The 2015 Martin Luther King Jr. Day March begins at noon and proceeds from Garfield High School, 23rd & E Jefferson, Seattle, to the Federal Court House at 7th & Stewart, downtown Seattle.
The route is: (minor modification posted 1/16/15)
23rd at Garfield, west on Jefferson to 12th;
left on 12, past the Youth Detention Center, to Yesler;
right on Yesler, past the Yesler Terrace construction project;
right on Terrance (where Terrance, 4th & Yesler intersect), to 5th Avenue at the County jail;
left on Columbia to 4th to Stewart;
right on Stewart to the Federal Court House on 7th.
This route includes many locations of significance to Seattle justice activists:
Garfield High School is the home of an active Black Student Union, and the site of student-led participation in the Black Lives Matter movement protesting police violence against young black youth and men across the country. The students led walk-outs from school that were nonviolent and self-disciplined in the tradition of Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Youth Detention Center is a focus of controversy, where youth, especially youth of color, are channeled into the school-to-prison pipeline. We need more money spent in the areas that will help our youth become productive members of society: housing, health care, education, nutrition, access to living-wage jobs, nstead of criminalizing our youth and spending money on imprisoning them.
Yesler Terrace is Seattle's oldest public housing community, with about 1200 residents. A majority of these residents are African Americans and African immigrants. The community currently houses low income people who are about to be displaced by "redevelopment." Hundreds of low income units will be replaced by middle to high income housing and commercial spaces, thus adding to the critical shortage of low income housing in Seattle. In addition, the hiring practices on the construction project for the redevelopment to not meet standards for minority contractors or workers. Communities of color are very poorly represented on the job.
The County Jail - as most jails and prisons in the country- has an over-representation of People of Color and poor people. These include people awaiting trial who are unable to raise bail. African Americans are overrepresented at all stages of proceedings from stop and search to sentencing. Why are we willing to pay tens of thousands of dollars per year to house prisoners, but so little to house and educate our youth?
Seattle Police Headquarters is a focus of the march, as we protest unnecessary violence including killings by the police both in Seattle and across the nation. Young black men, often unarmed, and sometimes mentally ill, are killed by police in our country on average every 28 hours. Seattle police have used violence against youth stopped for minor infractions, have used racist language, Have assaulted handcuffed people in police custody, and have escalated situations to violence on many occasions.
The Federal Courthouse represents a system of courts with another chance for accountability when local courts do not come through. For example, in the case of the killing of unarmed youth Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, the police officer was not indicted. The Federal judicial system could consider the facts and decide to charge the officer with violation of Mike Brown's civil rights.
The 2014 Martin Luther King Jr. Day March route began at Garfield High School and concluded at the Westlake Park 401 Pine St.
Previous march routes have been from: