Wash. Protests: National outcry on a local level

Alina Cunningham, Staff Writer

Conversation regarding racial equity led to protest in Olympia, Wash. this spring. Photo retrieved from Twitter.com

A nationwide conversation on racial inequality, which led to riots and protests nationwide started after the infamous tape was leaked of George Floyd’s unfortunate and untimely death. The anger felt by the marginalized people targeted by the police on a consistent basis started a national conversation that resulted in protests happening on a local scale in Tacoma, Olympia, Seattle, and the rest of the Pacific Northwest.

Protests in Olympia got so intense that, according to The Olympian, the City of Olympia considered a citywide curfew in order to curb the impact of the protests. The protests that happened were commonly labeled by media outlets as “violent” or “becoming violent,” as different storefronts were vandalized and broken into by some of these protesters. Corporate store owners, such as the owners of Target and Hobby Lobby, reported being broken into, having windows smashed or merchandise stolen.

The Olympian reports that storefronts on a local level that were not large chain retailers were largely left alone. Reports of graffiti were found written in spray-paint on the wooden boards covering the storefronts in downtown Olympia.

Protesters throughout the Pacific Northwest often brought up concerns over police budgets and the weapons and tools utilized by the police. The concerns and outcry that caused the protests were concerning the topic of police brutality, with the focus becoming the need for police accountability.

In solidarity with police reform movements, on Jun. 9th, Gov. Jay Inslee made a public statement calling for police reform. “I know that we have to rethink police and Public Safety in Wash. State,” said Inslee.

This support allowed protesters the ability to push for the change they were asking for with the support of the governor behind them. While protests have died down due to a shift in priority levels because of wildfires, the importance and meaning behind these protests are still relevant.

Videos documenting the protests and riots that happened in downtown Olympia are readily available with a quick Twitter or Google search. In light of COVID-19 restrictions, various protesters showed up with water and sanitation products at a Jun. 1st protest, so that those involved could stay safe from COVID-19 while protesting against racial inequality.

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