On the eve of Father’s Day, community members gathered in the parking lot of the Abubakr Islamic Center in Tukwila to march against a systemic injustice against Black families in America.
“One out of nine Black children have a parent who is incarcerated,” Sean Goode told the crowd.. The vast majority of those parents are men.
Goode is the executive director of Choose 180, a South King County nonprofit focused on intervention and diversion from incarceration and the criminal justice system.
He said that fatherhood is a privilege often taken away from Black men, locked up for too many misdemeanor charges related to mental health and alcohol or drug addiction. “There’s police violence but there is also the intended consequence of incarceration.”
Bryin Thomas, 18, a student at Morehouse College, spoke about his father, who has been incarcerated since he was a small child. “How come I ain’t in jail?” Thomas repeated in refrain throughout the speech. “My narrative could have easily been the same as my father’s.” He cited a strong network of surrogate fathers, and a strengthened relationship via phone calls and visits with his dad.
The crowd marched down Tukwila International Boulevard to a parking lot near the light rail station, where festive music and the scent of a barbecue smoker signaled lunch, provided by the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle.
“People need to remember, it not just about Black Lives Matter,” said Goode. “It’s about celebrating Black life.”