Seattle Native organizations call for violence against Seattle Councilmember to end

SEATTLE—Leaders from Seattle Indian Health Board, Chief Seattle Club, and United Indians of All Tribes Foundation are calling for the acts of violence at Seattle City Councilwoman Debora Juarez’s home to end.

Juarez, the first Indigenous woman ever elected to the Seattle City Council, has challenged a proposal to defund the Seattle Police Department by 50% because it lacks any plan for how to reallocate the resources and reinvest in marginalized communities. Construing her position as opposition, protesters have twice left materials on her doorstep and marched at her home on Sunday afternoon and evening and again late Wednesday evening.

Esther Lucero, CEO of Seattle Indian Health Board
The violence being used to silence Councilwoman Debora Juarez is inexcusable and needs to stop immediately. As an Indigenous person, myself, who advocates for police reform, her request to see plans is an Indigenous and responsible action that is not only justified, but necessary for public safety. Councilwoman Juarez has taken steps to address violence against Native women in Seattle. She has stood up for all Indigenous women, and it is our turn to stand up for her and demand the violence against her and her family ends.

Colleen Echohawk, Executive Director of Chief Seattle Club
This behavior of terror toward Councilmember Debora Juarez is disgusting and the antithesis of the movement. Perpetuating violence against Native women has been the standard practice for the non-BIPOC community and it has to stop. Councilmember Juarez has continued to support the Native community and ensured that hundreds of thousands of dollars have gone to urban Native non-profits to support youth programs, homelessness and housing. She does this quietly and with great thought, leading from a place of humility and care for our relatives. I stand with Councilmember Debora Juarez.”

Abigail Echo-Hawk, Chief Research Officer of Seattle Indian Health Board and Director of Urban Indian Heath Institute
As a Seattle resident, an Indigenous woman and individual fighting to end violence against Native women, I won’t condone the acts of violence happening to Councilwoman Debora Juarez. As a community, we cannot be complicit in any violence against Indigenous womxn, and the use of dehumanizing language and methods are acts of violence that have been used to harm our people for centuries. If you disagree on politics, then vote your mind, but don’t condone violence against our womxn. I stand with Councilmember Juarez and call for the safety of her and her family.

Mike Tulee, Executive Director of United Indians of All Tribes Foundation
The attacks toward Councilmember Debora Juarez are appalling and counterintuitive to the hard work so many have done, and continue to do, around police reform. Councilmember Juarez has not only fought to protect Native people, but all people of Seattle. For her to experience this violence because her position has been grossly misinterpreted is simply wrong. I stand with Councilmember Juarez and want to see steps taken to ensure her and her family are safe.”

Washington tribal leaders decry intimidation acts at home of Seattle councilwoman Debora Juarez

SEATTLE—Elected leaders from Western Washington tribal governments are denouncing the continued protests and vandalism at Seattle City Councilwoman Debora Juarez’s home.

Juarez, the first Indigenous woman ever elected to the Seattle City Council, has challenged a proposal to defund the Seattle Police Department by 50% because it lacks any plan for how to reallocate the resources and reinvest in marginalized communities. Construing her position as opposition, protesters have twice left materials on her doorstep and marched at her home on Sunday afternoon and evening and again late Wednesday evening.

During the protests, individuals yelled into a bullhorn that Councilmember Juarez, a former public defender and judge, is a “corporate whore.” They spray-painted the street in front of her house to read “corporate bootlicker,” among other graffiti.

The following statements from Washington tribal leaders.

Francis Charles, Chairwoman of Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe
Indigenous women are the givers of life and the frontline protectors in tribal communities. Councilwoman Debora Juarez has dedicated her life’s work to protecting vulnerable families and communities throughout the state of Washington. The first peoples of these lands will not tolerate any hateful or dehumanizing behavior towards her or any other Indigenous woman. I call upon the Seattle City Council President to denounce the hatred and intimidation of Councilwoman Juarez at her home and to defend her honor.”

Lawrence Solomon, Chairman of Lummi Nation
The Lummi Nation supports the right to protest peacefully and acknowledges that civil rights are sometimes only reaffirmed by demanding change. However, we believe that the tactics waged against Seattle City Councilmember Debora Juarez are unwarranted acts of violence against a single individual, and we are calling for the protection of her and her family. Councilmember Juarez is asking for a plan that she can evaluate and use to determine what is best for the residents of her city. We see this as good leadership, but whether an individual agrees or not, it does not merit acts of violence. Native women are perpetually targeted with extreme violence in this country, and we will not stand for this unnecessary violence.”

Leonard Forsman, Chairman of Suquamish Tribe
“The Suquamish Tribe supports Seattle City Councilmember Debora Juarez and her right, as an elected official, to do her job without verbal harassment and vandalism at her home. Councilmember Juarez has a long history of fighting against oppression, including supporting the sovereign rights of Indian Tribes. She has supported the Suquamish Tribe’s right to self-governance and we ask that the Seattle City Council President demand that a civil discourse, free of intimidation, be conducted on the political issues facing the City of Seattle, named for our famous leader Chief Seattle. Councilmember Juarez is a strong leader and is not afraid of a civil debate or peaceful protesting, but she, or any other elected official and their families, should not be subjected to intimidation, vandalism and threats.

W. Ron Allen, Chairman of Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe
The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe calls for the incredibly personal and targeted acts of violence against Councilmember Debora Juarez and her family to cease. Seattle’s residents should be celebrating that they have a leader who is trying to make decisions based on a reasonable and viable plan, which could be sustained over time. Councilmember Juarez is a sincere and respected elected official, and we applaud her dedication to Seattle and American Indian rights, and we stand with her because she is our sister.”

Steve Edwards, Chairman of Swinomish Indian Tribal Community
Seattle City Councilmember Debora Juarez is a friend of the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community and we stand with her. The deplorable threats to her safety and her home have no place in a civil society. She has dedicated her life to serving both the Native and non-Native community in the Northwest. Actions that denigrate her and service cannot be tolerated. These are difficult times for our state and our country. We need leaders like Councilmember Juarez more than ever and call on everyone to act with the civility and mutual respect that make vibrant political debate possible.

Willie Frank III, Councilmember of Nisqually Tribe
What is happening to Councilmember Juarez is a hostile attack on an elected official and Native leader. As the original peoples of these lands, we will not stand for the intimidation or dehumanization of an elected Native woman. The Nisqually Tribe calls on the Seattle Council President to immediately denounce the harassment of Councilwoman Juarez and vandalism at her home.”

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