There is a phenomenon in politics, like most things, called "insider ball". That is the messy stuff going on in the trenches of organizing and campaigning that only those who are personally involved really know about.
For several months, the I-873 campaign has experienced some bumps and messy bits. There have been rumors about inside turmoil and infighting. Those who play "inside ball" knew there were challenges.
We started this campaign as a united group, driven by victim families from around the state. At some point, though, our relationship with Not this Time, led by Andre Taylor became strained. Anyone who's ever been involved in organizing knows how difficult it is to keep everyone on the same page.
However, as the weeks rolled on, it was evident although Washington for Good Policing and Not this Time were working on the same project, they were not working together. Washington for Good Policing's official position was and still is, you cannot have too many people working for change. There is certainly enough work to go around.
Recently, this issue has become much less "insider ball" and much more public due to an article printed in Cross Cut and some subsequent angry posts on social media.
A lot of that anger has been directed at me. I am the citizen filer of the I-873 and the campaign manager for Washington for Good Policing. And for full disclosure, I am white.
It was said in that article that putting a white face on black pain is problematic. I couldn't concur more. I can't possibly understand what it's like to be black.
However, as I've worked through this campaign with all of these families I've personally witnessed the pain of families from every racial and socio-economic background you can imagine. Per capita native and black lives are disporoptionately effected by police brutality. However, as Chester Earl from Justice for Jackie points out, "There are many white victims also."
This is everyone's problem.
Frankly, I am not that important here. I am not the story. I have never been. The stories that matter are the stories of all the families and victims who's lives have forever been changed by police brutality.
There are way too many of those stories to tell. When political infighting over-shadows the losses of those families, we are off track.
Washington for Good Policing has organized and coordinates closely with victim families from around the state. We have built a coalition of supporters in endorsers that is unprecedented in across the aisle support.
We well know that the power lies in a collective group of voices. We are willing to work with a wide coalition who's working on this issue, and we always have been.
Andre Taylor is a powerful voice. His work in the community orananizing has been profoundly valuable. No one disputes this.
Issues between campaigns cannot be a detractor from the mandate to change this law. All of this is a distraction and a blatant disservice to the victim families.
Washington for Good Policing is moving forward with a strong legislative agenda, a unified team, and a plan to get this done.
However, should the legislature fail to act we are asking Not This Time to join in on an agreement that includes the following:
-That any initiative campaign is a standalone campaign, rather than an affiliated campaign of Not This Time or Not This Time Action Fund;
-That a coalition governance committee include three representatives of Washington for Good Policing and three representatives from Not This Time; four organizational representatives from the African-American community; four tribal representatives from the Native-American community; three labor community leaders; two organizational representatives from the Latino community; one API (Asian Pacific Islander) organizational representative, and one LGBTQ community leader;
-That any decisions regarding the hiring of a campaign manager or filing of a new initiative is passed by a 2/3 vote of the governance committee;
-That a community leader from outside both Washington for Good Policing and Not This Time is recruited to serve as the campaign chair;
-That in initial relaunch activities, both Washington for Good Policing and Not This Time have an equal voice in how this occurs.
These are, we feel, essential to the establishing and building the credibility of any formal relaunch of the campaign. Our hope is that Not This Time agrees with the statement that no group in our community can or should try to do this alone; and that our strength lies in our numbers.
We all want the same outcome. And we look forward to hearing from Not This Time so we can put this momentary challenge behind us and move forward toward a successful outcome and change of this law that has hurt so many families across Washington.
Washington for Good Policing