(en) Black Community Under Attack in Seatle USA

Shawn Ewald (shawn@wilshire.net)
Thu, 4 Dec 1997 15:09:50 -0700

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------- Forwarded Message Follows ------- Date: Thu, 4 Dec 1997 14:53:14 -0800 (PST) From: John Persak <iwwjmp@speakeasy.org> Subject: BLACK COMMUNITY UNDER ATTACK IN SEATLE USA To: a-infos-raw@tao.ca Reply-to: a-infos-work@tao.ca

------------------------------------------------------- BLACK COMMUNITY UNDER ATTACK IN LIBERAL SEATTLE by John Persak

Although Seattle has been championed and self congratulatory on its "tolerance" of ethnic minorities, at looks as if the left is asleep at the wheel, while the City of Seattle wages attacks in the Black Community. In recent months, activism in the Black Community has grown tremendously. This activity has been met with intimidation by sellouts, with the help of the Seattle Police Department, and has also been ignored by our so-called socially responsible city officials.

The battle lines have been drawn at the African American Heritage Museum--the museum started as a community run occupation (the longest in US history) 12 years ago at the old Coleman school. The policies and programs of the museum is supposed to be run democratically by a board. However, there are two opposing interests represented on the board--on one side, community activists including the Youth Action Committee, CopWatch members and others; on the other, "salaried professionals", politicians, and others referred to by members of the Community as "uncle toms". The sellouts on the board have been working hand in glove with City officials and the police department to purge out the progressive elements of the museum. In other words, anyone who wants the Museum to be a living institution controlled by the Black Community will have to go.

In addition, open letters have been sent to the Museum committee twice by the Youth Action Committee(YAC), charging abuses of procedure, refusal to allow progressive members of the board to contribute to the project, refusal to produce receipts for money spent on "consulting", unfair hiring practices, and a myriad of other offenses.

Rather than responding, the chair and program director of the Museums Board have stepped aside, to allow the city to take hand--twice the Seattle Police Department has threatened Community activists with forced eviction, which later have turned out to be bluffs-*this time*.

In addition, the Sellout elements on the Board are also trying to take over the Umoja Festival, a community organized Black festival which last August attracted over 10,000 through grassroots organizing. It out shined the so-called "Central District Festival", where only a few hundred turned out, and was organized by SPD officers Rodney Stokes and Vic Minor among others with Weed and Seed funds.Naturally, the police presence was high, along with military vehicles for show, should anything "go wrong". With the Black Community outshining the powers that be, the real festival has to be co-opted or destroyed, from the point of view of the Sellouts.

YAC activists and participants are also being harassed by the SPD, in the neo-COINTELPRO style gestapo tactics used on the Panthers in the l970's. At a YAC workshop at the Garfield Community Center on November 26, SPD officer McFadden barged in the the adjoining gym, interrogating youth, threatening jail to those protesting, and called for backup.When Dr. Fish, one of the workshop facilitators asked what the problem was, the police swarming the joined offered obscenities, threats of arrest, and proceeded to handcuff two boys-ages 12 and 14--and take them away without explanation.

A meeting then took place last Tuesday between Black Community activists, and several Police officers, including Norm Stamper. In regards to the Umoja festival, the police insisted that they should want control of the festival, with Stamper reportedly saying that having two "divided the black community". The SPD also want 3 removed from the board--the progressives, of course. Reverend Jefferies insisted that the old guard have "financial oversight" over the festival.

Greg Jackson of CopWatch and Black Autonomy approached Stamper with an account of the raid at the YAC workshop, demanding that action would be taken on the matter, and promising that the Black Community would follow up. After the meeting, two activists were followed home by marked cars. One is tempted to ask, when will activists start getting shot at?

In response the Community is fighting back. A demonstration took place last Monday in front of the Washington Mutual Tower, where the office of Bob Flowers, chair of the Museum's board is located. Another demonstration is planned for Thursday, December 11th, at 6:00pm, at the Community Policing Forum, 400 23rd Ave S. The Community continues to mobilize support, and groups in the Seattle area have been working to inform the rest of the city. -------------------------------------- For more info, contact Black Autonomy,680-89l6, or the Puget Sound IWW, 516-8562. -------------------------------------- PLEASE CALL WRITE FAX IN PROTEST;

Chair of the Museum Committee Bob Flowers 1201 3rd Ave, 10th floor Seattle, WA 98l0l (206) 461-2503 (206)544-8611 fax

Pat Chandler. Program Director, Museum 10239 65 Ave S Renton, WA 98178 (206)722-6305 ____________________ Date sent: Thu, 4 Dec 1997 14:53:14 -0800 (PST) From: John Persak <iwwjmp@speakeasy.org> Subject: BLACK COMMUNITY UNDER ATTACK IN SEATLE USA To: a-infos-raw@tao.ca Send reply to: a-infos-work@tao.ca

Date: Fri, 28 Nov 1997 14:12:13 -0800 (PST) From: John Persak <iwwjmp@speakeasy.org> Reply-To: John Persak <iwwjmp@speakeasy.org>


The City of Seattle (WA, USA), the Seattle Police Department, and other forces are again threatening to evict Black Community activists from the premises of the museum. A few weeks ago, a call came from city officials that the police would be evicting people forcefully; it later turned out to be a bluff, and the Parks Department was sent instead.

In this latest incident, locks are again being changed, and Museum board members friendly to sellouts at the mayor's office are stepping aside to allow the eviction to take place. Community members, including CopWatch members and the Youth Action Committee(YAC), backed by many in the Black community and other groups citywide, plan to resist to eviction.

The building, which houses the Museum was originally occupied thirty years ago, and remains as the longest building occupation in U.S. history. It is the last community controlled institution in the Black Community of Seattle; city bureaucrats and their lackey have continued to undermine efforts to keep it community run.

Two letters have been sent to members of the museums board on behalf of the Youth Action Committee, one on August 27, and the other on November 9; neither have received a response. The letters cite abuses such as:

**denial of equal access and input of descisionmaking (information is confined to a "clique" of board members, and refuse to release information in spite of repeated requests.

** Disproportionate allocation of funds--$80,000 a year to "administrative salaries", consulting, legals fees, architects--$0 for programs.

**Disrespect for youth's and grassroots ideas, time, energy, resources, including: - Attempts to deny use of facilities -Insufficient progress reports -Improper hiring procedures(i.e. No open application and interview process, contracts are not reviewed by th board for approval,

**Abuse of power by not following parliamentary procedure to adjourn executive meeting

**Those on the board who have resigned still are receiving financial benefits

**Meetings are not announced to all members\

**Refusal to release copies of all financial transactions, checks, documents, communications, disks, tapes, etc to board members.

Instead of accountability, the board-members in control have resorted to strong arm tactics to evict community members that are demanding accountability and democracy in their own institution--the services of the Seattle Police Department are being enlisted to do the job.

City bureaucrats and the sellouts on the board do not want the rest of the city to know, and are trying to isolate "the radicals" from everyone else. The rumor is that the SPD may move in as soon as Saturday, Nov 29;if this is another bluff, it is important to remain in solidarity, should the police take action. (For more specifics, Black Autonomy can be contacted at (206) 680-89l6)

Although we can never get gains from politicians, letting them know that people in Seattle and worldwide have their eye on the situation may buy some time. The numbers:

Seattle Mayor, Norm Rice 684-4000

City Council--- Martha Choe 684-8802 Charlie Chong 684-8805 Cheryl Chow 684-8804 Susan Donaldson 684-8806 Jan Drago 684-8801 Richard Mclive 684-8800 Jane Noland 684-8803 Marg Pageler 684-8807

City Attorney-684-8200

Seattle Parks Dept(central district)684-8200

_______ An injury to one is an injury to all,

John Persak, Puget Sound IWW 5l6-0483voice mail

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