Protests are ongoing nationwide in response to the death last week of George Floyd — a Black man in Minneapolis who was killed while in police custody — and years of police violence against Black people.
We asked our readers to tell us why they took to the streets in Seattle to protest. Here are some of their responses.
Did you join in the protests? If so, why were you motivated to do so? Tell us in the form below.
Reader responses have been edited for spelling and clarity.
“I participated because I’m Black and I’m mourning the death of strangers whose deaths are not strange to me. I stood with my hands in the air for two hours in front of the cops yelling, ‘Hands up, don’t shoot,’ and I was gassed three times. I’m tired. And if nothing happens after this, I don’t have too much hope for Black and brown people in America.” — Anonymous
“As someone who benefits from the many privileges of whiteness, it’s my duty to speak out against racist violence. It would have been easy to stay home yesterday — I worry about COVID-19, it was wet and miserable — but many people cannot simply ‘opt out’ of risk. I felt the need to show up and make a stand, to say, ‘This is NOT OK, we will not tolerate police violence against Black people.'” — E.A.
“I participated peacefully in yesterday’s march from Westlake to the courthouse. I marched because I wanted my body to be counted in the masses rising up to call for change. We want to take back the flag, take back our democracy. What’s more patriotic? Being loyal to an unequal status quo led by someone who seeks division, or believing we can do better? I believe in our country. We can do better.” — Elisha
“My family participated in a wonderful demonstration organized by the Nathan Hale High School Student Racial Equity group. It was bike- or drive-only, which made it feel safer with the current pandemic. We have had many conversations in our house with our teenagers about the systemic racism that is pervasive in our country. It felt important to participate and show solidarity that we must do better.” — Holly
“I participated in the protest last Saturday to voice my opinion and to denounce the unjust, inhumane and criminal murder of George Floyd. From Amadou Diallo, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin and Philando Castile, time and again the justice system failed us. What is expected from a community that continues to cry for justice and [is] ignored, what is expected from a system that protects cops that murder a person after they put him in handcuffs, what is expected from a community that’s lost its breath due to a pandemic and lost it again due to racism. The question should not be why I am out to protest, it should be why you are not!” — Yaddi
“I believe in the right to peacefully protest. I have participated in many protests over the years and feel it is my right as an American citizen.” — Anonymous
“Why did I join in the protest downtown on Sunday? I think the better question is: What took me so long? As a white man of 62, I have benefited from privilege all my life, simply because I am a white male. The divide in this country between the haves and have-nots, or more precisely, between those supporting the haves and those supporting the have-nots, has grown. The weaponizing of race as a tool has become more clear. Institutionalized racial discrimination and oppression have been laid bare by the coronavirus, which is inflicting more harm on people of color than whites. And by recent murders of African Americans by authorities and vigilantes. That is why I needed to be at the protest.” — Russ
“I participated in the protest midday on Monday, June 1, in downtown Seattle. It was so encouraging to see how many people showed up, both here and across the country. There’s a reason every major city — and many smaller ones — is having hundreds and thousands of people come out to march for justice, for police accountability, and for anti-racism: the American policing system is a problem. I marched today to make sure folks remember the name George Floyd, and to demand systemic change in how our society keeps people safe: defund, reduce and, ultimately, abolish police. There are other, better, more just ways to uphold health and safety. We BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) peoples deserve better.” — Kaileah
“I attended the rally outside Fifth and James and listened to powerful speeches calling for justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. The mostly masked protesters accepted the statement I handed out which calls for an elected civilian review board: ‘I can’t breathe’ six years later — and the fight against police violence rages on.” — Christina
“I have been participating in the protests around the 11th/Pine police precinct. I’m a grad student studying policy at the University of Washington College of Education. I see major investment money coming from private foundations and state/local funds to support Seattle’s students of color, but if these very students don’t feel safe and empowered in their own city, what are these initiatives really accomplishing? If teachers are being held to strict federal accountability standards, then why aren’t we getting to work on reforming the police force? I want our students of color to know that we care about them.” — Janey
Why are you protesting? Tell us below so we can share your story.