantz on AM 770 KTTH
  • listen to jason rantzTune in to AM 770 KTTH weekdays at 3-6pm toThe Jason Rantz Show.

Jason Rantz Show

Jason Rantz

Jason Rantz

Rantz: Seattle School Board hides findings that its members harassed Black staff

Two woke Seattle Public School board directors who claim to be antiracist progressives were found guilty of harassing, intimidating, and bullying Black staff.
1 day ago
KTTH staff

King County Councilmember calls for the re-funding of police

Fresh off his reelection, King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn is calling for the re-funding of police. But will it pass in a Democrat-led council?
12 days ago
Jason Rantz

Rantz: WA Democrat’s anti-gun bill banned 21-gun salute, insulting veterans

In last year's anti-gun bill, Democrats ended up banning the 21-gun salute. It is insulting to our veterans. One lawmaker hopes to change it.
13 days ago
Puyallup mall...
KTTH staff

Rantz: No consequences for burglars who set off fireworks in Puyallup mall

At the South Hill Mall in Puyallup las week, there was a bizarre and somewhat brazen burglary attempt in which fireworks were set off as a diversion.
13 days ago
death rate...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Here’s why WA officials don’t admit COVID death rate is lower than breakthrough case rate

Health officials tout the efficacy of vaccines. They also say virtually nothing about the death rate for unvaccinated COVID patients. Those numbers are nearly identical.
14 days ago
Carmen Best commissioner role...
KTTH staff

Former SPD Chief Carmen Best ‘flattered’ by consideration for NYPD commissioner job

Former SPD Chief Carmen Best spoke to KTTH's Jason Rantz Show to confirm reports that she's in the running for New York's police commissioner role.
14 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
President Trump: The specter hanging over Seattle’s MLK rally