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Blog (page 11)

Expose the Facts about Racial Bias in Washington!

Is the criminal justice system in Washington biased against people of color? Statistics from a new report may surprise you. Suppose a black driver and white driver are pulled over by police: Do you know which one is most likely to be searched? Do you know which one is most likely to actually have contraband in the car? Get involved and get the facts about racial bias. Take the quiz. We are working in the courts, in Olympia, and within Washington communities to stop racial bias, but we can't do it alone. We need your help. Take the quiz and spread the word about this injustice. Read More »

Public Safety Committee Recommendations: A Welcome First Step

The string of highly publicized incidents involving Seattle Police officers has resulted in community anger and mistrust as well as frustration on the part of the many excellent police officers who serve our city every day.  But the attention also gives City leaders a unique opportunity to make significant improvements in the policies and practices of the Department to ensure that all officers are able to maintain the public peace.  Read More »

What to do When Stopped by the Police? Exercise! (Your Rights)

I heard about a case some years ago where a person arrested by the police was advised of his rights and responded by remaining silent and doing a series of push-ups. When the police asked what he was doing, he said, “Exercising my rights!”   Read More »

Community Members Want Real Solutions to Gang Violence

Eva’s son died from gang violence.  Every day she lives with an aching desire to hold him again.  But despite her grief, she opens her home to young people in her community, some of whom are at risk to be involved in gangs. A Yakima Valley resident, she wants to keep them off the streets and safe from the violence.   Eva is angry that her son is no longer with her, yet she wants more opportunities to help young people rather than sending them behind bars. Read More »

Tell Olympia: Patients Deserve Safe Access to Medical Marijuana

Washington patients suffering from diseases like cancer, HIV, and MS do not have safe access to medical marijuana. We should not force seriously ill people and their families to turn to the black market. It doesn't have to be this way. Tell your senator to support Senate Bill 5073 which creates state-licensed dispensaries that will provide adequate, safe, and secure sources of medical marijuana.  Read More »

We Hear You, Now Listen: Voices Against the Death Penalty

My intense passion for righting wrongs came before any desire to work within legislation or politics. I became involved with social justice issues during my days as a Catholic schoolgirl, and although the dogma eventually disappeared, the need to help others remained.  In choosing an externship, the ACLU was my first choice, and a natural fit.  As I’ve learned more about its work, I’ve found that my gut reaction to the issues has been spot on.  Read More »

Stop the Violence: We Need Better Police Training

Last week, we learned that the King County Prosecutor decided not to criminally chargeformer Seattle police officer Ian Birk with the murder of John T. Williams. Last month, the Spokane County Prosecutor declined to bring criminal charges against Deputy Brian Hirzel for the murder of Pastor Wayne Creach. Over the past year, we have seen an increase in police-involved deaths in places such as Tacoma, Federal Way, and Gold Bar.  All officers would benefit from improved training to learn how to reduce these deadly interactions. Read More »

U.S. State Department to Make Passport Forms Gender Neutral

Great news! In “recognition of different types of families,” the U.S. State Department has announced its decision to offer gender neutral passport applications. These revised applications, which become available next month, will replace the terms “mother” and “father” with “Parent 1” and “Parent 2” and “remove significant challenges for the two million children being parented by [LGBTQ] parents.” This is another positive step by the State Department in relationship to LGBTQ community; last year the department modified a previous rule that transgender applicants could not modify their passport gender designation unless they had undergone gender reassignment surgery. Read More »

Your Right to Take to the Streets

Working in my office in downtown Seattle last Wednesday afternoon, I was pleased to hear the sounds of chanting and looked out to see people peacefully marching down the street holding signs. As spring inches its way to Seattle, I hope we will see more of the same, with people bringing their varied messages to the streets, sidewalks, parks, and squares all around our city. Read More »

Immigration Reform Starts with Hope

I am a proud, naturalized American citizen who believes firmly that immigration reform needs to begin from a positive starting point, not a negative one rooted in criminalization and stripping immigrants of basic civil rights. I arrived in California as a refugee when I was five years old and gained my citizenship as a teenager. This process was spurred on by my mother, who had heard rumors that the US would be deporting all non-citizen immigrants including those with legal status. My family couldn’t afford to all apply for citizenship at once so my mother and father, being the typical self-sacrificing immigrant parents, started my paperwork first, even with the false specter of deportation over their own heads. Read More »