Celebrate Eastside Community Activists

Change of Plans Due to Inclement Weather!

We are shifting Celebrating Eastside Community Activists to a drive-up event

Please swing by Edith Moulton Park on Saturday between 2 and 3 pm to grab your Thank You Bag and say a brief hello or wave from your car.

We’ll be waiting under the covered awning at the entrance of the park, ready to hand you a bag (with PINCKNEY’S COOKIES) and send you on your way with all of our love and gratitude.

Indivisible is hosting a party to celebrate community activists on the Eastside! We appreciate the work you do in our community, and want to celebrate and honor your accomplishments!

Please RSVP on this Activist Form to tell us more about you, and how you would like to participate in the event. Thank you!

Details:

  • When: Saturday, September 18, 2-5 pm.
  • Where: Edith Moulton Park (13634 108th Ave NE, Kirkland WA 98034)
  • Hosted by Indivisible Kirkland & Indivisible Eastside as part of Welcoming Week 2021: Belonging Begins With Us.
  • We want to create a space of connection, celebration, and sharing!
  • We will provide light refreshments.
  • If you are interested in sharing your accomplishments or experiences with other activists, there will be an opportunity to speak — or to display info about your organization.
  • Families are welcome! There will be arts & crafts and a playground.
  • Masks will be required in the covered picnic area, optional in other park spaces unless required by local mandates.

a crowd of activists


With activism on the Eastside flourishing over the last few years, we fear that we might miss inviting some folks. Please help us spread the word!

Share these invitations with your fellow activists and organizers!

  1. Shareable link on Canva!
  2. Shareable pdf!
  3. Instagram post!
  4. Facebook post!

Should Indivisible endorse eliminating the HCC?

map of Houghton

Indivisible Kirkland has been asked to endorse a side in a local proposition! We are being asked to sign on to the No on Prop 1 campaign to eliminate the Houghton Community Council.

Every four years, residents of the Houghton neighborhood vote on whether to continue having the Houghton Community Council. The HCC is the only neighborhood council that has veto power over the Kirkland City Council when it comes to Houghton land use and zoning.

This strange quirk came about as a provision of Houghton’s merger with Kirkland in 1968. Most of the councils with veto power set up back then were disbanded; Houghton’s is one of only two that remain in the entire state.

Proponents of the HCC say that it acts as a useful check on the city, especially when it comes to upzoning and densification. However, Chanin Kelley-Rae (who has been working on an equity gap analysis for the City of Kirkland) and others have identified the HCC as a significant impediment to equity in Kirkland, since it enshrines a system in which some voters have more say than others in decisions that affect us all.

Since the city is incentivized to compromise with the HCC and pass land use policies that the HCC won’t veto, the members of the HCC end up with an outsized voice in Kirkland planning. (The city also has to devote most of one FTE to HCC-related work. [Source.])

Voting YES on Prop 1 will keep the HCC around for another four years. Voting NO on Prop 1 will eliminate the HCC.

The committee opposing Prop 1 comprises several Indivisible Kirkland members who are working against this proposition on the grounds that the HCC is an inherently undemocratic and inequitable institution that should be sunsetted in order for Kirkland to operate more fairly and justly.

Please vote below on whether you Indivisible should endorse ending the HCC.

Coming Soon
Should Indivisible Kirkland endorse this campaign to end the HCC?
Should Indivisible Kirkland endorse this campaign to end the HCC?
Should Indivisible Kirkland endorse this campaign to end the HCC?

Demand equity in LWSD schools!

Urgent Call to Action!

It’s crucial that the LWSD has a robust equity policy in place, and right now THEY DO NOT. An equity policy serves as a guidepost for the district’s equity work and a framework to focus on racial equity at all levels of the district. Learn more and find a link for contacting the school board here.

LWSD does not have an Equity policy. It was supposed to develop one this year & adopt it over the summer. It did not. Email boardmembers@lwsd.org and let them know that our district needs a STRONG equity policy so we can move forward in closing educational gaps in our schools!

Indivisible Kirkland’s response to LWSD’s Proposed Equity Policy

August 9, 2021

Dear LWSD School Board Directors,

Indivisible Kirkland is a progressive community organization with over 600 members. We care deeply about local civic engagement and have been actively engaged in the community since 2017. In the past, we have supported the district by advocating for LWSD levy and bond propositions.

We recognize and believe that the equity issues facing school boards and city councils on the Eastside are tremendously important. We firmly believe that school boards and city councils must take action to change the systems, structures and practices that allow inequity of outcomes to continue.

We would like to commend you on your efforts to create a Lake Washington School District School Board Equity Policy. The equity statement serves as a guidepost for the district’s equity work and a framework to focus on racial equity at all levels of the district. Embracing a clear and direct equity statement will help lead the way to a strong, anti-racist equity policy in the LWSD. We will fully support a strong, anti-racist policy.

As you know, the need for an equity policy becomes clear when looking at the racial gaps that exist in education in Washington (WA State School Directors’ Association):

  • Black students make up 4.4% of students in WA’s public schools, but Black teachers make up only 1.5% of WA’s teachers;
  • Black students who have one Black teacher by third grade are 13% more likely to enroll in college, and those who have two Black teachers by third grade are 32% more likely to enroll in college;
  • Though Black students make up 4.4% of WA’s public school student body, they are 8.3% of the students excluded from class for disciplinary reasons, creating a racial discipline gap;
  • Indigenous students make up 1.3% of WA school students, but are 7.7% of students excluded from class.

And, most importantly, LWSD youth have told stories of the racism that they have experienced in their lives as students. These stories are “proof” enough of the work that needs to be done. It is also important to listen to the voices of district stakeholders, Black families, Indigenous families and families of color. As an educational community, we must honor all of these voices and strive to create an anti-racist educational system. An equity policy is the first step in that process.

But not all equity policies are created equal. An equity policy must be strong and specifically indicate that it is in place to create an anti-racist educational environment. Some components of an anti-racist educational system include:

  • Hiring racially, ethnically, and gender diverse staff;
  • Allocating resources in a way that creates equity;
  • Actively pursuing anti-racist curriculum;
  • Engaging students and families in the learning and educational environment in a meaningful way;
  • Academic and participation outcomes, not intentions, are the measures of success
  • All staff, including administration and board directors, will receive ongoing anti-racism/anti-bias training;
  • All volunteers in positions of authority, such as PTA members, club organizers, etc., also have the opportunity to receive anti-racism/anti-bias training;
  • The racial gap in discipline tactics, including the policing of schools, is addressed, allowing all students to thrive as children.

The Lake Washington School District is a premier school district and should be a leader in creating a new kind of educational system that acknowledges that “educational equity can only exist when a student’s level of opportunity and achievement cannot be predicted based on race, characteristics, or circumstances” (WSSDA) and that creating this equity is truly the guiding light of education.

Sincerely,

Indivisible Kirkland

Defund the Kirkland Police?!

We’ve all been hearing a lot about the “Defund the Police” movement. How does it apply in Kirkland? Does racist policing happen in Kirkland, too?

Our September member meeting was all about:

  • the national campaign to defund the police
  • the history of policing and race
  • an overview of policing in Kirkland
  • the question: can the police be reformed?

Here are the slides that people have asked for most:

After the racist KPD incident at Menchie’s, in which KPD asked a Black customer to move along, KPD released data on the 911 calls they get regarding “unwanted subjects.” This does not include trespassing — it’s just 911 calls from businesses who don’t want a person in their shop.
After the murder of George Floyd by a Minnesota police officer, KPD released data on their uses of force over the last couple of years. This is the breakdown by race.
Pulling the above two sources together, we find that Black Kirklanders are roughly 20 times more likely to experience police violence, 18 times more likely to be reported as “unwanted” by Kirkland business owners, and 36 times more likely to end up with a police report as an “unwanted subject.”

And here is the entire slide deck!

Statement on Defunding the Police

July 2, 2020

Indivisible Kirkland stands in solidarity with Black-led organizations calling for defunding the police and investing in community wellness, particularly in programs that will positively impact Black, brown, and indigenous communities.  Previous efforts at changing policing have not worked, leaving us “trapped on a treadmill of reform” (Angela Davis).  Defunding the police, through efforts such as those explained in #8toAbolition, will stop the treadmill and create real change.

“There is a clear need to rebalance power between the police and the communities they are supposed to protect. We shouldn’t be handing out unlimited funding to local police departments that have proven over and over again that they are going to use that money to inflict violence on Black communities. Instead, we should call on our city leaders to cut funding for police departments, and use that money to invest in meeting Black and brown community’s needs. That means taking money out of police budgets to make sure people have well-funded schools, good living-wage jobs, affordable housing, and more”

— Indivisible National

BLM-Seattle/King County tells us that to divest from policing and invest in communities we should: 

  • create affordable housing
  • bolster mental health services
  • end youth incarceration
  • fully fund education
  • create police-free schools.  

Indivisible Kirkland pledges to support the organizations, with particular emphasis on Black-led groups, who are working to defund the police and invest in marginalized communities. Our support comes in the form of financial support, policy advocacy at the local and state levels, and amplifying the work that Black and brown leaders are doing in our community. 

For more information on defunding the police, please utilize these resources:

Indivisible’s Position Paper on School Resource Officers

Skip straight to our petition at change.org/NoPoliceInLWSD!

The death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis has once again focused national attention on systemic problems of police overreach, brutality, and lack of accountability. Around the country, school districts are acting to sever their relationships with local law enforcement, in order to protect our teens and tweens from the risks of exposure to the police and criminal justice systems.

As parents and community members of the Lake Washington School District, we are asking LWSD to demonstrate our community’s commitment to social justice and racial equity by ending the SRO program in our schools. It is time to stop spending our limited educational resources on armed police presence, and instead invest that money in behavioral health services and restorative justice practices that genuinely keep our students safe while affirming their rights and dignity.

Benefits and Risks of SRO Programs

SRO programs spread through the US in the 1990s and 2000s, tasked with decreasing criminal activity on school campuses and preventing school shootings. However, research has consistently failed to find evidence that SRO programs decrease either school shootings or general school crime. (See, for example, “The Impact of School Policing,” “Does more policing make middle schools safer?”, “What do we know about the effects of school-based law enforcement on school safety?”.)

Meanwhile, research has found serious downsides to SRO programs. In many districts, introducing SRO programs has greatly increased the number of at-risk students who enter the criminal justice system. We commend LWSD on the steps it has taken to mitigate these risks, including keeping school discipline in the hands of school staff. However, studies find that SRO programs create a school-to-prison pipeline even in districts where steps are taken to ensure not all school behavior problems are reported as crimes (Students, police, and the school-to-prison pipeline).

SRO programs can even decrease students’ academic performance. A recent quasi-experimental study in Texas found that “exposure to a three-year federal grant for school police is associated with a 2.5 percent decrease in high school graduation rates and a four percent decrease in college enrollment rates” (Patrolling public schools). The same month, a New York City study found that greater exposure to community policing significantly decreased Black boys’ test scores (Aggressive policing and the educational performance of minority youth).

Given this research, SRO programs can no longer be considered an evidence-based best practice. The benefits simply do not outweigh the risks.

Advocates of SRO programs may point to less-tangible benefits, such as positive mentoring relationships between students and police. We recognize that SROs can and have made a positive impact in the lives of some of our community’s young people.

However, we also have to take seriously what activists and policy experts of color tell us about the negative intangible effects of overpolicing on Black youth and other youth of color (particularly children with undocumented family members). “It’s a very specific group of people who feel safe with police, but most black and brown children do not feel safe with police in schools,” says Jackie Byers, executive director of the Black Organizing Project.

Closer to home, one King County student said, “School seems like a prison. You have police. You have all these security guards. There are security cameras everywhere you go, in your class and even outside the bathroom. They treat you like you’re always about to do something. It feels like everyone has it out for you” (Students not suspects).This certainly does not describe the learning environment we want for our children.

Alternatives to SRO Programs

Happily, we do not need to maintain a full-time armed police presence in our schools in order to keep our students safe and ensure they have positive mentoring relationships with professional helpers. Alternative programs, such as social-emotional learning programs and positive behavior management strategies have been shown to increase school climate and decrease problematic behaviors (School Resource Officers). The Dignity in Schools campaign, among others, has written many model policies detailing how to implement school safety and behavior policies without subjecting our students to unnecessary policing (Why Counselors, Not Cops?). School counselors, social workers, and other behavioral and emotional health professionals play a crucial role in ensuring safe schools and crisis response. By reinvesting our SRO budget in social workers, we can ensure that students facing behavioral and emotional challenges continue to have positive role models and mentors in the school. Unlike SROs, mental health professionals are trained in helping students learn prosocial strategies for dealing with their problems, using approaches that are strengths-based, culturally appropriate, and trauma-informed.

Refocusing resources on mental and behavioral health programs has additional benefits, too. The ACLU points out these programs can protect students from depression and suicidality — dangers that are far more likely than a school shooting (Cops and no counselors). LWSD currently falls far short of the American School Counselor Association’s recommended 250:1 student-to-counselor ratio, making this an important place to invest our limited school resources (State by state student-to-counselor ratio maps).

Our tweens and teens who are struggling with behavioral and social/emotional challenges deserve to be aided by well-trained mental health professionals, not armed law enforcement.

Let’s use this moment to reexamine what really keeps kids safe in school. Let’s commit our resources to truly effective ways to help them learn and grow.

We call on Lake Washington School District to:

  1. End the regular presence of sworn officers and armed security in LWSD schools.
  2. Reallocate this funding to school counselors, social workers, and other positive behavior intervention.
  3. Terminate all current memoranda of understanding with local law enforcement and replace them with agreements that severely restrict the circumstances under which schools can allow police into schools.
  4. Form a task force to examine Dignity in Schools’ model code, and to propose modifications to LWSD policy to bring us into alignment with practices that avoid criminalization of students and protect them from unnecessary entanglement with law enforcement.

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