activism | KUOW News and Information

activism

Courtesy of Northeastern University-Seattle

The name Bill Ayers rings a bell for people of a certain age. He is one of the icons of '60s and '70s counterculture and anti-Vietnam War movements. As a young man he became a founder of the notorious leftist radical organization The Weather Underground.

One of the group's goals was to overthrow the U.S. government. They orchestrated a string of bombings of public offices. In 1970, three members were killed when a bomb they were building exploded. Ayers became a fugitive for a time after that incident.

MOHAI, Cary W. Tolman Photographs, [2002.68.9.10]

In the 1960s, an era when activism across racial lines was uncommon, four Seattle activists became allies. They were called the Gang of Four.

Larry Gossett, Roberto Maestas, Bernie Whitebear and Bob Santos collaborated and supported each other’s efforts throughout their activism careers.

November 2, 1972, two days after the groundbreaking ceremony of the Kingdome, Bob Santos led a protest. The rallying cry: HUMBOWS NOT HOT DOGS!
Courtesy Eugene M. Tagawa

The 1960s brought marches, boycotts, and moments of unrest to Seattle as the battle for civil rights played out across the country.

That was also when four local activists — Roberto Maestas, Bob Santos, Bernie Whitebear and Larry Gossett — joined together to give voice to Seattle’s minority communities. Their nickname was the Gang of Four.

Frances Lee at the KUOW studios.
KUOW Photo/Matt Martin

Frances Lee recently asked to be excommunicated from the church of social justice.

Lee, who is queer, trans and Chinese-American, was trying to point out the intolerance of the social justice movement. In an article that went viral earlier this year, they chose the headline “Excommunicate Me from the Church of Social Justice.”

Baltimore native Joe Odoms had been singing the national anthem at Ravens home games since 2014.

On Tuesday, the member of the Maryland National Guard who served tours of duty in Afghanistan resigned.

In an Instagram post, Odoms wrote: "The tone/actions of a large number of NFL fans in the midst of our country's culture crisis, have convinced me that I do not belong there."

I went undercover in Seattle’s white nationalist group

Sep 22, 2017
Patrik Hermansson, a Swedish activist, spent time with the Northwest Forum in June.
Courtesy of HOPE not hate

For the past year, Patrik Hermansson, a young, gay, anti-racist activist from Sweden has been undercover inside white nationalist — also known as ‘alt-right’ — groups for HOPE not hate, a UK group. One of his assignments took him to Seattle. This is an excerpt from his report.

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Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

Every day, Seshat Mack wakes up and takes the bus to school. She’s a doctoral student in science, from Harlem. Every morning, the bus drops her off in front of a statue of a man looking down kind of heroically, kind of benevolently at passers by.

Seshat can’t stand the statue.

Dr. J. Marion Sims, born in South Carolina, is considered the father of modern gynecology — a status memorialized in that statue. He started his work in the mid 19th century.

On Sunday a planned rally of right-wing activists in Berkeley, Calif., mostly fizzled out, but thousands of peaceful left-wing protesters turned out, singing songs and chanting.

About 150 members of anti-facist groups — also known as antifa or black bloc protesters — also were there, marching in formation with covered faces. Then a couple of people from the right-wing did show up.

A mostly peaceful demonstration turned violent in Berkeley, Calif., when left-wing counterprotesters clashed with right-wing protesters and Trump supporters on Sunday.

Thousands of people held a Rally Against Hate in response to a planned right-wing protest that never got off the ground.

During the hours-long event, counterprotesters marched and chanted "No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA," among other slogans. But several Trump supporters and right-wing demonstrators were also chased away by groups, who chanted "Nazis go home."

Jared Taylor was not in Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday. But Taylor, one of the leading voices for white rights in the country, says it was clear what really happened at that rally.

The president of the WSU College Republicans, James Allsup of Bothell, Washington, said Monday he would resign after attending the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Less than a month away from the start of the regular season, NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick remains a player without a team.

Kaepernick took a knee during the playing of the national anthem before games last season. He said he was protesting treatment of people in black communities during a time of great tension sparked by police shootings of African-Americans.

Courtesy of Democracy Now!

Journalist Amy Goodman has been an influential voice in independent media for the past 20 years. Her efforts to inform, defy and edify resonate with many audiences. She co-hosts the award winning program Democracy Now!, where she is often seen reporting from the front lines of progressive action.

SEIU organizer Patience Malaba leads a protest while Amazon shareholders enter the company’s annual shareholders meeting in Seattle in May.
KUOW Photo / John Ryan

Big companies often tout the good they’re doing for the planet. Reducing energy use, buying green energy, things like that. But they often reveal much less about the harm they do.

Like Amazon. With its data centers, warehouses and delivery trucks, the computing and retail giant has grown into one of the nation’s biggest users of energy.


A noted art collector and philanthropist has sold a major painting for an eye-popping $165 million to raise money for criminal justice reform.

Agnes Gund sold Roy Lichtenstein's 1962 work Masterpiece, reportedly to billionaire hedge fund manager and art collector Steve Cohen. The sale apparently took place months ago; an art industry newsletter reported on the transaction in January, but Gund would not confirm it.

A Skagit County, Washington, jury found climate activist Ken Ward guilty Wednesday of second degree burglary for turning off an oil pipeline.

Ward, a Corbett, Oregon resident, was one of five activists who took part in the pipeline protest, turning off valves on Oct. 11 to stop the flow of oil from Canada into the U.S. in October. His case was the first to reach a jury verdict.

On the ferry ride from Washington to British Columbia ten activists sang songs they’d written about the water surrounding them: the Salish Sea.

They were crossing the international border for a combination march and ferry ride that would take them from Victoria to Vancouver. Their goal was to protest the expansion of a Canadian oil pipeline.

Since the February death of Srinivas Kuchibhotla, the first bias fatality of the Trump era, one question has been coursing through South Asian-American circles: was this hate-crime killing in Olathe, Kansas their "Vincent Chin moment"?

Chin was a Chinese-American in Detroit who was beaten to death by two white men in 1982. His death is credited with sparking a pan-Asian-American activist movement.

Workers in New Orleans dismantled the city's Jefferson Davis monument early Thursday, removing the prominent statue of the Confederate leader that had stood for more than 100 years.

"This historic moment is an opportunity to join together as one city and redefine our future," Mayor Mitch Landrieu said as he announced that crews had begun removing the statue, the second of four planned removals of Confederacy-related monuments.

Fifty thousand signatures on protest petitions. Calls on the president of the university to resign. People on Twitter saying they're mailing back their degrees.

Lawmakers in the House of Representatives are back in their home districts for a recess this week. After seeing the reception some of their colleagues got in previous town hall-style meetings following the election of Donald Trump, most House Republicans are skipping them.

But a handful are diving in headfirst.

On Monday night, a few days after voting in favor of the House bill to repeal and replace major parts of the Affordable Care Act, Rep. Elise Stefanik, 32, from Northern New York, held a town hall at a public television station.

Two weeks ago, a hashtag began going viral in India: #LahuKaLagaan. It literally means the tax on blood.

That would be India's tax on sanitary napkins — 12 to 15 percent on top of the 40 to 80 rupees (.60 cents to $1.25) for a package of eight. (Typically sold in an unmarked black plastic bag because India is not big on talking about menstrual topics.)

Marches in support of worker rights and labor unions are taking place around the world Monday, dubbed "May Day." Here in the U.S., they're expected to draw larger than usual crowds due to President Trump's efforts to crack down on immigration.

In heavily Latino Los Angeles, where labor unions also hold big sway, community organizers spent much of the last weekend doing last minute planning and logistics, as well as peacekeeping training.

Police officers pause next to a sign outside a restaurant as they observe a May Day anti-capitalism march, Friday, May 1, 2015 in Seattle.
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

When you’re out marching on May Day in Seattle on Monday, remember how the tradition began: as an attempt to get workers an eight-hour day.

And then think about this: Some labor advocates say the eight-hour day is under attack in Congress.

'Direct action' trainer Ximena Velazquez-Arenas runs past some of the people she's training. Tap on this photo to see more images from the training.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Environmentalists concerned that lobbying and polite marches have failed to weaken America’s reliance on fossil fuels have started turning to more confrontational approaches.


science march
KUOW Photo/David Hyde

It rained. 

Interstate 5 was shut down because of downed power lines. 

UW Professor David Montgomery says he'll march for science
Kvasir Society Photo/Joy Mathew

David Montgomery, a science professor and MacArthur Genius award winner at the University of Washington, told KUOW why he's marching for science on Saturday.

University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce
David Hyde / KUOW Photos

University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce says the federal budget cuts being proposed by President Donald Trump would be devastating for science. 

So she's speaking up for science, and she told KUOW's David Hyde that scientists should, too:


Sarah Myhre’s a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Washington.
David Hyde / KUOW Photos

Nicole Baker is a research scientist at the University of Washington who studies the state of global fish stocks. It's not political work. In fact, she's never been an activist and has never participated in a political march in her life. 

But last year when Donald Trump ran for president, Baker got political for the first time. And she says in 2017, something snapped.


Courtesy of Alan Alabastro

Every year the Citizen University conference takes place in Seattle. Civic-minded people from around the country gather to make connections, listen and share messages of challenge and progress. This year the theme was Reckoning and Repair in America.

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