Hundreds turn out for student-led Black Lives Matter protest at Franklin High School
Students, staff, parents and community members lined Rainier Avenue for two hours, chanting “No justice, no peace, prosecute the police!" and "Hands up, don't shoot!" as passing motorists laid on their horns in support.
Franklin junior Araeya Reed said this was her first time out protesting because her mother had been worried for her safety. It felt important to be there, she said.
"I think we do need to defund [Seattle Police Department] until we get justice and until they start respecting us the way that they expect us to respect them," Reed said.
Reed said she was grateful to be standing side by side with people of all different races - nearby, fellow protesters held signs reading "Filipinos 4 Black Lives" and "Asian Americans for Black Lives Matter."
"I think everybody's lives are equal. I don't think that we should even have to be out here for this stuff in the year 2020," Reed said.
Asciana Hicks, a sophomore at Cleveland High School, wore a face mask that read "I CAN'T BREATHE," as George Floyd gasped while being asphyxiated to death by Minneapolis police.
In the wake of Floyd's killing - and many others at the hands of police, locally and around the country - students have helped start a petition calling on the Seattle School District to end its grant-funded program that puts Seattle police officers in four middle schools with large black student populations.
Hicks said the presence of police in schools is not helpful. "I feel like that it makes [students] more riled up because they get scared," Hicks said.
Like many of her peers, she said, she does not feel safe around the police.
“If there was an emergency I would not call the police. I feel like I would be too scared because I would be calling to complain about something and I might be the one who ended up dead."
Hicks said she the system is rigged against black people - and that it’s high time for a change.
“My ancestors, they've done a lot to try to get us to even where we are now. So I feel like I should be out here to try to continue so that next generations, hopefully there's a change for them.”