Nikkita Oliver, a community organizer, lawyer and activist who has been a leader in Seattle’s push to defund the Police Department, is running for City Council, they announced Wednesday.
Oliver, who ran for mayor in 2017, coming in third in a crowded primary, is running for citywide Council Position 9, which will be vacant, with M. Lorena González’s campaign for mayor.
Oliver, who uses they/them pronouns, is director of Creative Justice, a local nonprofit that uses arts-based programs as an alternative to incarceration for young people.
They are a founding member of the Seattle People’s Party and were a prominent leader last summer of the mass protest movement pushing to defund the Seattle Police Department by 50% and reinvest in social and community programs. Oliver has also called for the complete abolishment of the police.
“Meeting basic needs is a baseline for community safety,” Oliver said, in announcing their campaign. “Our city deserves better options than violent policing and mass incarceration as our only choices for public safety. The majority of what we call crime happens because people do not have their basic needs met.”
Oliver has laid out an agenda of progressive policies that, in many cases, represent radical change from the status quo.
“Seattle must tax the wealthy to support people forced to the bottom of the economy,” they wrote.
Oliver supports an immediate halt to clearing homeless encampments, big increases in spending on affordable housing, and using more tiny house villages and hotels to house people in homelessness. They also called for a new fund inside the city parks department “to support people who use the parks for housing, enabling parks to help sustainably and humanely address the needs of unsheltered people.”
Oliver called for an end to Seattle’s contract with the King County Jail, free and universal public transit, mandating employers to allow employees to work from home, and for the city to pay reparations to Black residents, funded by cuts to the Police Department.
Oliver would fund 500 unemployed people to become community historians, community storytellers, musicians and artists.