A lot of people wonder where I-873 came from and that is a very easy question to answer. I-873 is a gift of love to the people of Washington State who have been affected by police violence. Those families have come together to form a larger family that no one really wants to be a member of. That is a group of family members who suffered the kind of losses most of us can't imagine. They understand each other in a very unique way. They hope no one else ever will have go through what they've gone through. That is why Victim's Families for Good Policing have come together to bring reform to Washington States regressive policing laws.
For most of us, their loved ones are statistics. That's hard to admit, but it's true. They are numbers on a page that represent lives cut short or forever changed. However, for these families, it's very personal. Their intention is that our work brings honor to the memories of their loved ones and that their losses aren't for nothing. It is our intention over the next few days, to put faces to these stories so that you can feel as passionately about change as we do.
I-873 is known as the John T. Williams Bill. If you're from the Seattle area, chances are very high you've heard of John T. Williams. He was a Seattle-based, Native American, woodcarver. John was shot and killed on the street while he was sitting on the sidewalk carving 4.7 seconds after an officer got out of his car. Before his death, John was a fixture. People were used to seeing him on the street doing his work. His death created a firestorm of news headlines both locally and nationally. Almost everyone has heard of John T. Williams.
The person you may not know is John's brother Rick. Rick Williams has been on a crusade for justice for six years since his brother's death. Rick is a quiet man that carries a lot of powerful energy. He has been dedicated on a daily basis to make sure his brother's memory lives on with honor. Honor is a very important word to Rick. When we contacted Rick and asked him if we could name I-873 after his brother John, his immediate reply was, "It would be an honor."
Since his brother's death, Rick has been a powerful voice for the people. He has a social media following that would rival Hollywood celebrity. He has done a Ted Talk about Waging Peace. The reason Rick has collected such a loyal following is because of his message of peace. Rick Williams is a walking testament to the power of not giving into anger and hate.
Rick Williams was the first person to get petitions for I-873. He has been tirelessly collecting signatures from day one. Rick Williams, more than any other person in Washington State, knows why this law needs to change. Almost everyone, including the King County Prosecutor, agrees the "malice clause" is the reason the officer who shot Rick's brother was not brought to justice.
Rick is doing this for his brother, and he's doing it for you. Rick's grandfather once asked him, "Can you be that warrior without violence?". That is why we're doing this. We want to stop the violence. Will you join us and join Rick?
Together we are making history.