Ferguson Protesters in Seattle Express Hope, Worry, Anger
For the second consecutive day, several hundred protesters marched through Seattle streets Tuesday. The marches come in response to Monday’s grand jury verdict in Ferguson. As KUOW’s Liz Jones reports, many protesters in Seattle see this as a highly local issue.
The march started with a parking lot full of people, at a church in Seattle’s Central District.
They headed out, on 23rd Avenue. Later, Seattle Pastor Lawrence Willis described what happened next:
Pastor Lawrence Willis: “And when we looked south down 23rd Avenue, and we saw a group of young people that was coming down 23rd Avenue. And my heart just shouted out ‘hallelujah’!
The stream of students from nearby Garfield high school filed in. And the march grew bigger and louder.
Riley Calcagno is a junior at Garfield.
Riley Calcagno: “Coming out here today to show and stand with them and send a message that they’re not alone.”
Other students declined interviews, saying their parents don’t know they skipped school.
The Seattle-King County NAACP and the United Black Clergy organized the march. Sheley Secrest is with the NAACP. She expected a large Seattle response to Ferguson, given this city’s recent spotlight on racially biased policing.
Secrest: “We’ve got a Department of Justice investigation findings that police officers, they handle black men unfairly. So, when you’re talking about police brutality, it hits home here.”
[Sound of chanting]
As the crowd rolled on, store owners, shoppers and office workers looked on from the sidewalks. Many smiled, others chanted along. Cars honked in support.
During the march, Ariel Hart handed out flyers for programs that help youth confront racism.
Ariel Hart: “So I’m dealing with hurt and a lot of anger and wanting to channel in a way that going to bring about change.”
Hart said she feels hopeful.
Others were less optimistic, like Eric Sims.
Sims: “Oh, it’s never gonna change. It stays the same. This will last for a few, then it disappears into the mix. What’s the solution?”
Reverend Kelly Brown said the march gives her a place to put her energy and emotion.
Rev. Kelly Brown: “I mourn for mothers, I mourn for fathers, I mourn for black men who are afraid they won’t make it home at night.”
Kinde: “It just gets tiring after a while, when it’s like black lives not worth nothing.
Jegna Kinde kept toward the back of the crowd. The tall, black man stood out in a bright yellow rain suit. But he walked the two-mile route quietly, with hands raised up in surrender.
Kinde: “Just imagine like me having my hands up here the whole time and somebody still goes ahead and presses the trigger. I find that hard, so…I’m worried. I’m worried.
[chant: “Hands up, don't shoot.”]
Worried, he said, for young, black kids who grow up to fear the police.
I’m Liz Jones, KUOW News.