Put justice first and save lives
The De-Escalate Washington Leadership Team supports the decision of the Seahawks to sit out the national anthem. Many in the Leadership Team are staunch Seattle Seahawks fans. Our Campaign Manager, Riall Johnson, played professional football for nine years. We back the continued efforts to put justice first.
I-940 supporters include men and women connected to the armed services, either as veterans or currently serving, and they have told us that they serve to protect our freedoms, including the freedom of speech.
These protests began as a response to police violence. De-Escalate Washington’s goal is to change the culture of policing, reduce violence and save lives. The campaign is gathering signatures for Initiative 940, which will require violence de-escalation and mental health training for all officers. The objective is better trained officers and safer communities. James Rideout, Puyallup Tribal Councilmember, lost his niece to police violence and has dedicated countless hours on this issue. “We’ll never see justice for our loved ones. But preservation of life is our goal,” he said.
Marilyn Covarrubias’ son Daniel was killed by Lakewood Police in 2015 and she has been very public about the impact police violence has on families. “We want to be able to trust the police again.” Covarrubias wants better training. “I feel that proper training will give police the tools to interact with human beings in a more compassionate manner,” she said.
Thirty-one people have been killed this year in Washington, with 19 since June. In 2016, there were 29 people killed by police in our state. This summer, the campaigners grieved along with the nation when Charleena Lyles was killed at the hands of the Seattle Police Department, with her children at her side. “We need Initiative 940 passed to ensure my cousin Charleena Lyles didn’t die in vain!” said Katrina Johnson.
The NFL players are raising awareness to something that is much too real for families who have lost loved ones. Michael Bennett’s own experience with police violence in Las Vegas makes his participation, and his support of Charleena Lyle’s children, even more compelling.
None of us are just bystanders. We urge everyone, individuals and politicians, to take the next step. Sign the petition and volunteer for the campaign. Learn more at deescalatewa.org.
Let’s put justice first and save lives.