Image: Black Lives Matter Shoreline. Used with permission.
In June, Black Lives Matter in Shoreline, Washington, held an unprecedented march and rally in the small suburban city just north of Seattle. Some 5,000 people marched in the streets led by Black youth organizers. One of these organizers is 13-year old Kailyn Jordan. This middle school student was recently threatened with lynching for her advocacy work in the community. Black Lives Matter Shoreline is organizing a rally and march at Paramount Park on July 25 to support Boo and to say that a Black life matters in Shoreline.
Liberation News had the opportunity to speak with Shoreline organizers Darnesha and Mikayla Weary, a mother-daughter team.
The Wearys described the incident that has spurred the upcoming protest. As an organizer, Kailyn Jordan “did some education” with a white neighbor who had a Blue Lives Matter flag. She had a conversation with the neighbor about why that flag was hurtful and the neighbor removed it. However, another white neighbor became enraged by this, threatened Jordan, called her a racist slur, tried to run her over and threatened her with lynching.
Another neighbor walking by stepped in to support Kailyn and helped her to get home. But Kailyn and her mother were distraught by this experience.
Darnesha emphasized that Kailyn Jordan’s family has been in Shoreline for 50 years and for three generations they have had to deal with this kind of racism. She is also concerned that a Black family with children lives next door to the white woman who threatened Kailyn.
Mikayla explained that the previous Shoreline protest was focused on protecting Black youth, because they are being targeted. “This is a follow up. Our whole message was ‘protect us,’ then a few months later it happened again. At the rally, we introduced Kailyn and all the good work she is doing, so to have this happen is disappointing. ”
Darnesha added, “It wasn’t a coincidence, the woman kept saying ‘You are one of those Black Lives Matter people.’ It makes me furious as a leader, and also that she is going after children.”
Mikayla spoke about the seriousness of anti-racist work.
“This work could potentially threaten you especially if you are a Black youth who goes to school here. It can happen, they know where you live, where you go to school, your social media handles. This is not just for fun, we are really doing this work so we don’t have to go through this ever again. It’s not for a look or to be relevant.”
July 25: Stand with us
Darnesha explained that the protest will give an opportunity to others to show that the neighborhood doesn’t stand for this, that it doesn’t stand for hate.
The rally will take place at Paramount Park, 12 – 2 pm on July 25, with sign making at 11 am. The call out is “Stand with us.” “It’s a call to the white neighbors to show that Black lives matter in Shoreline. A Black life matters in Shoreline. This happens in our neighborhood.”
Darnesha wants to explain to neighbors, “It’s like when there are sexual predators and they send out the letters, this is the same for Black families. We need families to know how to respond.”
The rally will feature Black youth organizers from Shoreline and also nearby Edmonds.
Darnesha urged people to “Show up! And continue to do the work. If you can’t come out due to COVID, write a letter to Black families in Shoreline and post on social media and put a sign in your yard.” Mikayla suggested that neighbors could write letters to Kailyn to help her feel supported.
Mikayla added, “The first protest was informing. Black youth told our stories. Now it’s time for action. If you can’t show up, do something to make sure Black people feel safe.”