My Mom and Dad Visited Seattle, and a White Nationalist Rally Ignited Chaos Downtown

20170811_143247That’s me with my Mom and Dad, Sherri and Joe, on a Washington State Ferry with Downtown Seattle and the Puget Sound in the background three days ago. The day the photo was taken was hazy because of smoke from wildfires about 150 miles to our north in Canada.

This was my parents’ first visit to the Pacific Northwest. It was incredible having them here and getting to just sit and eat good food, drink good drinks and catch up. I hadn’t seen them in my home since 2008 when they came to visit me when I was a reporter in Lexington, Kentucky.

During their two and a half days here, we went by Pike Place Market (becuase you have to!), we drank beers in cans as we sat on the deck of the Bainbridge Island Ferry cruising across the Sound so they could see a perfect view of the city, and we sat for hours on a deck eating delicious sea food and drinking beer on Alki Beach in West Seattle. We also visited with Mark, Sandy and their kids at a great bar called Chuck’s Hop Shop on Capitol Hill, we also went to their house.

Nick got to eat most meals with us, but he also had to work and got sick one of the days with a 24-hour stomach bug. So, he’s not in the pictures I took. We were both sad that he had to sit one day out, but he got to spend almost all the meal times with us.

Here are some of the photos from the trip that I took on my phone:

20170812_12482920170812_17470720170811_15465420170812_18225320170811_12163620170811_12111220170811_13301920170811_13302420170811_11590620170811_121321My parents flew back to Oklahoma yesterday morning and I was so sad to see them go. Nick and I drove them to the airport. I cried in the afternoon after they were gone. They felt as far away as they ever have after spending so much time in our home, then having to leave.

As they were flying out of Seattle-Tacoma International airport on a non-stop Alaska Airlines flight back to Oklahoma City, protesters, white nationalists and police were clashing in downtown Seattle, at an intersection my parents and I had been at only two days prior.

Nick and I did not go to the protest as we were driving back from the airport and we were completely exhausted from two days of being very busy. But, while we were back at home, just a mile from where the protests were, my friend Stephanie texted me that she, her husband and their twin boys had fled the protest because they’d heard a loud bang and had seen a flash. Here was her text:

Screenshot_2017-08-13-16-09-33The white nationalists were holding a planned hate-filled rally in downtown Seattle. Counter-protesters, anti-fascists (our friends among them) showed up to denounce the hate. The counter protesters outnumbered the white nationalists. At some point things got tense and police started spraying tear gas directly in the faces of protesters. These are pictures from the scene from friends who shared online and The Seattle Times:Screenshot_2017-08-13-16-21-13Screenshot_2017-08-13-16-21-28Screenshot_2017-08-13-15-49-56Screenshot_2017-08-13-15-50-09Screenshot_2017-08-13-15-49-04Screenshot_2017-08-13-15-48-53Screenshot_2017-08-13-16-21-55There was an air of heightened alert because all of this was unfolding just 24-hours after a similar rally in Charlottesville, Virginia where a car rammed into counter-protesters, killing some and injuring many more. Here were some of the gruesome headlines from that horrific scene. These are from The Seattle Times and The Washington Post respectively.Screenshot_2017-08-13-11-23-23Screenshot_2017-08-13-11-23-55I’ve once again deactivated my Facebook profile and it’s been down for nine days. The chatter over everything that is happening is rightfully at fever pitch. And, I want to share my anger and outrage too, but I also want to keep focused on the projects I’m working on so that I can maintain my energy to join the fight we are up against. I was starting to feel weaker by being on social media too much. I will rejoin, but I’m not sure when.

In the meantime, we’ve also learned that Cary Moon has nearly solidified her second place spot in the Seattle Mayoral race. This is just heart-breaking for those of us who have worked on Nikkita Oliver’s campaign. She is in third place only by about 0.7%. She needs to be part of the race because she has mobilized thousands more folks than any other candidate to join a movement. She’s raised money from the grassroots without taking any money from corporations. Volunteers are still trying to do what they can to make sure all ballots were counted. Part of the reason I’m spending time off social media is because I’m trying to come to terms with this news. Here was one headline from The Stranger:

Screenshot_2017-08-09-22-35-13I also found heart in seeing this graffitti on the bathroom wall at Chuck’s Hop Shop on Union Street on Capitol Hill. It frames the way so many of us feel about Jenny Durkan, the centrist/corporate candidate who took first place and who we very much want to keep from becoming the next mayor:20170812_194935The news has been filled with a lot of other fear-inducing stories. Here are some more of the national headlines from The Washington Post:

Screenshot_2017-08-08-16-30-16Screenshot_2017-08-08-16-30-24Screenshot_2017-08-09-17-26-31Screenshot_2017-08-09-17-25-29Screenshot_2017-08-08-16-30-33

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