For Immediate Release
September 20, 2016
Reference: Nicole Ramirez, BAYAN USA Pacific Northwest Regional Coordinator, email@example.com
BAYAN USA Pacific Northwest Joins Fight Against Heightened State Repression in Seattle
BAYAN USA Pacific Northwest celebrates the victory of Seattle grassroots organizations, led by the Seattle Black Book Club, in stalling the building of the $149 million police precinct in North Seattle. Growing discontent and outrage from the community led to months of organizing, coalition building, and protests and last week, Mayor Ed Murray and City of Seattle council members succumbed to the pressure. They announced, “the City will not move forward with implementing the project at this time…[citing] concerns around equity, cost and community needs.” This is truly a victory of the people of Seattle, without whom city officials may have never stalled nor even questioned the building of what could have been the nation’s most expensive police precinct.
As we celebrate this victory, we also acknowledge and remind ourselves that the fight is not over. We will continue to raise our collective voices, as long as the City of Seattle still plans to allocate $15 million to renovating the North Seattle precinct instead of reallocating those funds to much needed social services for the community. We will continue to put pressure on city officials, as long as the City plans to hire 200 new police officers to the Seattle Police Department, a department that has been under federal investigation for use of excessive force since 2011. We will continue to take action, as long as King County still intends to build a $210 million new youth jail while refusing to invest in community-led alternatives to youth incarceration and offer real solutions for Seattle’s crisis of gentrification and homelessness.
During Monday’s Seattle City Council meeting, organizers demonstrated the unfinished fight against local prison and policing systems using guerilla theater. The speakers (including Anakbayan Seattle Chairperson and Anakbayan USA National Finance Officer, Nikki Caintic) were chained together wearing orange prison uniforms, and spoke passionately for the divestment from prisons and police. City council members encouraged speakers to follow the agenda, then stood and left the room to the disbelief of many community members. Community organizers continued the meeting in their absence, emphasizing that change would not come from city council, but from the power of the people. “As a child of immigrant Filipino parents displaced from their homeland, I’ve come to understand that the struggles of Black and Brown communities will always be linked as we fight against U.S. imperialism which has profited from the militarization and policing of our communities, the gentrification of Seattle, and the mass incarceration of people of color” Caintic shared.
BAYAN USA Pacific Northwest will continue to engage in and link the local and national struggles against police brutality, surveillance, and detention to the militarization happening in our homeland and around the world. The Filipino people have been fighting U.S.-led militarization and state repression in the Philippines for decades. On September 16th, we celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Philippine Senate’s historic decision to shut down former US military bases Subic Naval and Clark Air Force. A decision brought about by the pressure put on the government by the Filipino people to defend national sovereignty. On September 21st, we remember Ferdinand Marcos’ Proclamation 1081, declaring the state of Martial Law in attempt to crush the growing anti-fascist movement in the Philippines of the 1960s and 1970s. To this day, Martial Law and remnants of it imposed by the dictators after Marcos, have failed to dismantle the national democratic movement in the Philippines.
The victory against the bunker illustrates how people can come together to build collective power and shape history. People are rising up in Seattle, across the U.S., in the Philippines, and all over the globe, demanding genuine people-led solutions towards justice and peace, which cannot be achieved in the confines of existing systems upheld by capitalism and state repression. Increased state repression will only breed a growing resistance among the people to challenge these systems of oppression. Today, we celebrate this people’s victory and we honor and remember those whose lives have been taken from us. We continue the fight to unite with all oppressed peoples to advance the anti-imperialist struggle and defeat U.S. imperialism in all its forms.
Demilitarize Seattle! Block The Bunker!
Defund prisons and police! Invest in Community!
Resist State Repression!
Advance the anti-imperialist struggle!
Makibaka! Huwag Matakot! (Dare to Struggle! Do Not Be Afraid!)