Tag Archive: WSOS

Whose Streets? Our Streets! Releases Community-Led Recommendations on Policing at Seattle MLK Jr. Day Event

by Yes Segura, WSOS work group member

 

In January of this year, Whose Streets? Our Streets! (WSOS) leaders were invited to sit on the Strategies for Community Healing panel, hosted by the Seattle MLK Jr. Organizing Coalition, as part of the 39th Annual Seattle MLK Jr. Day celebration.

As a team, we have been focusing our efforts on primarily organizing with local Black-led organizations, so this MLK Jr Day event was a perfect opportunity to do so. The virtual panel on community solutions included emerging Black-led organizations, who use their activism and innovative efforts to create new paradigms for BIPOC communities, especially Black communities, to thrive in Seattle.

Each presentation peeled back a layer of intersectionality, demonstrating what can be accomplished when we center the wellness of Black lives in agriculture, land ownership, and the public use of space. Sharing our ideas, efforts, and stories keeps us inspired. The theme of Strategies for Community Healing highlighted our community resilience. Let us never forget that advocating for social and racial justice requires a balance between resilience and healing. Black History Month is a time for celebration and honoring those that have walked this path before us. Looking to the past but constantly striving for the progress ahead.

Over this past year, issues of white supremacy, racism, and police brutality have been at the forefront of all headlines. WSOS is tackling these issues and how they impact BIPOC communities and our rights to mobility. Our public spaces should reflect the people that live, play, and work in them. The shift in our collective awareness is only the beginning. It is our actions that will lay the foundation for a better Seattle for all.

It was a privilege to launch our recommendations for changes to traffic enforcement laws and policies among such an esteemed group of people, and we are grateful that we can gather virtually during these times of change.

WSOS will continue to seek solutions that prioritize the safety, rights, and lives of BIPOC communities in public spaces. We invite you to imagine what Seattle could look like if we prioritized people over places.

You can view our presentation and or recording from the event below [find the WSOS presentation by Phyllis Porter and Peaches Thomas at 1:00:35 at the YouTube link below].

(Presentation)

 

 

 

Don’t Miss: MLK Jr Day panel featuring Whose Streets? Our Streets! (WSOS) workgroup

Please join us for a not-to-be-missed panel, Strategies for Community Healing, featuring the Whose Streets? Our Streets! (WSOS) Workgroup:

 

Community+Healing+logo

Saturday, January 16, 2:00-3:15p

On Zoom, free to attend. Register here for the link.

 

In this panel discussion, one of a dozen powerful workshops being offered this week by the MLK Jr Organizing Coalition in its 39th Annual MLK Jr Day celebration, activists will describe their innovative efforts to create new paradigms for BIPOC communities, especially Black communities, to thrive in Seattle.
As part of the panel, local organizers Phyllis Porter and Peaches Thomas of the Whose Streets? Our Streets! (WSOS) workgroup will introduce the WSOS slate of recommendations for how our streets can be safe, thriving places without the use of armed police. The majority-BIPOC workgroup’s recommendations were developed by using a pro-equity and anti-racist framework to review laws and policies governing the use of streets.

WSOS is honored to join the following groups on the Strategies for Community Healing panel:

  • The Africatown Community Land Trust, formed to acquire, steward and develop land assets necessary for the Black/African diaspora community to grow in the Central District
  • CACE21 – Wa Na Wari, which creates space for Black ownership, Black ownership, possibility, and belonging through art, historic preservation, and connection in the Central District;
  • Nurturing Roots, focusing on sharing the truth about systematic oppression with an emphasis on food and environmental justice,
    The panel discussion will be followed by Q and A.

 

ABOUT WHOSE STREETS, OUR STREETS

Whose Streets? Our Streets! (WSOS) is a Seattle-based, majority-BIPOC workgroup. Group members are dedicated to reviewing and recommending changes to street use design, laws, and policies in order to better meet the needs and support the lives of all street users, especially the BIPOC community.

WSOS event promo tile

 

For more information about the work of Whose Streets? Our Streets!, see this recent interview with two WSOS organizers, Phyllis Porter and Yes Segura:

Screenshot Whose Streets Our Streets --Streets For People 2020

 

ABOUT THE SEATTLE MLK JR  ORGANIZING COALITION

Seattle’s MLK Jr. Organizing Coalition has mobilized for social justice every year for almost four decades, and this year is no exception. The Coalition comprises grassroots, labor, business, people of color, and progressive community organizations and volunteers from throughout the Puget Sound region.

39THAnnualMLKDayJRDayEvents

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Defining Community Safety: SNG in Conversation with Aaron Dixon

EventAd

On Monday, August 31, 2020, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways sat down (virtually) for a community conversation with Aaron Dixon, founding member and Captain of the Seattle chapter of the Black Panther Party. We discussed community ownership of public space, how we define community safety, and community alternatives to policing.

It was wonderful to hear Aaron share his wisdom and experience, and I left the event feeling inspired. A huge thank you to Aaron Dixon and Peaches Thomas, as well as to everyone who attended, asked thoughtful questions and shared in this community space.

For those of you unable to attend, check out the Recording and Full Transcript.

Special thanks to Disability Rights Washington for providing closed captioning.

And a huge thank you to our other event co-sponsors: 350 SeattleFeet FirstSierra Club Seattle GroupTransit Riders UnionTransportation Choices Coalition, and The Urbanist.

If you are interested in learning more about our work in this realm, check out Whose Streets? Our Streets!, a work-group currently drafting recommendations to the City of Seattle and State of Washington to re-imagine traffic enforcement without armed police.

best screenshot from Aaron Dixon event-small

Event Details:
Monday, August 31, 2020, 5:30 – 7:00 pm
This event will be a conversation between Aaron Dixon and Peaches Thomas (5:30-6:30 pm), followed by attendee questions and dialogue (6:30 – 7:00 pm). The event will be recorded and available in the days that follow. Closed captioning is available live and a full transcript will be made available after the event.
This event is co-sponsored by 350 Seattle, Disability Rights Washington, Feet First, Sierra Club Seattle Group, Transit Riders Union, Transportation Choices Coalition, and The Urbanist.
– – –
Aaron-Dixon Headshot 2About Aaron Dixon, Guest Speaker:
Aaron Dixon, founding member and Captain of the Seattle chapter of the Black Panther Party. As Captain, Dixon helped launch the Free Breakfast for School Children Program, which fed over 10,000 children every day before school. Dixon was also instrumental in the opening of a free medical and legal clinic which later became the Carolyn Downs Clinic.
Dixon is also the founder of the nonprofit organization, Central House, providing transitional housing for homeless young adults and a youth leadership project. He is a former Green Party candidate for WA State Senate, and an organizer of the Center for Social Justice based out of the Seattle Central District. He is the author of My People are Rising: Memoirs of a Black Panther Captain. Read more here or see his interview with the History Makers.
Peaches Thomas HeadshotAbout Peaches Thomas:
Peaches Thomas is a local Community Organizer with Duwamish Valley Safe Streets, a member of the Seattle Neighborhood Greenways network. She works to create opportunities for residents, specifically youth, to foster a culture of walking and rolling. Notable projects include SDOT’s pilot Home Zone project in South Park and the Georgetown to South Park Connection. Peaches recently received the Unsung Hero Award, presented by the South Park Neighborhood Association.
Peaches believes in empowering communities through advocacy, outreach, and education. In her experience working within Seattle’s South Park and Georgetown neighborhoods, residents feel safer when their shared spaces are equitable and accessible to all. She hopes to one day travel to Egypt, Ghana, and France.

We Stand in Support of BLM Protesters and Decry Any Use of Cars as Weapons

We are horrified at the tragic event that led to Summer Taylor’s death, and Diaz Love’s serious injuries, in the early hours of Saturday, July 4th—a driver, rushing at high speed, entered the WSP-closed Interstate 5 through an offramp, swerved around clear barricades, and plowed straight into the Black Femme March.

We don’t have all the facts, but we express our strong solidarity with those peacefully protesting for positive change. Here are the ways we’re standing in support:

  1. Organizers ask any of us who have the means to please contribute to Diaz Love’s GoFundMe site, as more than 2,500 people already have.
  2. We ask that allegations by the BLM Women’s March organizers—that the driver did not act alone and that multiple individuals not connected to BLM were filming it as it occurred—be investigated; and that inquiries be made into other accounts of driver-based harassment and threats targeting BLM protestors.
  3. As part of our commitment to racial justice, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways is looking at how the urgent calls for police accountability and defunding police intersect with our core issues of safe and healthy streets. To that end, we are partnering with a diverse team of community members with expertise in transportation, mobility justice, restorative justice, criminal justice, public health and safety, and public policy, to dig deep into Seattle’s system of traffic enforcement. Check here for more about the newly launched Re-Imagining Traffic Enforcement working group.
  4. No one should ever intentionally use a motor vehicle as a weapon. At SNG, we’ve heard repeatedly that people in Seattle have felt threatened by drivers doing just that—using their vehicles to intimidate and frighten people walking, riding bikes, and protesting for justice—on countless occasions. And there are the many established accounts, from the 2017 murder-by-driver in Charlottesville, VA to the very recent driver-attack on Capitol Hill. The New York Times just reported that vehicle/driver attacks on protesters are on the rise (“There have been at least 66 car attacks nationwide since George Floyd was killed”). We abhor this assault on the right to peacefully assemble, and on the basic human right to be, and move safely, through one’s daily activities in public space. If you personally have felt threatened by drivers on Seattle’s streets, could you let us know about it?

 

SNG horizontal logo for Summer Parkways

Re-Imagining Traffic Enforcement

New: Watch this short video about our work so far

WSOS video screenshot

 

As part of our commitment to racial justice, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways (SNG) is looking at how the urgent calls for police accountability and defunding police intersect with our core issues of safe and healthy streets. Traffic enforcement is too often the pretext for armed police to stop Black and brown people, sometimes with catastrophic consequences. There must be a better way — but what exactly? That’s the question our newly-launched Re-Imagining Traffic Enforcement Task Force is set to ask.

An end to policing as we know it

PoliceCarLightsAtNight

As safe streets advocates, we believe strongly that the ability to get around safely to the daily necessities of life is a basic human right. And we recognize that policing practices, since the earliest days of U.S. law enforcement, have been biased, and often life-threatening, toward communities of color—especially Black people.

In response to the murder of George Floyd, and the abuse too many Black people suffer at the hands of police, people across the country are insisting: enough is enough. Our current way of policing needs to come to an end.

People and organizations have called for a wide spectrum of solutions—from reforming policing procedures to defunding and reallocating police budgets, from disbanding existing police forces to outright abolishment. How do these solutions play out in regards to traffic safety, where police have been entrusted with enforcing traffic violations and responding to traffic emergencies on the one hand—but found guilty of racial profiling, and too commonly, criminal brutality on the other? We’re determined to find out.

A task force to ask questions and find the best solutions

Over the next several weeks, under the leadership of KL Shannon and Phyllis Porter, we will work with a diverse team of community members with expertise in transportation, mobility justice, criminal justice, public health and safety, and public policy to dig deep into Seattle’s system of traffic enforcement.

Our Whose Streets? Our Streets! workgroup will take on these and other questions:

  • What is the appropriate role, if any, of police in traffic enforcement?
  • What other solutions could substitute for the role police currently play?
  • Are we enforcing the right laws, and are there some laws that are not just or effective at keeping people safe?

We will delve into available data, research best practices in other cities, consult with dozens of people on our advisory committee, and work in partnership with our local communities to map out a path to safer communities for all.

A significant initiative and commitment

We started out 2020 with an ambitious slate of safe streets priorities—including citywide Safe Routes to School solutions, creating walk/bike-friendly Home Zones in multiple neighborhoods, completing the Basic Bike Network downtown, and fixing our most deadly streets (Rainier Avenue, Aurora Avenue, and Lake City Way).

Due to the unprecedented COVID-19 outbreak and health crisis, we first reoriented our 2020 campaigns to these 8 COVID-response strategies to help communities stay healthy and moving.

Now, our Whose Streets? Our Streets! workgroup represents another major initiative for SNG this year. This is the right time for every city to re-imagine and re-think how traffic enforcement works, and we are putting our shoulders into the work of getting it done here in Seattle.

 

SNG horizontal logo for Summer Parkways