The tide has definitively turned towards divesting from the Seattle Police Department and investing in real community health and safety. Our communities deserve better than failed, violent, militarized, and racist SPD practices. At this morning’s press conference, Mayor Durkan relied on fear-mongering and outdated talking points to distract from the four-point plan Decriminalize Seattle and King County Equity Now have presented, and that a majority of City Council members are supporting.
To reiterate, we demand that immediate divestments from SPD’s remaining 2020 budget be reinvested in (1) development of a civilian-controlled 911 system, (2) scaling up community-based responses to crises that restore and build health and safety, (3) funding a community-led research process to develop a roadmap for life beyond policing, and (4) making investments in housing to support immediate survival needs. There is resounding support for these measures. The path forward requires significant investments that should be funded via significant police budget divestments from law enforcement practices we know cause harm and do not make our communities safer.
For years, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) community members and organizations have been working to push community-led alternatives to the life-threatening status quo. Now is not the time to distract from the urgent and clear demands from community. Even as the Mayor and the Chief of Police scramble to derail progress with their divisive rhetoric, we will continue to invest the time and energy in defense of Black lives to implement this four-point plan. We call on elected officials to do more than just listen to our BIPOC community. They must back our vision with action, investments, and support.