October 23, 2021
Council President González,
We are writing to ask you to immediately cease broadcast of your factually inaccurate and racially charged advertisement wherein a white woman insinuates that Bruce Harrell, a Black man, is in some way connected to her trauma as a sexual assault victim.
Dangerous racist tropes involving the insinuation of Black men as insensitive to issues of sexual violence remain pervasive in our society. This painful and ugly part of our country’s history continues to this day. For you to perpetuate these race-baiting stereotypes in your campaign is a new low in our civic discourse, and an attempt to erase the decades of advocacy and accomplishments of Bruce Harrell, who has been an unflinching voice for victims of violence and discrimination throughout his career in law and politics.
In fact, in the matter you raise regarding former Mayor Ed Murray, it was then-Council President Harrell who authored a letter, cosigned by several of your colleagues, demanding Mr. Murray immediately “stop referring to the criminal background of his accusers“ to prevent “re-traumatiz[ing] survivors and hinder[ing] the City’s efforts to enact policy to assist people…”
You did not sign that letter.
Instead, you praised your former boss, saying his “collaborative approach and his tireless commitment to public service is to be admired.”
You did not call for Mayor Murray to resign as you claim, and instead suggested he consider stepping down.
You repeatedly claim to speak on behalf of crime victims and communities of color, yet your ad is both hypocritical and deeply cynical. In elevating unrelated issues – including an unsubstantiated claim from a non-profit personnel matter – you are not only bringing trauma to victims of assault and violence but attempting to disparage the reputation and accomplishments of a man of color with stereotypical fear-mongering between African American men and white women.
You are undermining your own purported legacy and credibility, and our community is outraged.
Launching an ad like this, as an “October surprise,” is the kind of dog whistle politics that Seattle must reject. We must also reject politicians who perpetuate ugly stereotypes, resorting to anti-Black attacks for political advantage.
Please remove your commercial. We are better than this. Seattle deserves better. Our African American community deserves better.
- Gerald Hankerson, Regional President, NAACP Alaska, Oregon, Washington*
- Carolyn Riley-Payne, President, Seattle-King County NAACP
- Constance Rice, Former Seattle First Lady; Community Volunteer
- Jesse Johnson, State Representative
- David Hackney, State Representative
- Michelle Merriweather, President & CEO, Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle*
- Paula Sardinas, Founder & CEO, Purpose Driven Girl; former Washington State Commission on African American Affairs*
- Ollie Garrett, President, Tabor 100*
- Harry Bailey, Former Seattle Police Chief
- Rev. Harriett G. Walden, co-founder Mothers for Police Accountability
- Pastor Harvey Drake, Emerald City Bible Fellowship*
- Rev. Reggie Witherspoon, Mt Calvary Christian Church*
- Rev. James P. Broughton III, Damascus International Fellowship*
- Dawn Mason, former Washington State Senator
- Ed Prince, Renton City Council
- Wyking Garrett
- Jennifer Cobb, Former Seattle Women’s Commissioner
- Elmer Dixon, Co-Founder, Black Panther Party
- Ron Ward, Attorney at Law
- Elma Horton, former Board Member, CAMP
- Clyde Merriwether
- James F. Williams, Attorney
- Doug Baldwin
- Sheri Day
- Patricia Valentine
- Felicia Cross
- Karinda Harris
- Rev. Dr. LaVerne Hall
- Lincoln Beauregard
- Jim Buchanan
- Robert Nellams
- Michael Parham
- Esther Mumford
- Barbara Landers
- Dr. Maxine Mimms
- Josephine Howell
- Jennifer Samuels
- Joy Hollingsworth
- James Bible, Attorney
- Dorothy Hollingsworth
- Pastor Derek Lane
- Habtamu Abdi
Find list of community signers below.
*Organization listed for identifying purposes only.
If you agree this ad should be pulled from the air, sign your name below to add it to this letter:
Watch what Seattle’s Black leaders have to say: