2,000 people participate in Lake City demonstration on Saturday

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

The entire 25 block long route was filled both directions
Photo by Mark Mendez

By Diane Hettrick

2,000 people participated in a demonstration in Lake City on Saturday, May 30, 2020, organized by the Racial Equity Team from Nathan Hale High School in Lake City and inspired by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25.

Photo by Mark Mendez

The Racial Equity Team is a group of over 25 teachers and students at Hale who meet weekly "to center our school’s work on forwarding educational justice for those students furthest from receiving it." They work closely with and are supported by Seattle Public Schools' Department of Racial Equity Advancement (DREA). They are open to participation from parents and community members.

The members' purpose was “To encourage our community to strive towards an antiracist mindset, to show our commitment to anti racist action and to demonstrate our solidarity with those who have been victims of racial injustice throughout our nation."
 Bicycle participant pauses for a photo as the line of car stretches
out behind her as far as the eye can see.
Photo by Mark Mendez

The word went out on social media for like-minded people to join them at 9:30am Saturday morning for a car caravan on a stretch of Lake City Way from the school on 110th NE to 135th NE and back again.

Participants were urged to "Bring your voice, your signs, and your commitment to justice for all people. "

They were also instructed to adhere to social distance guidelines.

Students lead the pedestrians along the route
Photo by Mark Mendez

Several dozen bicyclists and pedestrians were there, but possibly because the line up started 30 minutes after a major thunderstorm, most people chose to drive.

The Lead Car
Photo courtesy Racial Equity Team
Two parking lots were full of lines of cars before the caravan started
Photo courtesy Racial Equity Team

The lead car led out the line promptly at 10am. When they completed the loop and arrived back at Hale there were hundreds of cars still waiting to leave.

They drove slowly along Lake City Way, beeping their horns, many with their emergency lights flashing. Many had signs on their cars. Others waved small signs from inside their vehicles. Some stood on the sidewalk and cheered everyone on.

The feeling of purpose and solidarity was palpable.

Team spokesperson Larry Uhlman said there were "No major problems, which I attest to our planning, the size of our event, and the time of day. Some people had to wait a long time in their cars before getting on the demonstration route, but they were incredibly patient and positive."

Photo by Mark Mendez

As for what lies ahead, the Team will continue to meet.

"We are heartened by the overwhelming turnout on Saturday and the positive energy brought by so many. Most importantly, we recognize there is so much work to be done: we are busy making plans for our next steps. 
"What is happening in the world right now is heartbreaking. While we do not promote rioting, these actions show us so clearly that changes need to occur. 
"In the words of MLK Jr. 'A riot is the language of the unheard.' We as a society need to seriously examine why this is happening and take action to change things." 


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