The death of George Floyd, the unarmed black man strangled by white Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on May 25, is by no means an isolated incident of racist violence against black and brown people in America at the hands of law enforcement (see: Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and countless others). Below, we've rounded up ways to peacefully protest racist institutions with local branches of organizations like Black Lives Matter, honor the memories of those lost to racist violence, contribute to social justice organizations and bail funds (including through ordering takeout from local black-owned restaurants and other businesses who have pledged to donate a portion of their sales to the cause), and more resources. We'll be keeping this post updated, but you can also check out our Black Lives Matter calendar for an ongoing list of demonstrations, virtual events with black artists, and more. Plus, check out our guide to supporting black music artists in Seattle.
Jump to: Things to Do | Ways to Donate | Additional Resources | POC-Focused Films About Social Justice & Systematic Inequality
THINGS TO DOPROTESTS & VIGILS
Every weekday morning, black womxn members of the Seattle Black Collective Voice will lead a march from 10th and Pine to an undisclosed location, demanding justice for black lives.
Weekdays (Capitol Hill)
SCC Letter Writing Party
Bring stamps and stationery to this letter-writing party with the Seattle Change Coalition, where you can write local representatives about important issues like banning the new youth jail, responsibly distributing the 2021 budget (i.e. cutting SPD's budget and redistributing funds to Black communities), honoring Duwamish land, and other topics.
Saturday, September 5 (Capitol Hill)
Do you know of a protest or resistance event that we don't have listed here? Use this form to let us know about it!
WAYS TO DONATE
Future Primitive Brewing
Future Primitive is collaborating with 100 breweries around the world to support Black Lives Matter with their new 10% Imperial Stout, which will be released on Thursday, July 16. Proceeds will benefit the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Order online for pickup.
Support Black-Owned Businesses in Seattle
Many black-owned restaurants and businesses in Seattle are currently offering delivery, curbside pickup, and other remote ordering options. Check out this section of our location directory to find out how to show some love for local favorites like Chef Edouardo Jordan's Southern-inspired JuneBaby (offering rotating dinner menus, pantry staples, and retail items), Chef Makini Howell's vegan spots Plum Bistro and Plum Chopped (offering takeout, delivery, and family meals), and more.
If you're a restaurant owner and you'd like to tell us how you're supporting the cause, you can fill out this form.DIRECT LINKS TO LOCAL CAUSES
Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County Freedom Fund
The local branch of the volunteer-run social justice organization Black Lives Matter has established a fund to help provide bail to those who have been arrested for protesting the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Manuel Ellis in May.
Northwest Community Bail Fund
This fund provides cash bail for marginalized, low-income people incarcerated for low-level crimes in King and Snohomish County.
Not This Time!
Following the fatal police shooting of his brother, Che, Seattle's Andrè Taylor formed this nonprofit that successfully backed Initiative 940, which "removed the 'malice' standard previously needed to charge Washington law enforcers with violent crimes," Seattle Met explains. Today, they're dedicated to advocating for police reform in Washington State.
Victim Family Funds
Seattle's history of racist violence is just as dire as it is in Minneapolis, Louisville, and other states across America. Support the families of locals whose loved ones have been killed by police, including Said Joquin, who was killed in Lakewood on May 1 for allegedly running a traffic stop, and Manuel Ellis, who died after a police confrontation in Tacoma in March.
This list compiled by Sarah Sophie Flicker and Alyssa Klein includes tons of articles, videos, podcasts, books, films and TV, and other links "intended to serve as a resource to white people and parents to deepen our anti-racism work."
The Bureau of Fearless Ideas
The Seattle branch of the Dave Eggers-founded writing nonprofit suggests accounts to follow, books by black authors, donation sites, direct action literature, and podcasts about race.
The Pioneer Square studio has compiled a list of reading materials, videos, and other resources outlining the relationship between graphic design and the fight for equality throughout history.
Beacon Hill's social justice-focused library now delivery through their online bookshop.
Queen Anne Book Company Reading List
The independent bookstore has rounded up reading suggestions like Ibram X. Kendi's How to Be an Antiracist and Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.
Pike Place Market Vendor Resources
This list of black-owned Pike Place shops and vendors includes places to support now by preordering, places to support once the market is fully open, and links to educational anti-racism resources.
Seattle Indivisible Daily Actions
The local branch of the volunteer-led organization has daily direct action suggestions, including emails to city council members about police reform and other local policy changes.
Seattle Met Reading and Resources
The local publisher has rounded up a Seattle-focused list of things to read and watch (like White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo, My People Are Rising: Memoir of a Black Panther Party Captain by Aaron Dixon, and This Glittering Republic by Quenton Baker), which is especially geared toward white people looking to better educate themselves about racial injustice.
Seattle Rep's Racial Justice Resources
Seattle Repertory Theatre has compiled links to local and national donation sites, memorial funds, petitions, and education material, plus numbers to call to demand justice for George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and Tony McDade.
SPL Readings About Race
The Seattle Public Library has a running list of e-books on race in America.
Third Place Books
Not sure how to help the fight racial injustice beyond making donations? Educate yourself with the local bookstore's list of books by black authors (available for purchase through their website), like Bryan Stevenson's Just Mercy and Ta-Nehisi Coates's We Were Eight Years in Power.
POC-Focused Films About Social Justice & Systematic Inequality
Director Ava DuVernay (Selma, When They See Us) explores the intersection of race, justice, and mass incarceration in the United States in this Emmy-winning, Oscar-nominated documentary titled after the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery in the United States.
Available via Netflix
The Black Power Mixtape: 1967-1975
Director/writer Göran Olsson admits his film isn’t comprehensive, but his outsider’s perspective lends a piquant slant unavailable to American filmmakers. He devotes almost as much time to ordinary black citizens dealing with injustice, drugs, and poverty as he does to leaders like Martin Luther King, Angela Davis, Stokely Carmichael, and Eldridge Cleaver, making us realize that Black people’s grievances resonate as urgently today as they did 40 years ago. DAVE SEGAL
Available via Kanopy
If you're looking for an example of the self-favoring extent to which police departments have policed themselves for decades, revisit this 1997 classic about NYPD cops who try to cover up the killings of two black men in small-town New Jersey—a case that the town's partially deaf sheriff (Sylvester Stallone) is tasked with investigating. Robert De Niro's in it, too.
Available via Hulu
Nominated for Best Documentary at the Tribeca Film Festival, this film spotlights We Copwatch, a group of civilians dedicated to filming the police—and who captured the original videos of the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Freddie Gray. Filmmaker Camilla Hall follows the group's founder, Jacob Crawford, from his home in Oakland to the sites of those murders.
Available via Amazon Prime and Kanopy
The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson
Using archival footage and the investigative work of NYC Anti-Violence Project's Victoria Cruz, David France's film explores the unsolved 1992 death of the highly influential transgender activist and Stonewall veteran Marsha P. Johnson. The film also features footage of Johnson's friend and fellow activist Sylvia Rivera, who "reminds us that transgender people and gender-nonconformists blazed a trail for civil rights, leaving a legacy that must be defended rigorously in the spirit of these two pioneers of the movement."
Available via Netflix
Do Not Resist
Men in camouflage carrying assault rifles looking on as a group of teenagers march past them holding protest signs. A mine-resistant military vehicle passing through a quiet neighborhood. State agents smashing the windows as they raid a family's home. No, this isn't Syria or North Korea or Bahrain. This is America and its police forces, as shown in the chilling and superb new documentary Do Not Resist. ANSEL HERZ
Available via multiple platforms
Oscar Grant was the unarmed 22-year-old black man who was shot to death by a transit cop in an Oakland train station—Fruitvale Station—on January 1, 2009. At trial, the officer convinced the jury that he mistook his gun for a Taser. Convicted of involuntary manslaughter, he served 11 months and was home before the year was out. In a way, Grant himself is on trial in Fruitvale Station, humanized compassionately yet unflinchingly on the big screen. But ultimately, you need only ask yourself: Why does this man have to prove he doesn't deserve to be killed? In our culture, who has to prove themselves and who doesn't? JEN GRAVES
Available via Tubi
Hell You Talmbout
This short film selection from the 2018 Social Justice Film Festival tells the story of a social justice-inspired dance troupe in Seattle, formed in the wake of the 2016 shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.
Available via Vimeo
I Am Not Your Negro
Sixteen years after Lumumba, Raoul Peck, who is Haitian, has directed I Am Not Your Negro, a documentary about one of the greatest writers of 20th-century America, James Baldwin. Now, it's easy to make a great film about Baldwin, because, like Muhammad Ali, there's tons of cool footage of his public and private moments, and, also like Ali, he had a fascinating face: the odd shape of his head, the triangle of hair that defined his forehead, and his froggy eyes. Just show him doing his thing and your film will do just fine. But Peck blended footage of Baldwin with dusky and dreamy images of contemporary America. These images say: Ain't a damn thing changed from the days of Baldwin and the Civil Rights Movement. But they say this with a very deep insight about the nature of time. CHARLES MUDEDE
Available via Grand Illusion and Ark Lodge
Destin Daniel Cretton directs this legal drama starring Michael B. Jordan as civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson as he travels to Alabama to defend Walter McMillian (Jamie Foxx) against a wrongful conviction. Warner Bros. Pictures is making the film available to rent for free through the end of June.
Available via Warner Bros. Pictures
Keepers of the Dream: Seattle Women Black Panthers
Following its Oakland progenitors, Seattle was one of the first cities to form a branch of the Black Panther Party. Scored by SassyBlack, this series of five short documentaries, produced by Patricia Boiko and Tajuan LaBee, serves as an introduction to the courageous actions of women Black Panther activists, from Frances Dixon to Phyllis Noble Mobley.
Available via Seattle Channel
Let It Fall: Los Angeles 1982–1992
The beating of Rodney King by five white police officers in Los Angeles in 1991 was one of the first viral videos of racist police violence, and it highlighted the long history of friction between the LAPD and the city's black and Latinx communities. This documentary traces that history, as well as the riots that followed the incident.
Available via Netflix
Losing Ground was one of the first feature-length dramas since the 1920s to be directed by a Black woman. After being screened at various film festivals, Losing Ground never got a wide-theatrical release during Collins' lifetime, which was tragically cut short by breast cancer at the age of 46 in 1988. In the time since, the film has been rediscovered and cherished widely by critics and Black filmmakers alike. Dreamy, meaty, and deeply intellectual, Losing Ground is remarkable because of its focus on the interior lives, class and gender dynamics, emotions, and dreams of the Black characters it depicts, specifically regarding the woman at the center of the film, Sara Rogers (played perfectly by Seret Scott). Despite the film's extremely small budget, the cinematography by Ronald K. Gray gives the visual palette a lushness that feels decadent; the deep greens of the trees upstate, Sara's colorful wardrobe, the wind-whipped roof on top of a building makes the film reflect the deep sensuality explored by its characters. Losing Ground is, as Charles Mudede says, "one of the most important and original American films of the second half of the 20th century." JASMYNE KEIMIG
Available via Criterion Channel
See here for more films highlighting black lives streaming for free on the Criterion Channel.
Queen & Slim
Queen & Slim may be the best—and is almost certainly the Blackest—film of 2019, and is perhaps most poignant for its gorgeous, complex, and multifaceted portrayal of the Black experience, where sparks of joy and love exist alongside pain, struggle, and oppression; a new American romance/drama written in the Black American language, told via a fully Black lens, and including a diverse array of characters who show that Black people are not a monolith. JENNI MOORE
Available via multiple platforms
Director Ava DuVernay's willingness to engage with this particularly American history of violence sets Selma apart—portraying a movement on film is an impossible task, but if DuVernay has succeeded, it's in the way Selma forces a kind of reckoning for its viewer. MEGAN BURBANK
Available via multiple platforms
Most of us remember scrolling through news about the Ferguson protests on Twitter in 2014, but Sabaah Folayan and Damon Davis’ directorial debut Whose Streets? fills in the blanks of the story, offering a humanizing, much-needed portrait of those involved. Dedicated to Michael Brown, the film captures the aftermath of the shooting of the unarmed 18-year-old—by a white police officer, while the Black young man had his hands in the air—using unflinching interviews with the still-grieving Ferguson residents who’ve seen their community unify against police brutality. JENNI MOORE
Available via Northwest Film Forum and Ark Lodge
You can also find several films about social and systemic injustice (including 2013's Let the Fire Burn, about the 1985 state-sanctioned eviction and subsequent burning of a Philadelphia row house) on Kanopy, a free streaming service for library cardholders. Check out our resistance & solidarity guide for more anti-racism resources.