Carolyn Riley-Payne, president of the Seattle King County NAACP, issued the following statement on today’s verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin:
“We are heartened to hear that Derek Chauvin has been found guilty of murder in the death of George Floyd – but we are not satisfied. This verdict shows that the thin blue line of police silence can be broken; that police officers have it within them to stand up and hold their fellow officers accountable; that prosecutors can muster the resources and evidence to secure a guilty verdict against police when they have the will do to so; and that juries are capable of seeing the truth, which is that Black and brown people in America continue to be killed by police for no other reason than the color of their skin.
But this is just one verdict, and it came only after a summer of nearly non-stop mass protest, with echoes of Mr. Floyd’s last words, “I can’t breathe,” filling streets from Seattle to Washington, D.C. It should not take a national movement to secure justice for a single Black man killed by a police officer. But it did, and it will.
Because we know that our work is not done, that Black and brown people continue to be targeted, assaulted and killed by police every day, and that they rarely see justice. We see it in our backyard, in King County, where Black and Indigenous people are killed at a vastly disproportionate rate. We live in an America where white people can storm the U.S. Capitol and go home safe and unarmed, while Black and brown people are effectively sentenced to death for counterfeit dollar bills and loose cigarettes.
It has to stop. We cannot accept the status quo. It is time to end policing in Seattle and King County as we know it and build a new system that honors Black and brown lives. As our community celebrates this rare victory tonight, we must channel our emotion into sustained action. We must fight to secure justice for other victims of police violence. We must remember those here in King County who have lost their lives at the hands of the police: Shaun Suhr, Charleena Lyles, Tommy Le, and too many others. We must strive for a day when holding police accountable is routine. We must not let this day be an anomaly.
And as we honor this moment, we must do so with respect for our community and each other. We must be ready to take action tomorrow.”
Dear Community –
We are writing to express our deep love for and solidarity with our Asian American and immigrant communities, especially during this time of increased xenophobia and want to affirm our commitment to you all always.
We are immensely concerned by the hate and targeting of our Asian American and immigrant communities in Seattle, WA, specifically, and the United States more broadly. Throughout U.S. history many have been the targets of hate, violence, and discrimination for generations. During this time of great economic and social upheaval, many are suffering.
There are those who seek to advance racist ideologies, policies and practices who are taking advantage of fear and pain during this time of crisis. There is a distressing increase of acts of hate targeting Asian American communities. Asian American elders are afraid to be out in public, and there is an increase of vandalism and break-ins of businesses in the Chinatown-International District.
As we stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter and the Defund Movements, we know that we must keep each other safe by showing up for one another with collective care and support. This means caring for and protecting our elders, developing community-based and -led public safety initiatives, being a firm and caring collective presence in neighborhoods where communities are being targeted, supporting our unhoused neighbors in accessing resources and affordable housing, and promoting services which provide mental health and addiction services.
Additionally, we need our leaders to cease the use of anti-Asian terminology as it relates to COVID-19 and speak out against anti-Asian stigma that has incited hate violence against our Asian American and immigrant communities. We must provide resources and caring support to those who are survivors of acts of hate to ensure that they have space to grieve, heal and restore their homes and/or businesses. And lastly, we need a significant increase in language supports, as many preventative and emergency response services are inaccessible to many of our Asian American elders.
In the face of hate, it is our duty to love and protect each other. In order to overcome this pandemic of hate we must come together for our collective care and liberation. And as our great elder Assata Shakur said, “It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love and protect each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.”
In Love & Solidarity,
The Seattle King County NAACP
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Kevin P. Henry
NAACP Health Committee
Examining racially-based bias and disparities in health care is the focus of a panel discussion on Saturday, Feb. 20, from 10 am - 12 pm, presented by the Seattle King County NAACP Health Committee.
Log on information for attendees:
Meeting ID: 951 9102 9817
Attendees of the event will learn how racial disparities, inequities and systemic discrimination continues to affect BIPOC communities. Also discussed will be solutions to these issues and a Q&A session with subject experts will conclude the event.
Michele Andrasik, PhD.
Director, Social & Behavioral Sciences and Community Engagement, HIV Vaccine Trials Network Senior Staff Scientist, Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division, Fred Hutch Clinical Affiliate Professor, Department of Global Health, University of Washington.
Dr. Cyril Engmann, MD, FAAP
“Mindful and community-based efforts are critical and necessary to ensure the equitable inclusion of BIPOC people in research efforts,“ says Dr. Andrasik.
“Ethnic and racial bias in healthcare remains endemic,” Dr. Engmann says.
Dr. Phyllis Gearring-Anderson, from the Seattle NAACP Health Committee, says, ”Unfortunately, prejudice and bias is a reality in the lives of people of color. Research has shown that many health care providers appear to have an inherent bias in terms of positive attitudes toward Whites and negative attitudes toward People of Color.”
For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website https://www.seattlekingcountynaacp.org/health.html
FOR RELEASE: October 7, 2020
Spokespeople: Erica Conway, Freedom Fund Committee Chair ; Roland Carette-Meyers, Freedom Fund Committee Co-Chair
Phone: 253 972 5250
The Seattle King County NAACP is thrilled to announce that its annual fundraising event, the Freedom Fund, will be going virtual this fall. “Freedom Funds Everyone” will run November 9 – November 13 and will raise funds to support the work of the Seattle King County NAACP.
This virtual event will feature speakers from the NAACP and the opportunity for the community to gather from behind their screens to celebrate our region and community.
“Freedom Funds Everyone” hopes to raise over $25,000 that will be invested across the chapter in areas such as healthcare, education, our discrimination hotline, education equity and inclusion programs, and the work of our Police Accountability Committee.
The events of 2020 are the culmination of over four centuries of social inequity and are a test for us all. As we look to push through this moment stronger than before and to the challenges ahead, we are certain that we will rise to the occasion only with the support of our donors.
“Freedom Funds Everyone” is dedicated in part to the beloved memories of Charleena Lyles, Shaun Fuhr, Jesse Sarey, Robert J. Lightfeather, Karla Gamez-Talavera, Wangsheng Leng, Manny Ellis, and countless others.
We look forward to this special virtual event and hope that you will join us as a donor!
The Freedom Fund is also recruiting Ambassadors and Sponsors. To get involved please reach out to email@example.com.
What: Freedom Funds Everyone: Seattle King County NAACP’s Virtual Fundraising Event
When: November 9 – 13, 2020
The Seattle Public Schools voted yesterday and approved remote learning for the fall. A note from our NAACP Education Chair, Josette Wicker:
"[The Seattle School Board] decided to do remote learning and [they] have to have final plans by September 2nd. Bargaining with the Teacher Union is still underway and could affect a lot...our special needs students are one of my high concerns." Stay tuned, King County.
Tuesday was the Washington State primary. Thank you to everyone who voted, King County had a voter turnout of over 40% of registered voters. There are a large number of candidates of color who finished in the top two spots for their races and therefore will be on the ballot in November. There were two Fire department levies on the ballots in parts of the county and both passed, helping to ensure that fire departments in that area have the resources they need to help their communities. Many of the races for both statewide offices and legislative district positions were close between the top two candidates.
This highlights just how important it is for everyone to vote in the general election in November. In the coming months we will be working hard to ensure that members are educated on the measures and candidates on the ballot, as well as encouraging all who are eligible to register to vote to do so!
Register to vote at https://voter.votewa.gov/WhereToVote.aspx for November, and beyond.
As businesses and schools rushed to close their doors four months ago to keep people safe from the spread of Covid-19, the NAACP Seattle King County sees we are still scrambling to figure out what's best for ourselves, our families, and our communities.
The CDC has stated that we cannot safely open schools if “community transmission is increasing”, and at this point, we are seeing a large increase in cases within King County. As school districts have been conducting surveys proposing three schooling options - In Person, Hybrid, or Exclusively Online - responses have been quite skewed and there are communities who’ve not voiced their opinions as of yet. As of June 30th, Seattle Public Schools had not received over 77% of the African-American male response to going back to school.
We, the NAACP Seattle King County, do not feel it is right for schools to make decisions involving the safety of our students without having a clear response to what our community’s wants and needs are. Too many of our community members are not looped in on these important decisions and there are still too many questions that have not been answered or addressed. How will students still be able to eat breakfast and lunch? How will Ethnic Studies be transitioned and prevalently used through online courses?
We urge our King County schools to listen to their community's wants and needs, or postpone opening In-Person schools for the safety of our students and our staff.
NAACP Education Chair, Seattle King County
Emailed to Honorable Kim Wyman, Washington Secretary of State
PO Box 40229 Olympia, WA 98504-0229
Dear Secretary Wyman,
I am Carolyn Riley-Payne, President of the NAACP, Seattle-King County Branch. We write you today on behalf of the nearly 1 million people of color in Martin Luther King County with an urgent request that your office please cease the voter confusion you are currently generating regarding online handwritten signatures on 2020 initiatives during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
Your failure to inform the public with a definitive statement of the law on the subject of acceptable initiative signatures during COVID-19 forces millions of Washington voters to choose between exercising our constitutional rights to petition our government, or risk being infected with the deadly coronavirus disease. In the attached July 1st Crosscut article, you are quoted saying the following about the Washington AntiDiscrimination Act (WADA) signatures: “It is really hard to say what we are or aren’t going to accept when we haven’t seen what they are going to turn in yet.”
Madam Secretary, Washington law does not give you the arbitrary authority to deem what is an acceptable petition signature. Our attorneys have informed us that the Washington State Supreme Court in Ball vs. Wyman (2018) reaffirmed that RCW 29A.72.170 restricts you to accepting and rejecting petitions based on only three (3) requirements: 1) Are the petitions on time?; 2) Do the petitions contain the required content?; and 3) Do the petition sheets have the required number of signatures? NO WET SIGNATURE REQUIREMENT The July 1st Crosscut article also revealed three (3) other critical facts: 1) There is not now, nor has there ever been a “wet signature” requirement anywhere in Washington law; 2) Washington law does not now, nor has it ever prohibited online handwritten signatures; and 3) Massachusetts and New Jersey have issued COVID-19 orders permitting electronic signatures for all 2020 ballot measures. More recently, neighboring Idaho has also approved online signatures for the “Reclaim Idaho” ballot initiative. 65% of COVID-19 CASES ARE PEOPLE OF COLOR On your website, you recommend initiative sponsors submit at least 325,000 signatures by December 31st . However, the Department of Health (DOH) recently reported that COVID-19 is increasing in Puget Sound and across the state. DOH also reports that people of color are 65% of the racially identifiable Washingtonians infected with the deadly coronavirus. The sad irony is that many of these infected African-Americans, AsianAmericans, Hispanic-Latinx Americans, Native Americans and multi-racial Americans are the same people who want to sign WADA to end racial discrimination against their communities.
However, every time petitioners interact face to face with your recommended 325,000 people during this pandemic, we risk lives by increasing the spread of the deadly COVID-19 to others. MADAM SECRETARY, PLEASE OBEY THE LAW! Given these new revelations, we are demanding the Secretary of State immediately inform the public she will obey the following safe Washington laws as they pertain to all 2020 initiatives during COVID-19: 1. Washington State Constitution: Article I, Section 4, which states: “The right of petition and of the people peaceably to assemble for the common good shall never be abridged.” (emphasis added) 2. WAC 434-379-012 3(a) which states: “If the signature on the petition: (a) Is handwritten and matches the signature in the voter registration record according to the standards in WAC 434-379-020, the signature must be accepted.” 3. WAC 434-379-020 (1): “The following characteristics must be utilized to evaluate signatures to determine whether they are by the same writer: (1) The signature is handwritten.” Compliance with WAC 434-379-012 3(a), means applying the same two-prong standard of approval to online handwritten signatures as are currently applied to person-to-person signatures: 1) The voter’s signature must be handwritten; and 2) the voter’s signature must be matchable to the voter’s signature in their voter registration records.
Under WAC 434-379-012 3(a), if the voter’s signature is matchable to their signature on file in their voter registration records, the signature must be accepted. SAME STANDARD FOR ALL SIGNATURES! Holding online handwritten signatures to the same standard as on-paper handwritten signatures during COVID19, 1) protects every citizens’ constitutional rights to petition their government; and 2) prevents the spread of COVID-19 by temporarily eliminating the need for face-to-face, person-to-person signature gathering in Washington state until COVID-19 ends. Please confirm receipt of this letter and contact us at (206) 321-0382 with any questions. If we have not received a response from your office by close of business on Tuesday, July 17, 2020, we will have no choice but to take alternative actions due to your deafening silence during this public health emergency.
Ms. Carolyn Riley-Payne
President, Seattle-King County NAACP
Attachment: Washington State Department of Health COVID-19 News Release (June 26, 2020)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 9, 2020
AN OPEN LETTER TO OUR COMMUNITY, and addressed to our Superior Court and Supreme Court Judges of Washington State:
The Seattle King County NAACP is aware and concerned of the Washington State Supreme Court’s Order regarding the modification of jury trial proceedings issued on June 18, 2020. The order can be found here: http://www.courts.wa.gov/content/publicUpload/Supreme%20Court%20Orders/Jury%20Resumption% 20Order%20061820.pdf. This order will allow Washington State trial courts to begin using video technology as part of Voir Dire, i.e. the jury selection process. The order states in part:
The use of remote technology in jury selection, including use of video for voir dire in criminal and civil trials, is encouraged to reduce the risk of coronavirus exposure. Any video or telephonic proceedings must be conducted consistent with the constitutional rights of the parties and preserve constitutional public access. Authorization for video- conference proceedings under CrR 3.4(d)(1) and CrR 3.4(d)(1) is expanded to include jury selection, though the requirement that all participants be able to simultaneously see, hear and speak to one another does not require that all potential jurors be able to simultaneously see one another.
This means the Washington State Supreme Court will allow trial courts to implement procedures that require potential jurors to participate in the jury selection process through the use of video technology. Potential jurors will presumably be able to participate through Zoom or some other similar technology.
The Supreme Court’s order is a perfect example of the systemic racism in the criminal justice system. People of color, especially those in lower income groups, will be unable to participate as potential jurors if they do not have access to broadband internet access and the hardware capable of utilizing the technology selected by the trial courts.
There are many articles written about the “digital divide” in America. This is to say, articles about the different technology available to different socioeconomic groups in the United States. For example, the Pew Research Center published an article on May 7, 2019, detailing the digital divide. You can find the article here: https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/05/07/digital-divide-persists- even-as-lower-income-americans-make-gains-in-tech-adoption/. It states, “Thirty years after the debut of the World Wide Web, internet use, broadband adoption and smartphone ownership have grown rapidly for all Americans – including those who are less well-off financially. But even as many aspects of the digital divide have narrowed over time, the digital lives of lower- and higher-income Americans remain markedly different.” The article goes on to say, “With fewer options for online access at their disposal, many lower-income Americans are relying more on smartphones. As of early 2019, 26% of adults living in households earning less than $30,000 a year are “smartphone-dependent” internet users – meaning they own a smartphone but do not have broadband internet at home. This represents a substantial increase from 12% in 2013. In contrast, only 5% of those living in households earning $100,000 or more fall into this category in 2019.”
The effect of the Supreme Court’s order will be to decrease the number of potential jurors from communities of color. I do not believe the Supreme Court is intentionally engaging in racism. However, I think their order is an example of the systemic racism inherent in the criminal justice system. They have enacted a policy without any input from the communities it will affect the most and the result of this change will be to decrease the number of minorities included in the pool of potential jurors.
This order was issued without any input from stakeholders in the criminal jury trial process right after the Washington State Supreme Court issued an open letter that states, “The devaluation and degradation of black lives is not a recent event. It is a persistent and systemic injustice that predates this nation’s founding. But recent events have brought to the forefront of our collective consciousness a painful fact that is, for too many of our citizens, common knowledge: the injustices faced by black Americans are not relics of the past. We continue to see racialized policing and the overrepresentation of black Americans in every stage of our criminal and juvenile justice systems. Our institutions remain affected by the vestiges of slavery: Jim Crow laws that were never dismantled and racist court decisions that were never disavowed.”
The procedure authorized by the Washington State Supreme Court is similar to the Jim Crow laws of the past. This procedure allows those who can afford the technology to participate in the criminal justice system as a potential juror to the exclusion of those who cannot.
This procedure is wrong because the effect will be to decrease the participation of an already underrepresented community in the jury trial process as potential jurors. This process decreases the chances of Black and Brown people ever having a jury of their peers. Part of the jury experience is interacting and discussing with each other and watching body language, this will be almost impossible.
President of Seattle King County NAACP