This week has been brutal. We see hourly how institutional and individual racism, militarization of police, homelessness, and the COVID-19 public health emergency intersect, how they create and reinforce disproportionate risks, fear, and deaths for Black, Indigenous, and Brown people.
We speak with grief and anger the names of Black people murdered by police or white supremacists: George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Charleena Lyles, Manuel Ellis, and many too many more.
Black Lives Matter.
We see, hear, and feel the urgent need for new forms of solidarity and alliance. We heed the imperative to repair what is broken and reinvent what is not working. We are here today and we are in this for as long as it takes. We commit to doing the work necessary to secure long-term structural changes.
We note our repeated requests to Governor Inslee for support from our state’s National Guard to assist at shelters and other homeless services during the COVID19 public health emergency were ignored, yet 200 National Guard troops were sent with full military gear and weapons to respond to peaceful demonstrations in our community.
We thank Essential Workers at our member organizations, who work long hours under tough conditions to keep people safe in shelter and housing, and did so even when glass was broken and tear gas seeped into their spaces.
We salute and applaud everyone who has had a part to organize, mobilize, protest, speak up and take action in a multitude of ways this week. The collective power demonstrated in our community in the last few days has led to Mayor Durkan rescinding the curfew in Seattle and withdrawing the city’s motion to end the consent decree. Powerful demonstrators in Renton, SeaTac, Tacoma, and communities across our state are creating the opportunity to reshape city, county, and state budgets: to reallocate public resources from policing to meet community needs and build community strength.
We recognize those who worked and struggled against racism and for justice for years and decades and generations before us, and the countless lives cut short before now.
We thank the artists who express collective anger, grief, hope, and demands for radical change. Art credit: Ezra Dickinson and Baso Fibonacci (George Floyd: This has to stop).
The Coalition’s Board of Directors developed and recently adopted new mission, vision, and values to ground our work. We committed our organization to the values of equity, justice, and collective action. We defined the value of equity as carrying out our work so we center race in the fight for housing justice, as white supremacy and structural racism cause disparities in who experiences homelessness. Our staff and Board have serious work to do along with our members and our community. We are committed to becoming anti-racist in our daily work and in our policy advocacy. We intend to continue to learn and deepen this commitment as we live into our newly adopted values and mobilize our community to challenge systemic causes of homelessness and advocate for housing justice.