GLEAMS NEWS: Retired Black Fire Fighters Protest, Vandals Strike FCS Van, and More


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Demonstration against the home of retired Seattle black firefighters on February 9, 2022. (Photo: Susan Fried)

Retired black firefighters hope to preserve iconic building

Reporting by Susan Fried

The Seattle Black Firefighters Association retiree – joined by Seattle’s first black fire chief, Claude Harris, 88 – held a press conference last Wednesday, February 9, announcing the group’s disappointment with the impending sale of the building of the Seattle Black Firefighters, a house they helped buy some 40 years ago.

Clarence Williams, president of the North West Association of Retired Black Firefighters Association, affiliated with the International Association of Black Professional Fire Fighters, told the meeting that he wanted the ongoing sale of the Seattle Black Firefighters building on the 23rd Avenue and East Pike Street will be discontinued. The group says it has not been consulted and wants the sale to be stopped and retired firefighters to be put in charge of managing the property.

Community activist Eddie Rye supported efforts by retired black firefighters to stop the sale of the building, which gave the organization a presence in what was once the center of Seattle’s black community.

Photo of the Seattle Filipino Community 24-seater pickup truck parked in their parking lot.
The Seattle Filipino community van was vandalized last week. (Photo: Ronnie Estoque)

Vandals Strike Again Filipino Community of Seattle Van

On February 9, at around 10 p.m., the local non-profit Filipino Community of Seattle (FCS) van was damaged by unknown persons. A vehicle had pulled into the FCS parking lot that night, and two people appeared to damage the van by creating a hole in its gas tank, resulting in a leak. According to the FCS, several damages to the van over the past few months have cost their organization dearly.

“This damage has caused us thousands of cleanups and our van has already been targeted and damaged by being emptied of work parts,” FCS said in a statement shared on their social media platforms.

The motive for the crime is unclear, but last year on November 11 at 9am the van was also targeted and damaged while being stripped of its working battery. The 24-seat van was purchased last August with a $65,000 grant from King County and additional community contributions. It is primarily used by FCS to provide after-school programs for its seniors.

“Any information would be greatly appreciated as we would really like to know who and why this was done,” FCS added.

FCS was founded in 1935 and focuses on providing social services to the community by providing affordable housing through the development of their Filipino community village, services for the elderly, as well as youth development, STEM, arts and culture and basic needs (in the form of food bags and Filipino hot meals).

Community members with advice on the incident can send it to [email protected] or call 206-722-9372.

Left: Protester with a sign made from an indefinite leave card issued by the US War Relocation Authority that reads “Child Abuse”; Right: Protester with a sign reading “Nunca Más Es Ahora”, which translates to “Never Again Is Now”; Remembrance Day 2020 Protest Signs (Photo: Sharon Ho Chang)

Remembrance Day Memories and Unveiling of Testimonials

The Lakeshore, a South End retirement community at 11448 Rainier Ave. S, will commemorate the 80th anniversary of Executive Order 9066 on Monday, February 21. EO 9066 was signed on February 19, 1942 by President Franklin Roosevelt, allowing for the forced resettlement of Japanese people to the United States in incarceration camps during World War II.

More than 30 artifacts from across the country were collected from The Lakeshore residents: personal photographs, camp artwork, jewelry made from shells found at the camps, and memorabilia. A resident had a copy of the notice ordering people to report to be evicted from their homes.

“It is a great honor to welcome on this day the stories of our Japanese American residents who have lived or have family, friends, colleagues and fellow citizens who have been part of this unforgettable period of We are grateful to our residents and our partnership with Densho, who continue to teach us and help us never forget,” said Lindsey Pelland, General Manager of The Lakeshore.

The community partnered with a volunteer and daughter of resident Homer Yasui, Barbara Yasui. She has presented Japanese American Remembrance Day for years and this year she partnered with The Lakeshore to collect items and display them in remembrance of the signing.

Yasui “is a Densho volunteer and will share these artifacts with them. For 26 years, Densho, a Seattle-based nonprofit, has documented the testimonies of Japanese Americans who were incarcerated during World War II. They offer first-hand accounts, coupled with historical imagery and educational resources, to explore the principles of democracy and promote justice for all,” said a press release from Lakeshore.

Two shows will take place on Monday, one for the general public at noon and a second for residents at 2 p.m. RSVP for the noon ceremony at 206-772-1200. Space is limited.

Collage of people presenting BIPOC in various settings.  Above the collage is black text that reads
Photo courtesy of Zero Youth Detention.

Survey to reduce gun violence

The Community Safety Task Force, one of five task forces working with Public Health – Seattle and King County (PHSKC) and the Zero Youth Detention (ZYD) Program, is seeking input from youth, members from the community and others in King County to inform their recommendations for developing a personalized and unique approach to reducing and eliminating gun violence in the area.

Stakeholders and partners are working collaboratively, across sectors, to effectively improve the lived experiences and outcomes of Black and Brown youth and young adult men aged 12-25. Research shows that this demographic is disproportionately impacted by unfair conditions, overexposure to violence, and the justice system. If you would like to provide feedback on your experiences related to safety and well-being in King County, you can access the survey through the regional community-led safety questions on Google Forms. Please feel free to distribute the survey, especially to young people across the county. You can learn more about the ZYD Community Regional Safety and Wellbeing Plan at

If you have any questions, please contact co-facilitators Katoya Palmer ([email protected]) or Tiarra Dearbone ([email protected]).

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