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General News    H2'ed 1/20/15

Seattle Martin Luther King Day Marchers Block Highway 99 - Police Arrest 19 Protesters

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(Originally published @ Daily Kos click here)

On January 19, marchers took to the streets in Seattle to mark the city's 33rd annual Martin Luther King Jr. birthday celebration. Organizers promoted the event as "one of the largest annual Martin Luther King Day Celebrations in the U.S."

This year's official MLK march reflected a growing movement in the US. It was a protest against racism, injustice and police brutality. March organizers and speakers referred to recent mass protests in Ferguson, Missouri and dozens of other cities - demonstrations which were organized in response to the shootings of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and other young black men by police officers.

Seattle's own recent history includes a US Department of Justice review of the SPD which found a practice and policy of the use of excessive force. (www.justice.gov/...)

After the shooting deaths of African American men and a Native American woodcarver named John T. Williams, dozens of local community and civil rights groups demanded investigations into allegations of police brutality and racial profiling by SPD officers. (www.seattlepi.com/...)

Community leaders have called for more citizen oversight of the local police.

The Seattle MLK Celebration Committee's website quotes Dr. King:

"Make a career of humanity. Commit yourself to the noble struggle for human rights. You will make a greater person of yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in."

The committee also stressed Dr. King's commitment to education and non-violence.

Thousands gathered in the morning at Garfield High School in the Central District for a traditional day of workshops and a rally.

The community workshops addressed racism, police violence, affordable housing, immigration rights, civil rights and other social justice issues. A meeting was held to discuss the creation of an African American political action committee.

The Seattle MLK Celebration Committee (www.mlkseattle.org/...) chose the theme "Fight For Your Rights!" for this year's march. (www.mlkseattle.org/...)

A choir performed at the beginning of the 10 AM rally. Moderators Shaude Moore & Khaim Vassar welcomed the participants, followed by an invocation by Rev. Harriett Walden, founder Mothers for Police Accountability.(www.mothersagainstpolicebrutality.com)

Local community religious leaders were on hand to support the day of events.

LaShaunya Cee O'Cain sang "Lift Every Voice", known as the Black National Anthem.

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Independent journalist, musician and activist.
Contributing Writer - Huffington Post, Truth-out.org, Guest columnist Capitol Hill Times
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