A Modest Suggestion for #NMOS14 in #Seattle

**TRIGGER WARNING**  Racism, police violence.

Major Update, August 14, 10:00am – last update here

See the Facebook event for continued information. (click here)

Major Update, August 11, 5:00pm: We’ve found a venue!

When: 4pm on August 14th – with 60 seconds of silence at 4:20pm, followed by song
Where: Queen Anne Baptist Church (2011 1st Ave N)
What to bring: Candles, signs expressing solidarity, photos of the slain.
What not to bring: Bullhorns, protest gear, signs that express hatred towards the police, etc.

Please use good judgement. This is a vigil, a community gathering to express our feelings. It is not an opportunity to start shit with the cops or incite a riot.

What to do now:

  • Get the word out online and off.
  • Let us know if you have special skills to lend.
  • RSVP to the Facebook event (click here).

More details shortly.

 

Update: August 11, 11:00 am: Here’s a Twitter archive about #NMOS14 Seattle. I’ll keep this up to date with the most recent information.

Update: August 11, 9:15 am. A group of folks, including myself, @OhDianeMarie, & @RevMindi are reaching out to local leaders and organizations including:

  • The local NAACP chapter
  • The local ACLU chapter
  • Mount Zion Baptist Church
  • First African Methodist Episcopalian Church
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Baptist Church
  • Mothers for Police Accountability

Our goal is to find a black-led group that will organize a vigil for Michael Brown on Thursday. We will signal boost as allies by hooking this group up with the national online conversation taking place under the #NMOS14 hashtag and do anything else that this group asks of us to make a vigil happen peacefully, safely, and with turnout and media attention that reflects a tragedy of this magnitude. I have created a Facebook event as a placeholder so that folks who are interested in showing up for this gathering can do so and spread word. This event will be turned over to whoever takes on the leadership role in making this event happen.

In compliance with this request, I have removed the photo of Michael Brown after he was shot that was originally posted below, and replaced it with a photo of him at age 16 with his baby brother.

Update: August 10, 4:47 pm. The plan at present (as discussed with @OhDianeMarie) is to reach out to black community organizations that already exist here in Seattle, find out what they may already be planning, and offer to hook them in to the #NMOS14 online discussion if they have not yet heard about it. What you can do: Talk to your neighbors, especially those who are hooked in to the racial justice conversation locally. Ask if they’ve heard of anything being organized here. I live in the Central District, so I’ll ask around at some of the local churches, cafés, barber shops, gyms, etc. here and see if I can get some information. I’ll keep updating this post as I learn more.

Michael Brown with his baby brother Andre at age 16.

Michael Brown with his baby brother Andre at age 16.

Another young black person has been shot dead because someone presumed them to be guilty of a (minor, petty) crime. Nationwide, groups are organizing gatherings for a national moment of silence (#NMOS14 on Twitter) on Thursday (August 14th) evening to express public outrage and grief at this ongoing national disaster.

There has been a lot of “if you don’t see a gathering scheduled for your city yet, make it happen!” talk on Twitter, and that seems like a challenge worth rising to. I feel really uncomfortable because (to state the obvious) I am not a black person. I’m not interested in centering myself in this conversation. Police / vigilante violence is not a major concern for me when I leave the house. But I haven’t seen anybody talking online about a gathering in Seattle yet, and I want to at least start the online discussion about Seattle’s participation in #NMOS14 rolling.

Here’s a suggestion: A peaceful community gathering somewhere central in Seattle (Downtown? Capitol Hill?) on Thursday afternoon (4pm Pacific Time = 7pm Eastern, which is when most people are doing this). We hold up photos of Mike Brown and Eric Garner and Renisha McBride. We hold up signs calling for an end to the criminalization of black people and other people of color and the inevitable translation of that criminalization into violence. We hold one another and we express our grief and our outrage. We don’t have a PA or a bullhorn. We don’t have speeches. We don’t start shit with the cops. I would much rather be a foot soldier helping a black-run group to put this together. If a gathering emerges that is centered in one of our black communities here in Seattle, I’m going to:

  1. Update this post and point folks to the gathering that is being run by black people.
  2. Volunteer to help with that gathering.
  3. Not organize any competing events.

If nothing else comes up, we’ll move forward on whatever front makes sense to those of us who chimed in. So, questions:

  1. Where can we gather that is central but doesn’t require a formal permit? (I think Westlake Park requires a permit, yes?)
  2. What media outlets need to hear about this?
  3. What organizations locally should we contact to get the word out?
  4. What else should we be asking?

Please leave your thoughts in the comments or e-mail them to me at taephoenix at gmail. Thanks!

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