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caption: Seattle police officers dressed in riot gear, left, stand in a line across 11th Street, opposite thousands of people protesting police brutality and the unjust deaths of Black Americans at the hands of law enforcement on the fifth day of protests following the violent police killing of George Floyd on Tuesday, June 2, 2020, in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle.
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Seattle police officers dressed in riot gear, left, stand in a line across 11th Street, opposite thousands of people protesting police brutality and the unjust deaths of Black Americans at the hands of law enforcement on the fifth day of protests following the violent police killing of George Floyd on Tuesday, June 2, 2020, in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Why one Black Lives Matter group in Seattle has hesitated to march

Friday marks one week of protests against the police killings of black people in the U.S. and against racial injustices.

Thousands have marched in Seattle and throughout Washington.

But Black Lives Matter groups in Seattle have NOT been organizing the protests.

To find out more, we spoke to Mohawk, an organizer for Black Lives Matter Seattle.

And a distinction: His group, Black Lives Matter Seattle Original, is separate from Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County, which is an official chapter of BLM.

Paige Browning: Mohawk, why has your group decided NOT to take part in the organized protests so far?

Well first, in early February, I got Covid-19 twice. ... I could feel all the symptoms and it hit me twice. I know how Covid can affect you in high-density situations. We want our black communities being healthy and safe. So we put their health ahead and lives ahead of this protesting to make a change, because our lives come first.

I know that Black Lives Matter Seattle will have an event June 14. What will happen then, and why did you choose that date?

It's basically a quarantine time frame, to make sure that anyone that caught it during the early protests will be fine during the next round. We require people to wear masks and use hand sanitizer unless you have medical condition that prevents you from wearing a mask. Basically, Black health matters is pretty much -- pretty much the point of it. [And Black people] are disproportionately affected by Covid.

We’re planning a march and rally to speak out about Black lives and getting justice for George Floyd. And demanding that our police are held accountable and police around the nation are held to a higher standard.

Any message that you would want to tell the people that are out protesting right now?

Yes, please wear a mask and use hand sanitizer. We all are angry at this point. But [it’s] not worth dying over.

caption: David Lewis holds his hands in the air while leading a peaceful protest march on Monday, June 1, 2020, toward the Seattle Police Department East Precinct in Seattle.
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David Lewis holds his hands in the air while leading a peaceful protest march on Monday, June 1, 2020, toward the Seattle Police Department East Precinct in Seattle.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer